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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
The themes of the movie are about the importance of family, art, and city life.
Positive Role Models
Although the absentee father is a negative role model, Suzanne is a loving single mother who's realistically frazzled at trying to juggle the work-life balance. Her dedication to her son and her career is refreshing to see on film. Song is a caring nanny who allows Simon to explore his artistic side.
Sex, Romance & Nudity
Discussion of marriage and relationships but nothing overtly sexual.
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Subtitled language includes "bitch," "s--t," "idiot," and "stupid."
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Not surprisingly, since this is a French film, adults smoke cigarettes fairly regularly and drink wine with meals.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this French-language film will not appeal to kids who aren't ready to read subtitles during movies. Families with foreign-film-savvy children should know that this one includes some mature themes about family make-up (single mother, absentee father, full-time nanny), relationships, and urban life. There's no violence or consumerism, but a few French profanities are translated into the subtitles ("s--t" is the most frequent culprit). Unsurprisingly, some adult characters smoke and drink wine. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
With gorgeous cinematography, spare dialogue, and untraditional plot (nothing much happens), Chinese director Hsiao-hsien Hou's French-language film is definitely an art-house cinema's dream. The luscious camera work alone is worth the rental price, but the plot is a bit too thin for most American audiences used to action-driven fare.
More of a tribute to than a remake of the classic 1956 French film The Red Balloon, Hou's version focuses less on the ever-presence of the flying balloon and more on the keenly observant eyes of Simon and Song. Families interested in introducing their children to the delight of foreign films should start with the original and leave this one until their teenagers are true cineastes.
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.