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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Amid onslaught of raunchy, iffy content is message that building a good friendship includes communicating to find common ground. And that friends can help each other with issues by using teamwork to solve a problem.
Positive Role Models
Hannah is a slacker with no motivation, but she develops a (marginally) better sense of self by befriending Lady Wadsworth, the ghost haunting the historic Wadsworth house and museum. Hannah learns how to better teach museum-goers about Lady Wadsworth's life, and Lady Wadsworth learns more about the modern world. Hannah also befriends Max, a college professor who helps her learn about the Wadsworths' history and how to save the home for its rightful owners.
People of color are generally treated as support for the White main character, Hannah. Nia and Marcus, who actually have a great story regarding their ancestor's legal rights to the Wadsworth house, are barely given anything to do or say, save for exposition, support for Hannah, or being the "straight man" against Hannah's zaniness. Luis Guzmán plays a bartender who regularly listens to Hannah's drunken complaints about her life. Other people of color are shown as waiters in different scenes; rarely are any White actors shown in a service capacity. In fact, race is a pretty big sticking point in this film, since the story revolves around a Reconstruction-era woman and her estate. Even though Lady Wadsworth is depicted as being liberal-minded in giving her house to her "best friend," Josephine Pipkin, Josephine was more than likely enslaved during their so-called friendship. This casts a big shadow on Lady Wadsworth's assertion that they were fast friends. Plus, Lady Wadsworth's will was changed to remove the Pipkins as the legal inheritors of the house, leading to them remaining in service to the Wadsworths, even in the present day (her descendants work as live-in help for the Wadsworths). If these servants are related to the Pipkins in any way (likely, since they're played by the same actors), can Lady Wadsworth still claim she was friends with Josephine? It's also problematic that Nia and Marcus are similarly considered "friends" to the Wadsworth descendants, given that the "friendship" only exists in the realm of racial hierarchies. A joke that involves Hannah dressing up as a Hasidic rabbi to reenter the Wadsworth house compares the word "rabbi" to "rabies."
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Violence & Scariness
Murder, descriptions of murder, blurred image of a dead woman. Punching. Hannah is falsely accused of soliciting sex from a minor; in a later scene, she nearly commits sexual assault when having drunken sex with Tanner by not getting clear consent.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Scenes with sexual content, such as groping and rough kissing. A scene featuring several sex toys (dildos) and erotic magazines. Language, such as Tanner talking about "f--king prostitutes," Hannah being accused of being a sex worker, and another character using the word "queef." Scene with overheard masturbation (with the description "jerk off" used by Tanner). Tanner makes sexual jokes -- e.g., an allusion to a woman rubbing a man's penis. Hannah says Lady Wadsworth had "many gentlemen callers," and Hannah discusses something regarding "tons of pubes." Hannah thinks Max is having inappropriate sex with his students and believes he and his students engage in roleplay. Sexual words, such as "c--k," "c--ktease" and "p---y."
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Phrases and words like "hell yeah," "horses--t," "s--t," "f--k it up," "f--k," "f--king," "f--ked," "bulls--t," "damn." Sexual words, such as "c--ktease," "c--k," "queef" and "pussy." Ableist words such as "stupid," "psycho," and "retarded." LGBTQ+ slur "fruity" used. Exclamatory use of phrases including "Jesus Christ" and "oh my God."
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Products & Purchases
Legend of Zelda and Uber are mentioned.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Many scenes with smoking weed/weed possession. Many scenes of drinking.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Lady of the Manor is a raunchy comedy about a slacker named Hannah (Melanie Lynskey) who grows in maturity through her friendship with a ghost with unfinished business (Judy Greer). The film tries to tell a funny story about adulthood but has lots of sexual content, including a problematic scene that includes lack of convincing sexual consent between characters. Expect frequent drug (pot) and alcohol use, as well as coarse language, including "f--k," "s--t," ableist slurs, and sexual terms ("c--k," "p---y"). Race is a pretty big sticking point in the film, with a lack of nuance about race relations and people of color generally being treated as support for the White main character. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
Lady of the Manor is a frustrating watch on several levels. For one thing, it's not funny. The film seems to believe that including tons of crass humor and putting characters in grossly sexual or awkward predicaments is the way to earn laughs. Instead, all the film succeeds at is alienating viewers. The "humor" also unintentionally reinforces the fact that Hannah is completely unlikable. While she's supposed to be a subversion of the classic male schlub -- simply by virtue of being a woman -- she shows how the "slacker stoner" conceit doesn't always work, regardless of gender. Her character is devoid of common sense -- and anything else that might remotely connect her to viewers. For instance, even the most stoned person would recognize that college professor Max (Justin Long) has meetings with his students in his office or in the classroom. But Hannah nonsensically believes that Max is having sexual role-play liaisons with them. It's not funny; instead, it's frustrating. Even more frustrating is the film having the nerve to suggest that Hannah and Max could have any type of romantic relationship, even though they have nothing in common. She constantly calls him a "nerd," and he's simply too smart and well-adjusted for someone like her. It's clear that they're only thrown together for the film's sake. It also doesn't help that, because of some supposedly "hilarious" hijinks, Hannah is mistaken for being a sex offender. Having this somehow be part of a comedy of errors isn't as funny as the film believes.
And then there's the fact that Lady of the Manor tries to approach the topic of racial politics but just ends up reinforcing the stereotypes it wants to combat. Lady Wadsworth reveals that she left her home to her "best friend" Josephine and her family. But her husband changed her will after her death and kept the home in his family. The film totally glosses over the brutality of slavery during this time in Savannah. In Lady Wadsworth's time, it would have been rare for any well-to-do White family to give any property to a Black person, "best friend" or not. And in a flashback, it appears that Josephine is an enslaved person. Could she and Lady Wadsworth truly be best friends with that kind of power imbalance? Worst of all, her family's descendants still work as servants to the Wadsworth family in the present before the will double-cross is revealed, leaving viewers to suspect that the two families have had a servant-master relationship for decades, if not a full century. Perhaps there could have been a story within this dynamic if the film was fully equipped to deal with the subject matter. But it isn't, since even though the film is actually about Josephine's family regaining property that was stolen from them, the story focuses on an inept White woman's struggle to be a decent person. As such, it barely gives its characters of color anything to do, save for delivering exposition or acting as the "straight man" in supposedly funny scenes. Lady of the Manor might be billed as a comedy involving a Reconstruction-era ghost, but the film is definitely dead on arrival.
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