Juliet, Naked

Movie review by
Jeffrey M. Anderson, Common Sense Media
Juliet, Naked Movie Poster Image
Strong language in slight but effective tale of music, love.
  • R
  • 2018
  • 105 minutes

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

Shows how obsessions can lead to trouble. A strong reaction to a piece of art doesn't necessarily mean that you should dedicate your life to that one piece of art. Other human beings are just as, if not more, important.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Characters are well-written and likable, but they're all flawed and tend to engage in deception, self-delusion, and mild forms of revenge.

Violence

Arguing. A man collapses after a heart attack. A shark's eye in a jar.

Sex

A man has children by several different partners. A woman appears in her underwear. She also removes batteries from a vibrator. A man in a relationship kisses another woman (he's having an affair). Some sex talk.

Language

Strong, frequent language includes uses of "f--k," "s--t," "for Christ's sake," "Jesus," and "oh my God" (as exclamations).

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Social drinking, wine.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Juliet, Naked is a romantic dramedy based on a novel by Nick Hornby. The main content issue is strong language, including many uses of "f--k" and "s--t." A character has children by many different partners, and characters cheat on one another. There's also a scene of kissing and some sex-related talk, a female character is seen in her underwear, and a vibrator is shown. Expect some arguments and and tension, as well as a character collapsing after a heart attack. Characters drink socially, mainly wine. The characters (played by Chris O'Dowd, Ethan Hawke, and Rose Byrne) are older music nerds who grew up before the days of streaming music and MP3s, so younger viewers may not relate. And for older viewers, while it's not particularly deep, it might still strike a chord.

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What's the story?

In JULIET, NAKED, cultural arts professor Duncan (Chris O'Dowd) runs a web forum dedicated to an obscure American alternative musician named Tucker Crowe, whose 1993 album Juliet Duncan considers a masterpiece. Meanwhile, Duncan's longtime girlfriend, Annie (Rose Byrne), is stuck running a museum that was left to her by her father -- and putting up with her boyfriend's obsession. When a package containing a mysterious early version of the album called Juliet, Naked arrives, Annie listens to it before Duncan. Duncan is furious, and he gets even angrier when Annie posts a negative review of the album on the forum. Weirdly, she receives a message from none other than Tucker Crowe (Ethan Hawke) himself, telling her he agrees with her. They start corresponding regularly, unloading their troubles on each other. When Duncan announces that he's having an affair, Annie leaves him and becomes even closer to Tucker. But what will happen when Duncan finds out about her new friend?

Is it any good?

Based on a novel by Nick Hornby, this romantic drama is slight and narrow in scope, but its performers are dedicated, and its passions run deep. Older viewers who remember falling in love with an album well before the days of MP3s and streaming music services will identify with these lovable misfits, who approach High Fidelity-level music-nerd territory. Juliet, Naked isn't a story of dreams coming true but of learning to let go of the past -- or perhaps learning which parts of the past to let go of. The movie gets points for humanizing its rock 'n' roll star and for Hawke's all-too-human portrayal of him. Tucker is a mess, and the links between his music and his mistakes are easy to see.

Juliet, Naked also creates, in its margins, a roster of younger characters who are coming of age in this weird, complicated world. This movie doesn't simply take place in a vacuum, focused on its three main characters. It exists in a world in which consequences ring far and wide. The music is, of course, important for holding everything together, and a sequence in which Tucker performs The Kinks' "Waterloo Sunset" is a true beauty. Jesse Peretz directs with a surprising non-slapsticky softness of touch, similar to his work in the wonderful Our Idiot Brother, and the screenplay is co-written by such humanists as filmmaker Tamara Jenkins (The Savages) and Oscar-winner Jim Taylor (Sideways).

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how Juliet, Naked depicts sexual relationships. How does Tucker come across? How did you feel about Duncan cheating on Annie? Annie confiding intimately in another man?

  • Have you ever loved an album as much as Duncan loves Juliet? If so, what does that album mean to you? How has it changed the more you listen to it?

  • How does Tucker relate to his children? Is he a good father figure? What could he do differently?

  • Have you ever had a hard time letting go of the past, or something that represents the past? How?

  • How are Duncan and Annie's experiences in the online forum similar, or different, from yours?

Movie details

Themes & Topics

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