A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that as the title indicates, this movie includes explicit nudity, explicit and varied sexual references and situations, and very strong language. A character dies, apparently from auto-erotic asphyxiation. Characters drink and smoke and eat hash brownies. There are tense emotional scenes. Parents may want to see the film themselves before deciding whether it's appropriate for teen viewing.
What's the story?
FULL FRONTAL is less a story than a series of moments, variations on the themes rather than a narrative. Digital and analog images alternate as we go into and out of a movie within a movie, even a movie within a movie within a movie, performed by actors playing actors. Several different stories overlap and intersect. Alice (Catherine Keener) is unhappily married to writer Carl (David Hyde Pierce). Alice's sister, Linda (Mary McCormack), is flirting online with Brian (Rainn Wilson), Carl's co-author. Linda is having an affair with Calvin (Blair Underwood), an actor who is currently playing the part of an actor named Nicholas who is playing the part of a sidekick to a detective played by Brad Pitt (playing himself). In his movie, Nicholas becomes romantically involved with a journalist named Catherine (Julia Roberts), who works at the same magazine that Carl works for in what sort of passes for real life in Full Frontal. Then it starts to get confusing. Themes and images flicker through several levels. In the end, just as one set of fictions are abandoned in favor of reality, a fiction at a deeper level is revealed.
Is it any good?
FULL FRONTAL is a small, messy, improvised, non-linear film filled with intimate conversations about love, sex, boundaries, longing, and voyeurism. It recalls director Steven Soderbergh's earlier film sex, lies, and videotape.
The movie has many wonderful moments and many marvelous lines. But it does not have the improvisational brilliance of the Christopher Guest movies and comes off more like an actor's studio workshop than a film. The whole is less than the sum of its parts, but some of those parts are remarkably vivid and intriguing.
Talk to your kids about ...
- In theaters: August 2, 2002
- On DVD or streaming: February 11, 2003
- Cast: Blair Underwood, David Duchovny, Julia Roberts
- Director: Steven Soderbergh
- Studio: Miramax
- Genre: Drama
- Run time: 101 minutes
- MPAA rating: R
- MPAA explanation: very explicit sexual situations, drug use, strong language
- Last updated: March 14, 2020
Our editors recommend
Top advice and articles
Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.
Streaming options powered by JustWatch