Parents' Guide to

First Love

By Tara McNamara, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 14+

Unconditional love, sex in sigh-inducing teen romance.

Movie NR 2022 120 minutes
First Love Movie Poster

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Of all the teen romance movies out there, A.J. Edwards has created one of the loveliest and most meaningful. It's quiet and still, almost like a sculpture you walk around slowly until you realize you've come full circle. In comparing Jim and Ann's blooming, hopeful love with the steadfast love of Jim's parents, Kim (Diane Kruger) and Greg, whose marriage is being tested by financial strain, First Love reveals what "happily ever after" really looks like. As those in long-term marriages well know, commitment isn't all sunshine. Sometimes it rains. For years. But soul mates stick together for the rainbows.

Jim and Ann's romance is the full sigh. They fall in love through meaningful looks, gentle laughs, and mature outlooks (so mature, at times, they may lose a bit of relatability). The flourish is George Kallis' poignant score: Similar to Somewhere in Time's unforgettable use of Rachmaninoff's "Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini," the slow piano and violin whispers in First Love intensify to allow the sweetness of the teens' emotions to reach the viewers' hearts. Adults will be brought back to those first butterflies and feeling like you have a heart that simultaneously stops and beats loudly; teens will hold their breath, dreaming of the moment when they meet someone special. It's telling that a priest character pops in at the beginning, the middle, and the end of the film, given how well the story exemplifies the oft-quoted scripture "Love is patient and kind..." First Love isn't a big film, and it doesn't make a loud statement -- but it's incredibly satisfying. For parents of lovestruck high schoolers in search of a film to help them realize what long-term commitment means beyond "I do," First Love is "the one."

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