How to Deal

Movie review by Nell Minow, Common Sense Media
How to Deal Poster Image

Common Sense says

age 14+

Even Moore fans may find this hard to deal with.

PG-13 2003 100 minutes

Parents say

age 14+

Based on 4 reviews

Kids say

age 12+

Based on 3 reviews

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Community Reviews

age 14+

Fairly decent teen comedy.

Cute movie! I rented this when it first came out and liked it (as a teen). I love Mandy Moore, so I basically watched it for her. Acting wasn't the best but what can you expect from a teen comedy. The movie deals with common coming of age topics like first loves, relationships, divorce, death, friendships and enemies. Halley (Mandy) is a confused teen who believes that love is a waste of time. She can't understand her mother who is seeing a new guy so close after getting divorced, or why her sister wants to get married, or even why her pregnant best friend Scarlett (Alexandra Holden) is in love with her boyfriend Michael. Even Michael's best friend Macon (Trent Ford) can't get Halley to come around. Until Michael suddenly dies, Halley tries to see things differently. When her and Macon finally become a couple, a car accident leaves Halley thinking that she made a mistake falling for him. The film is spot on for issues teens go through during adolescence. Halley has emotional breakdowns. I think she takes life too seriously. Some of the comedy is very silly and cliche like the pot-obessed grandma and the unlikable in-laws dinner scene. Mild violence includes a death of a teen and a car crash. Some sexual content includes kissing, making out on a couch prior to sleeping together, making out on a bed prior to sleeping together, it's implied that the mom sneaks out to go sleep with her new man, a mans g-string is shown after a drunk woman comes home from a wild bachelorette party (party not shown), some flirting, a teen pregnancy, a dog humps a persons leg. Language has an "f" word and some other common words you would hear in a PG-13 film. The grandma is obsessed with pot - she's seen smoking it & mentions it a couple times in glory. Halley tries cigarettes. There is drinking and a drunk character. That is about it! Not recommended for youngsters, the themes are too heavy. 14++ seems fair.

This title has:

Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
age 15+

Good film/Relatable for teens

I remember watching this movie as a teen and I loved it. It was a nice mix of the books Someone Like You and That Summer by Sarah Dessen. Sure most parents think it isn't appropriate because of the sexual context and alcohol/drug use however if you look into the lives of teens, this is something they come across and face. Not all will but a good portion will feel certain pressures and feel that this movie shows that. For those who haven't seen it here is a film rundown: It is about a girl named Halley whose best friend Scarlett is pregnant. Her friends boyfriend dies and leaves her a soon to be single mom. Halley herself goes through changes, finding love and losing love, having a changing relationship with her mother (Allison Janney's character) and seeing the changes in her friend as she moves through her pregnancy. She has different pressures that affect her life including the relationship with her new boyfriend Macon. She does at the end, realize she has been the same girl all along and is just filling in the colours of her life.

This title has:

Great messages
Too much sex
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking

Movie Details

  • In theaters: July 18, 2003
  • On DVD or streaming: December 9, 2003
  • Cast: Allison Janney, Mandy Moore, Trent Ford
  • Director: Clare Kilner
  • Studio: New Line
  • Genre: Drama
  • Run time: 100 minutes
  • MPAA rating: PG-13
  • MPAA explanation: sexual content, drug material, language and some thematic elements
  • Last updated: March 31, 2022

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