LoveTrue

Movie review by
Barbara Shulgas..., Common Sense Media
LoveTrue Movie Poster Image
Tales of love struggles; cursing, mature themes, nudity.
  • NR
  • 2016
  • 82 minutes

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A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

People must tell themselves stories to overcome pain and hardships.

Positive Role Models & Representations

A man cheats on and physically abuses his wife. He only admits to the cheating. His children struggle with the knowledge that their mother is alone and living in a shelter. A man is devoted to his young son even after he learns that he's not the boy's biological father. A woman works at a strip club because it gives her a feeling of power while she's in love with a man with a debilitating illness who can't have sex with her.   

Violence

A man dreams of beating up the man who his girlfriend cheated with. The scene is shown briefly. A surfer falls off his board under a massive wave. He observes that anyone who surfs at that spot has to "be at peace with death." A man has an illness that gives him life-threateningly brittle bones. An onscreen dramatic re-enactment of a man drowning his rival shows how a lust for revenge has seized the man's imagination. A woman was deeply affected by childhood bullying.

Sex

A woman wants to have sex with her boyfriend, but he is too sick to have sex safely. Strippers are seen pushing their breasts onto paying customers' faces. Strippers dance with bare breasts. Derrieres in thongs are shown. A woman has a baby with another man but doesn't tell the boyfriend she lives with at first. The Tinder phone app, used for making casual sex hookups, is talked about. A stripper says that a man at her club said he wanted to "tongue punch your fart box."

Language

"F--k," "s--t," "bitch," "ho," "fart."

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

A man drinks to excess and marijuana use is seen.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that LoveTrue, a 2016 semi-documentary, follows three dramatic personal stories that all focus on mature themes suitable only for older teens. A man learns the son he's raising was fathered by another man. The oldest of a seven-sibling family singing group struggles to understand why her mother left her father, a man who beat and cheated on the mom. A young woman who was taunted and bullied as a child turns to stripping to bolster her self esteem and worries that she will never be able to extract herself from that life. Scenes from a strip club feature bare breasts and lap dancers. Expect to hear "f--k," "s--t," and "bitch," and to hear tales of homelessness and domestic abuse. A man drinks to excess and marijuana use is seen.

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What's the story?

In TRUELOVE, director Alma Har'el goes to Hawaii, New York City, and Alaska to find three compelling stories of life and love in which betrayal and hard knocks challenge her real-life characters. A Hawaiian coconut seller named Willie learns the son he's raising was fathered by another man. 17-year-old Victory, part of a seven-kid family singing group in New York City, struggles to understand why her mother left her father, a man who beat and cheated on the mom. Blake, a young Alaskan woman who was taunted and bullied as a child, turns to stripping to bolster her self esteem and worries that she'll never be able to extract herself from that life. The director hires actors to portray her subjects at different stages of their lives to help illustrate their stories. Blake, still recovering from the bullying, is shown as a child in dramatic re-enactments of her traumas. Willie, betrayed by the mother of his child, is shown as a carefree youth. Thalia Boyd, a woman who left her abusive and unfaithful husband and their seven kids, is played by an actress in a re-creation of the moment the husband explained that his mistress would become part of the family, whether the wife liked it or not.  The stories abruptly cut into each other and go back and forth in time.

Is it any good?

LoveTrue has many admirable and sensitive moments but its inherent disjointedness may lose all but the most devoted to tales of hardship and/or movies with unconventional storytelling. The filmmaker sees the drama in the way a young stripper loves to dance naked because it's the only area in her life where she feels she has power. It's is worth noting that The Boyd family singers are a talented lot and that Victory movingly sings songs she wrote about her religious faith.  

Overall, this isn't a movie likely to appeal to most teens, and is only appropriate for the most mature ones.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how difficult it is for children forced to take sides when their parents split up. Do you think kids prefer not to believe bad things about their parents?

  • Although the movie's title suggests it's about love, what else do you think it's about? Does self esteem play a role here? Does overcoming childhood challenges play a role?

  • Do you think the movie uses unconventional methods well to tell its story? Was it confusing to see real people interacting with actors hired to play themselves?

Movie details

For kids who love love stories

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