A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Jack & Diane is a teen romantic drama with strange, gory horror overtones. For some reason, the female teen lovers turn into monsters during dream sequences. There's shocking violence, spurting blood, and eating of human organs, as well as some disturbing interludes involving what looks like growing/moving hair among human organs. In addition to scenes of the lovers kissing and fondling each other and more, there are also uncomfortable/upsetting sexual scenes involving teens on the Internet (a teen girl is drugged, and two boys masturbate on her unconscious body). Teens also drink regularly and occasionally smoke cigarettes. Language is likewise strong, with uses of "f--k," "s--t," and "p---y." Jack & Diane has been billed as a horror film, but teens who watch it with this in mind will surely be disappointed.
What's the story?
Shy, distracted Diane (Juno Temple) comes to stay with her aunt (Cara Seymour) in New York City and meets a damaged, streetwise, tough girl called "Jack" (Riley Keough). They quickly develop feelings for each other and spend a great deal of time kissing, though neither is sure how their relationship will progress, especially since Diane is leaving for Paris soon (and doesn't know how to tell Jack). Their feelings grow so strong that they eventually, apparently, turn into monsters and devour each other. Is this all happening in their dreams, or is their love destined for destruction on a real level as well?
Is it any good?
Writer/director Bradley Rust Gray is capable of subtle character studies, like 2009's The Exploding Girl, and he nearly creates something as good with JACK & DIANE. But the weird, violent touches in the movie's margins cast a confusing and sickening shadow across the rest of it. The monster attacks -- and the weird little interludes (animated by the Brothers Quay) leading up to them -- don't make much sense, unless it's to underline something as simple as "they love each other so much they want to devour each other." If so, there has to be a better way to show it.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about Jack & Diane's violent scenes. What is their impact? Are they necessary to the story?
How does the movie depict sex? Parents, talk to your teens about your own values regarding sex and relationships.
How do the characters deal with sex on the Internet? Are they victims or survivors? Is there a better way to deal with these things?
What audience do you think the filmmaker is trying to appeal to? Does he succeed?
- In theaters: November 2, 2012
- On DVD or streaming: January 8, 2013
- Cast: Cara Seymour, Juno Temple, Riley Keough
- Director: Bradley Rust Gray
- Studio: Magnolia Pictures
- Genre: Drama
- Run time: 105 minutes
- MPAA rating: R
- MPAA explanation: strong sexual content including nudity and an assault, bloody violence, language and drinking - all involving teens