A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Hello I Must Be Going is a mature dramedy with several weighty themes: post-divorce angst, a May-December (or, rather, May September) romance, and depression. There are plenty of sexually charged scenes of a couple making out and more (complete with requisite heavy breathing), though there isn't a ton of nudity. The same couple goes skinny-dipping in the dark, but viewers won't really be able to make out any of their body parts there, either. There's also a fair bit of swearing ("s--t" and "f-ck") and some pot-smoking and drinking, too, with some characters ending up throwing-up drunk.
What's the story?
Amy (Melanie Lynskey), a thirtysomething sometime photographer, lives with her parents in Westport, Connecticut. Or, rather, she's "staying" with them. Her marriage is unraveling, her husband has called it quits. And all Amy can do is sleep, eat, and walk around in the same old T-shirts and shorts. Her efficient mother (Blythe Danner) can barely hold her tongue; her workaholic father (John Rubinstein) is perplexed by her and hopes she can get it together enough to find her way -- soon. When Amy's father's clients join them for dinner, Amy is surprised at the instant attraction she has with their 19-year-old son, Jeremy (Christopher Abbott). They start meeting in secret, trysting whenever and wherever they can. Where is Amy's life headed? She's not quite sure.
Is it any good?
There's something about Lynskey; here, she's sullen, discombobulated, and unpredictable, and that very unpredictability is what makes Amy a marvel to watch. She's woman we can really relate to -- one whose idea of dissembling doesn't just mean eating a carton of ice cream in one sitting (all while sappy music plays in the background). Disaffection is a difficult thing to carry off in movies; we either become disaffected ourselves because we're so bored, or we scoff at the ridiculousness of the portrayal. But thanks to the writers' and director's deep empathy for its characters in HELLO I MUST BE GOING, we're engaged and moved. We care. (We also laugh.)
Lynskey's best scenes are with Danner, whose own role allows her to display her formidable strengths. And Abbott, too: His Jeremy isn't just some vague notion of hipsterdom and ennui; he's confusing and compelling and charismatic. The ending is almost an afterthought to the characterizations, but we forgive Hello I Must Be Going this one crucial flaw. It's still very good to make its acquaintance.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how Hello I Must Be Going depicts love and relationships. Does it seem realistic? Is the main characters' attraction believable?
How are the effects of divorce dealt with? Does the movie portray Amy in ways that divorcees aren't typically shown on screen?
These days, many adults need to lean heavily on their parents, sometimes living with them. What do you think of this arrangement?
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