A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Holly Slept Over, a dramedy, focuses on a group of adults seen through a lens of their sexual behavior and evolving values. The appearance of one woman's college roommate for an overnight visit sparks events that change the core relationship of the central couple and affect their best friends as well. Sex drives the story. Sexual activity (both heterosexual and same-sex) includes kissing and passionate embracing, undressing, and extended foreplay; the only nudity is a shadowy shot of a woman jumping into a swimming pool. Language throughout is raunchy ("bang her," "d--k," "p---y," "jerking off"), with lots of swearing ("f--k," "s--t," "a--hole"). Characters discuss same-sex liaisons, "threesomes," masturbation, sexual positions, and drug use (cocaine, heroin). Adults drink wine and beer in multiple scenes. They eat "edibles" (marijuana) and get stoned.
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What's the story?
Noel (Josh Lawson) and Audra (Britt Lower) are trying to get pregnant in HOLLY SLEPT OVER. Sex, or the lack thereof, is a problem for Pete (Ron Livingston) and Marnie (Erinn Hayes), Noel's and Audra's best friends. The issues that seem to come with these longstanding relationships are openly discussed, though not always with complete candor. When Audra's college roommate, Holly (Nathalie Emmanuel), decides to visit her old friend after a long absence, everything changes. Old secrets are exposed. Unresolved relationships are reexamined. Lovers revisit and even reconstruct their bonds. And, with a flourish, fantasies wait in the wings to make their entrances.
Is it any good?
This mature comedy-drama wants to be insightful, relatable, and, most of all, contemporary. When it succeeds, it's engaging and funny. First-time feature director Joshua Friedlander, working from his own script, has assembled a wonderful cast. The three lead actors are sincere and seem to carry off complex emotional moments effortlessly. The direction and writing, particularly of scenes that need both grace and comedy, is solid. When the movie stumbles, it's because there's a reliance on stereotypes and over-the-top vulgarity. Holly Slept Over may find a niche audience, whomever Friedlander hopes that will be. It's definitely not for kids.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how Holly Slept Over portrays sex and sexuality. What messages about sex does the film send? Does it show love? Passion? Intimacy? Is it depicted in a casual way or just for fun? Parents, talk to your teens about your own values regarding sex and relationships.
What did the filmmakers hope to convey with their use of frequent profanity and graphic descriptions of bodily functions and sex acts? How did it help establish certain characters? Did you find the conversations funny or embarrassing? Do you ever turn off a movie that has language that makes you uncomfortable?
How did the consumption of alcohol and marijuana impact the story? Did it affect the characters' decision-making? Their attitudes? Their self-control? Why is it important to understand the consequences of alcohol, marijuana, and other drugs at any age?
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