I Melt with You
By Jeffrey Anderson,
Common Sense Media Reviewer
Common Sense Media Reviewers
Depressing story of drug-addled men has no appeal.
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
The movie's relentlessly grim message is that when you hit your 40s, you'll have lost sight of everything that once made life great and promising -- and when that happens, there's no more hope. If nothing else, though, the movie makes partying, drinking, and taking drugs look depressing.
Positive Role Models
The movie's angry, miserable characters include a failed writer, a failed doctor, a failed businessman, and a failed lover. They act destructively and try to bury their present suffering in memories of the past and by consuming huge amounts of alcohol and drugs.
Violence & Scariness
Startling, life-altering suicides -- one by hanging in the shower, another by drug overdose, and another by jumping from a cliff. Another man is suffocated with a pillow. There's also a bar fight with punching and pummeling. Some blood is shown. A man has a heart attack and is rescued by CPR.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Constant, vulgar sexual innuendo. Some younger twentysomething women come to party with the fortysomething men. There's flirting and kissing. An implied three-way sex act is started between two men and a woman, though perhaps not completed. A woman (former porn star Sasha Grey) strips to her panties, and her breasts are shown. Four guys go skinny-dipping in the ocean, and their behinds are on view.
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Almost-constant foul language, with many uses of "f--k" in all its forms and very strong sexual innuendo. Other words include "ass," "piss," and "bitch."
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Most of the movie consists of a week-long party among four fortysomething men. They constantly drink all kinds of hard liquor and beer, smoke cigarettes, and do all kinds of drugs, including cocaine and various mixed pills. Sometimes the pills are broken up and snorted or injected. One main character is a doctor who illegally prescribes drugs to wealthy housewives and is himself probably an addict.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that I Melt with You is a very depressing drama about four fortysomething friends who get together for a party and try to drown their meaningless misery with tons of alcohol and drugs. It gets even more hopeless as the story goes on. Constant, destructive drinking, smoking, and drug use are the biggest issues; one character is a shady doctor (a quasi-drug dealer) who's probably an addict. Strong language is nearly constant, with many uses of "f--k." There's also some brief nudity (male and female) and implied sex, as well as strong sexual innuendo. There are three suicides and one murder, with dead bodies, as well as a violent, bloody bar fight. Overall, this combination makes the movie a very iffy choice for even the most mature teens.
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Where to Watch
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What's the Story?
Four fortysomething friends meet at a beach house for their annual reunion and to celebrate one friend's birthday. Richard (Thomas Jane) is a former writer who's now a teacher, Jonathan (Rob Lowe) is a shady doctor who's probably addicted to drugs, Ron (Jeremy Piven) is a businessman trapped in a bad deal, and Tim (Christian McKay) blames himself for his lover's death. The four men regress to college-age behavior -- binging on alcohol and drugs -- and try to bury their pain, regret, and misery. Unfortunately, a suicide brings to light a forgotten pact that they made 25 years earlier. Will this old promise come back to haunt them?
Is It Any Good?
Director Mark Pellington creates a vivid bond between four realistic characters, and in the process coaxes four painfully revealing performances. The actors really earned their paychecks here. And (not surprisingly considering that Pelington is a part-time music video director) the movie has some great songs -- by the Sex Pistols, the Clash, the Stone Roses, etc. -- from the era in which the men might have first met.
But that's where the good stuff ends. Pellington's camera zooms in on the characters' bleary, ravaged faces and makes sure that their long partying binge doesn't look even the least bit attractive. That's fine, but the actual result is sad, pathetic, anxious, and depressing. And then, at the halfway point, things take a turn for the worse. If only Pellington could have found some kind of balance, offered some relief from time to time, then he might have had an intriguing study of middle-aged men in crisis instead of this grim, often ludicrous cautionary tale.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about the characters' use of alcohol, drugs, and cigarettes. Does the movie glamorize drinking, drugging, and smoking? What consequences do characters face?
Is there any way these characters could have found help -- or hope? What resources do people have when they feel at the end of their rope?
Do you think the young characters will grow up to be as disillusioned as the older ones? Does the movie have anything positive to say?
- In theaters: December 9, 2011
- On DVD or streaming: February 28, 2012
- Cast: Jeremy Piven, Rob Lowe, Thomas Jane
- Director: Mark Pellington
- Studio: Magnolia Pictures
- Genre: Drama
- Run time: 122 minutes
- MPAA rating: R
- MPAA explanation: pervasive drug use and language, some violence and sexual content
- Last updated: March 28, 2023
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