Poignant, moving sci-fi dramedy soars; strong language.
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A Lot or a Little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Linoleum is a sci-fi film with a light approach, a potent message, and a real emotional impact. Jim Gaffigan stars as the relatable, affable main character, Cameron, who demonstrates perseverance as he tries to build a rocket ship in his garage. There are a few moments of violence: a hard punch, suggestions of child abuse, and car accidents. Characters also use strong language, sometimes with the intention of being hurtful ("a--holes," "dyke," "f--k you," etc.). Teens share what looks like a beer. While the movie's setting of Fairview Heights, Ohio, is depicted as a very White community, the movie's teen characters do offer some representation in terms of sexuality: Cameron's daughter, Nora (Katelyn Nacon), identifies as queer, and she finds her soulmate in a boy who prefers to wear women's underwear. No kisses happen on camera, but it's understood that their friendship is deepening into a romantic one. While snippets of actual science lessons for children are seen in clips from a PBS kids' show, this film is far more likely to appeal to teens and their parents.
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What's the Story?
In LINOLEUM, life isn't turning out as Cameron Edwin (Jim Gaffigan) imagined. He never achieved his dream of becoming an astronaut, his children's TV show is failing, and his wife (Rhea Seehorn) is divorcing him. But when space junk falls into his backyard, Jim realizes that maybe it's not too late for his dreams to come true.
Is It Any Good?
Unexpectedly poignant and weirdly beautiful, this dramedy is like a falling star you feel lucky to have spotted. Cameron is in the throes of a mid-life crisis. He's done everything right, operating with integrity and perseverance, but it's just not going to happen for him. It's through his try-hard vulnerability that viewers grow to care about him, as well as the teen boy (Gabriel Rush) who moves in across the street -- the son of Cameron's nemesis. Yes, there are a few head-scratcher moments, like an elderly woman who stands outside Cameron's house, or a sports car that falls from the sky. But then we get reabsorbed in the story and forget about them. Several words or phrases keep oddly coming up, and we wonder, is that weird? Finally, the magic occurs, likely leaving viewers with a "whoa" moment -- one that may even elicit tears from adults. Linoleum is the kind of film that you may want to rewatch down the road, looking for bread crumbs that were, in hindsight, so enormous that you might have been tripping on them all along.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about Linoleum's message. Is it simple or not that simple? What do you think the filmmakers are trying to say?
Parents, share what you wanted to be when you grew up -- and how you pursued that passion (or why you changed your goal). Kids, what's your dream? What is something "fantastic" that you'd like to achieve together?
What is an unreliable narrator? Do you think that applies to this film?
How do the science lessons tie into the story? Which of these science facts did you already know?
Talk about the movie's plot twist. Did you see it coming?
- In theaters: February 24, 2023
- Cast: Jim Gaffigan, Rhea Seahorn, Katelyn Nacon
- Director: Colin West
- Studio: Shout! Studios
- Genre: Science Fiction
- Topics: STEM, Great Boy Role Models, Great Girl Role Models, High School
- Character Strengths: Perseverance
- Run time: 102 minutes
- MPAA rating: NR
- Award: Common Sense Selection
- Last updated: February 21, 2023
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