A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that director Rob Reiner's coming-of-age story inspired by Wendelin Van Draanen's book Flipped tracks the progression of a childhood friendship/crush over the main characters' elementary and middle school years. In a sweet, almost old-fashioned way, Reiner captures the shifting emotions and loyalties of friendship and first love while also tackling larger questions about character, environmental awareness, and class. Save for a handful of salty words, the movie's content is pretty squeaky clean -- though the themes of longing, changing friendships, and the importance of character make it most age-appropriate for older tweens.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
Young adult author Wendelin Van Draanen's novel is brought to life in filmmaker Rob Reiner's coming-of-age dramedy FLIPPED. Ever since the fateful day in second grade when they met, Juli Baker (Madeline Carroll) has been in love with her neighbor, Bryce Loski (Callan McAuliffe). But Bryce has always remained, if polite, a little aloof. That is, until a series of events in junior high -- her favorite tree being cut down, the bounty of eggs her chickens hatch being thrown out -- leave Juli questioning whether Bryce really is as wonderful as she has always thought. In the meantime, Bryce, who's always been so sure that Juli's a pest, is sensing a massive shift in his perceptions of her. What now?
Is it any good?
There's something sweetly endearing about a movie like Flipped, which is unabashedly nostalgic. It's a coming-of-age movie stripped of its edges and dark corners -- hard to do considering that we're talking about tweens and teens here. How lovely to observe the progression of young love without the complications of sexting and Facebook. Then again, it's set in the past -- a simpler time, or so it seems, that Reiner looks on fondly. We think: Perhaps life has become entirely too jaded in this uber-wired world.
That sensibility ups the movie's appeal -- as do the lead actors, who are fantastic, and Reiner's usual warmth and empathy. But Anthony Edwards, as Bryce's dad, seems woefully modern despite his period-appropriate wear, and ultimately Flipped lacks momentum. The voiceover narration lends the film an afterschool-special quality it could've done without, and interesting turns in the plot -- like Juli's first meeting with her disabled uncle -- are approached like talking points on what seems to be a "poignant, character-building moments" memo. It's an age-old tale told in a traditional, chronological arc, but a little inventiveness might have better captured the unexpectedness and surprise of adolescence.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the movie's messages. What is it saying about both friendship and romance? Does Bryce and Juli's relationship seem believable?
Why do you think Bryce is so resistant to Juli's charms. She seems nice enough, so why the cold shoulder? What changes later? Is the shift believable?
Though they live across the street from each other, the Bakers and the Loskis appear to be on different financial footing. How is this discrepancy explored in the movie? Does it change the way each family treats the other?
How does the movie compare to the book?
- In theaters: August 27, 2010
- On DVD or streaming: November 23, 2010
- Cast: Callan McAuliffe, Madeline Carroll, Rebecca DeMornay
- Director: Rob Reiner
- Studio: Warner Bros.
- Genre: Comedy
- Topics: Book Characters, Friendship
- Run time: 90 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG
- MPAA explanation: language and some thematic material
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