A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that I Give It a Year examines the realities of marriage, as newlyweds Nat (Rose Byrne) and Josh (Rafe Spall) discover all the little things about each other that drive them nuts. They bicker and then reconcile, but they're soon questioning whether they were too hasty in their rush to the altar -- a plotline that may not have that much built-in appeal for teens. Several scenes have flirting and sexual innuendo, and there's a series of explicit homemade sex photos (including one that's a close-up of a penis). Expect social drinking by adults, sometimes to excess, and some swearing ("f--k," "s--t," etc.).
What's the story?
Nat (Rose Byrne) and Josh (Rafe Spall) meet cute, quickly fall hard for each other, and, seven months later, head for the altar. "I give it a year," says a good friend, and it's not long before the love-addled couple is bickering over the smallest of irritations and wondering why they ever thought a wedding was a good idea. It doesn't help that Nat is being pursued by a charming client (Simon Baker), while Josh is starting to spend time with his ex-girlfriend (Anna Faris). The couple sets up a simple goal: make it to their first anniversary. But it's unclear whether they'll actually get that far -- or, if they do, what will happen after that.
Is it any good?
I GIVE IT A YEAR paints a distressing picture of marriage. Nat and Josh bicker about small things amid frequent exasperated eye-rolling and snide remarks. Their friends are a Greek chorus describing the horrors of long-term relationships, and even their therapist advises them to throw in the towel. All that would be fine if it was told in an illuminating manner. But while viewers may appreciate the irreverence -- there are some jokes that are so true that they shoot like a dart right to the center of the board, eliciting big laughs -- the truth is that we don't get much real insight.
Why should Nat and Josh try to make it work? We don't really know, since we catch barely a glimpse of why they might care for each other. Their couplehood is a thinly drawn image teeming with negativity. She's cold; he's an unmotivated doofus. And they were never meant to be together, or so it seems. So why should the audience root for them to make it at all? Then there's Josh's ex-girlfriend and Nat's handsome client. Are they the couple's real soul mates? Or would divorce be a betrayal of the spirit of all romcoms? Do we care? With its schizophrenic tone and flimsy plot, I GIVE IT A YEAR feels as fragile as the marriage at its center. Strong performances unfortunately don't rescue it from a not-so-happily-ever-after.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how the filmmakers depict marriage. Is it positively or negatively? What do the supporting characters tell us about long-term relationships?
Do you think Nat and Josh belong together? Why do they bicker? Should they fight harder for their relationship?
What role does sex play in the story? Parents, talk to your teens about your own values regarding sex and relationships.
- In theaters: August 9, 2013
- On DVD or streaming: October 22, 2013
- Cast: Anna Faris, Rafe Spall, Rose Byrne, Simon Baker
- Director: Dan Mazer
- Studio: Magnolia Pictures
- Genre: Romance
- Run time: 97 minutes
- MPAA rating: R
- MPAA explanation: sexual content, language and some graphic nudity
- Last updated: September 20, 2019
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