Lola Versus

Movie review by
S. Jhoanna Robledo, Common Sense Media
Lola Versus Movie Poster Image
Hipster romantic dramedy has some sex, drinking, language.
  • R
  • 2012
  • 86 minutes

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A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

The main take away is that you can't love someone without loving yourself -- and, equally important, that you can't love yourself without learning how to love others. Also, good friends see you through the worst of times and enjoy, with you, the best of times. But you have to know how to be a great friend.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Lola and Alice are best friends and speak to each other with honesty and compassion.

Violence

Some yelling.

Sex

Some scenes show couples in the middle of sex (lots of kissing and moaning), though there's little nudity beyond bare backs and a super-quick glimpse of a backside. Lots of making out; some grinding.

Language

Strong language includes "f--k," "s--t," and "d--k."

Consumerism

Brands mentioned or spotted include the iPhone, Amsale, Lundberg, Kahlua, and Six Flags.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Characters smoke weed and drink often, sometimes to total inebriation. In one scene, a woman winds up in a strip club, drunk out of her mind.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Lola Versus is an indie dramedy that focuses on the lives of a 29-year-old who was left at the altar and her friends. They're all single, many are looking for love, and their love lives and sex lives are explored. A handful of scenes portray characters hooking up; there's plenty of making out and some grinding, but no nudity aside from bare backs and a blink-and-you'll-miss-it glimpse of a naked backside. Characters also swear ("s--t," "f--k," etc.), drink (sometimes to the point of inebriation), smoke pot, and quarrel.

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What's the story?

Lola (Greta Gerwig), a Ph.D. student and writer, is in love with her artist boyfriend, Luke (Joel Kinnaman). So it's no surprise that when he proposes to her, she readily accepts. But just when they're about to jet off for their destination wedding, Luke balks, sending Lola into a tailspin that leaves her drinking a little too much; eating outside of her usually disciplined, macrobiotic diet; relying heavily on the counsel of her loyal best friend (Zoe Lister Jones); and sleeping with both an old friend and a new acquaintance and being unsure of either. And then there's Luke, who still has a presence in her life.

Is it any good?

Gerwig has such an expressive face: When it's doleful, we're sad; when it's happy, we light up. This makes her the perfect lead for LOLA VERSUS, which captures the tumultuous months after a hard break-up. Lola Versus captures a lot of the weirdness and discomfort of the twentysomething years, when everyone's still trying to figure out which road to take and, more important, whether it leads to where they actually want to go.

That said, while Lola understandably aches a lot, Lola Versus is too self-conscious about it. Lister-Jones is awesome, but her character seems like a caricature, her dialogue too on-the-nose rat-a-tat. In fact, nobody except Lola seems clear and crisp. It's OK to ride along on the journey of someone who's lost, but let the audience get to know their fellow passengers beyond the superficial and the cinematically cute.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how Lola Versus' twentysomething characters are depicted. Why do their romantic relationships seem fluid and confusing? Is this realistic or an exaggeration?

  • Does the movie deal with Lola's break-up in typical Hollywood fashion? What is it saying about the event?

  • Parents, talk to your teens about your own values regarding sex and relationships, as well as the real-life consequences of both drinking and drug use.

Movie details

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