Here and Now

Movie review by
Tara McNamara, Common Sense Media
Here and Now Movie Poster Image
Midlife mortality drama will bore teens; sex, profanity.
  • R
  • 2018
  • 91 minutes

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

Life can throw you for a loop, which can change the way you see the world. As busy and hectic as life can be, it's important to take time to take care of yourself and nurture your relationships. As we encounter strangers in our daily life, keep in mind that everybody is going through something.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Vivienne is reeling, internally questioning and accepting her life choices, some of which she's now realizing were selfish. But she never says she made mistakes or has regrets, and she doesn't seem to prioritize how her diagnosis will impact her daughter. But it is clear that she loves her, despite her iffy choices in the aftermath of her news.

Violence

Nothing violent, but Vivienne does have to handle some very upsetting news.

Sex

Two colleagues have two sexual encounters: One is an implied act in the workplace (making out shown before camera cuts away), and the second is a long, passionate sex scene with the appearance of nudity (no sensitive body parts shown). An older French woman tells her adult daughter about her active sex life. Both opposite-sex and same-sex kissing.

Language

Several uses of "f--k," "s--t," "sucks," and one "Jesus f---ing Christ."

Consumerism

Oxi-Clean infomercial runs in the background of a scene; a supporting character is a Lyft driver; character uses an Apple computer; character drinks a Poland Springs water.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Two characters smoke cigarettes. Bars are used as meeting places, and characters drink wine/are seen with a cocktail. Musicians are kidded that they "have so much weed to smoke."

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Here and Now is a drama starring Sarah Jessica Parker about a singer/mom named Vivienne who abruptly finds out she doesn't have long to live thanks to a terminal cancer diagnosis. While Vivienne has lived an extraordinary life, she's not perfect; she's an absentee mother who has a time-consuming career, a prickly relationship with her mom (Jacqueline Bisset), and a string of broken relationships. The storyline may get teens thinking about parental mortality. The movie's mature content is authentic to the characters and the environment and includes swearing ("f--k," "s--t"), smoking, drinking, and sex talk. Vivienne and her love interest have sex a couple of times -- one of those scenes happens in the workplace, with a co-worker teasing them about it. The other is longer and more sensual, but there's no graphic nudity. The story gives viewers insight into how someone might process receiving personally tragic news.

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What's the story?

In HERE AND NOW, a successful middle-aged singer in NYC named Vivienne (Sarah Jessica Parker) learns that she has a fatal illness (terminal brain cancer) and is given a choice of two fairly bleak options. Over the course of 24 hours, she processes the information and reflects on the life choices she's made.

Is it any good?

Parker uses this drama as an opportunity to stretch and shine, proving she has substantial acting chops beyond the romcom corner she's been relegated to for most of her career. Here and Now takes place in the city closely associated with Parker -- Manhattan -- but Carrie Bradshaw is nowhere to be found. Instead, Parker transforms into Vivienne Carala, a jazz singer who's about to embark on a world tour (a reminder that Parker, whose career started in Annie on Broadway, is a strong singer) when she learns she has no more than 14 months to live. The script gives Parker quite a bit to work with, since much of Vivienne's experience is dealt with internally. And as Vivienne's ex-husband Nick, Simon Baker, breathes life into all of his scenes.

But while the subject matter -- impending death -- should be pretty emotional stuff, it doesn't translate that way for the audience. It's a dirge. Part of that is Parker's choice to play Vivienne with a stiff upper lip, but it's also due to the choices of first-time feature director Lucien Constant, who's best known for his fashion documentaries. As you might expect from an auteur whose typical subjects are expensive clothes and supermodels, the camera captures beauty everywhere: in the lighting, the shots of New York, and the concern in Vivienne's eyes. But Constant lets Parker down in how he captures her performance; it's just not as impactful as it should be. While Vivienne has a 16-year-old daughter (Gus Birney), a middle-aged woman contending with her own mortality isn't the stuff that that will appeal to teens.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how Here and Now deals with the subject matter of terminal illness. How do you think people's priorities change once they know their time is limited? 

  • How does the movie depict sex? How is it different here from how it's often portrayed in movies made for teens? Parents, talk to your teens about your own values regarding sex and relationships.

  • How does the movie portray smoking? Is it glamorized?

  • Vivienne brushes up against others as she travels through New York City; some are playing, and some to be going through their own difficult moment. What do you think the film is trying to say?

  • The film's producers are both women, who made a point to hire talent and staff that consisted of women, people of color, and people from all over the world. Can you see the intention of diversity and inclusion in the finished film?

Movie details

For kids who love realistic dramas

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