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Parents' Guide to

Language Lessons

By Sandie Angulo Chen, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 14+

Touching dramedy explores virtual friendship; language.

Movie NR 2021 91 minutes
Language Lessons Poster Image

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Entertaining and poignant, this collaborative bilingual dramedy benefits from Morales and Duplass' platonic chemistry. Movies with just two characters can often be overly play-like, and they don't always work -- but when they do, it's memorable. Language Lessons is a quiet movie about how intense circumstances can create an intimate bond between people, even if they're only seeing each other through their phones and computers. The natural, semi-improvised nature of the dialogue is authentic, which is to be expected considering that the stars wrote the script together. They show an impressive amount of range for two actors working remotely through screens.

Morales' direction concentrates on the various inequalities in the dynamic between Cariño (which means "cute," "care," or "dear") and Adam. It's telling how little viewers see of her background, whereas they usually see exactly where in Adam's luxurious home he is when they talk. Their interactions, while initially superficial (a way to practice conversational Spanish), turn into something substantial -- especially for Adam -- and the overall movie highlights both actors' comedic timing and charisma. Morales has been a talent to watch since her early days on Parks and Rec, and it's good to see her growing both behind and in front of the camera. The movie's ending might seem overly tidy, but the film as a whole is still a testament to the kind of friendship that grows into familial love.

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