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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
People generally look out for each other; the two main characters genuinely love each other.
Positive Role Models
The main character is loyal and has a good relationship with his family. His mother, particularly, is kind-hearted.
Violence & Scariness
Minor scuffle between brothers.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Sex is a key component of the primary relationship, though nothing graphic is shown beyond brief naked breasts. The lovers are often seen in bed together, but it's not explicit.
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Language isn't pervasive but includes several uses of "f--k," plus "goddamn," "bitch," "screwed," and "bloody."
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Some drinking and smoking; not glamorized, no drunkenness.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Film Stars Don't Die in Liverpool centers on the real-life May-December romance between 50-something actress Gloria Grahame (Annette Bening) and a 20-something man (Jamie Bell). Their romance is a passionate one, so the movie has several sexual situations, though there's little graphic content beyond brief images of naked breasts. Characters drink and smoke, and there's some cursing (mostly "f--k," plus "goddamn" and "bloody") and a minor scuffle. Death by cancer is a primary topic. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
The acting is strong all around in this romantic drama, particularly by the two leads, but the storytelling meanders and fails to deeply involve viewers. Adapted from Turner's same-named memoir, Film Stars Don't Die in Liverpool, it paints a fairly rosy picture of Turner and Grahame's relationship, omitting some of the unflattering, even disturbing details available in the public record. Unwilling to peer too deeply into the shadows of its characters, the film tries instead to involve viewers through a flashback structure that's designed to reveal the truth of their relationship in parallel to her decline and his tough decisions. But the ploy largely doesn't work. Its power is saved for the movie's final sequence, apparently to convince viewers whether the pair really loved each other. That sequence is well handled, but coming after the obligatory-feeling wander down memory lane that precedes it, its impact is muted.
The film can't help but suffer by comparison with two other recent, much more powerful love stories, Call Me by Your Name and The Big Sick, which absorbingly depict passionate love affairs. Skipping from significant moment to significant moment, Paul McGuigan's movie feels more like a biopic than a committed romance, leaving out the kind of haunting details that those other films marinated in, to delicious effect. Despite solid performances by Bell, Bening, and Julie Walters as Turner's mother, Film Stars doesn't let us in deeply enough to sweep us away.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.