Want more recommendations for your family?
Sign up for our weekly newsletter for entertainment inspiration
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Parents with a child's best interests in mind may not always give advice that is best for the child. Sometimes it takes tragedy to push one onto a good path.
Positive Role Models
Daryn is upstanding, bright, hardworking, loyal. He begins to question his father's priorities and the definition of what a "successful" life is. Isabelle likes breaking rules, which is a good influence on her new friend, but it comes out of feelings of abandonment and loss. Diversity in the cast. Although Daryn is Black and Isabelle is White, there is no mention of race. No attention is paid to the fact that a devoted adult in Isabelle's life is trans.
Violence & Scariness
A child is abandoned by a junkie mother in the past. Someone seizes, bleeds from the mouth, collapses from an illness. Characters die of long illnesses. Someone tries to jump out of a moving car and causes a crash. No one is injured. A man describes living in poverty with rats. A young man rebelling against his father's well-intended control destroys his father's calendar in a fit of anger. A father gets ready to punch his disobedient son but restrains himself. A youth steals from a convenience store.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Violence & Scariness in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Sex, Romance & Nudity
Teens kiss and sex is implied but not shown, all without nudity. Guys talk about losing their virginity, referring to the "scarlet V," making a drawing of a man's hairy behind.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Sex, Romance & Nudity in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
"F--k," "s--t," "ass," "bitch," "suck," "hell," "butt," "scarlet V," and "t-tty."
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Language in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Someone is a former junkie. Many medicines are taken. Someone jokes about "buying crack." Someone uses a recreational substance and vomits afterward.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Drinking, Drugs & Smoking in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Life in a Year is a sensitive tearjerker about young romance, breaking away from parental control, asserting independence, caring for others, and loss. Language, which includes "f--k," "s--t," "ass," "bitch," "suck," "hell," "butt," "scarlet V," and "t-tty," is incidental to a plot that focuses on the importance of love, commitment, and loyalty. Teens kiss and sex is implied but not shown, all without nudity. A youth has a violent encounter with a concert bouncer, and a father gets ready to punch his disobedient son but restrains himself. Child abandonment, drug use in the past, and terminal illness are all subjects. Drugs are mostly confined to the medicinal kind but, in one case, someone uses a recreational substance and vomits afterward. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
Bring hankies and tissues because your tears will be well jerked, especially owing to solid performances by two engaging actors in the lead roles. Life in a Year is so emotionally well-tuned that we can forgive the script's occasional sour notes. No sane parent tells his child that getting into Harvard is a sure thing or a "formality," as the dad does here. Plus, rejections don't come by snail mail anymore. And although the relationship between Daryn and Isabelle makes sense by the movie's end, we never see why Daryn pursues her at the start, given how consistently mean and belittling she is to him. At the moment he says he loves her, we can't imagine why. Also, things tie up a bit too neatly at the end as Daryn abandons visions of the Ivy League and a law career to pursue a rap career. But still, teens who love romance will fall hard for this bittersweet tale.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.