A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
You are enough. Life is a journey; appreciate where you are each step of the way.
Positive Role Models
Mack has an aspirational career (author/influencer), and her embrace of those who are aging and all they have to offer is a positive attitude/perspective. Her best friend, Carla, is empathetic toward Mack's unexpected situation and is kind and supportive even though it conflicts with the events leading to Carla's wedding. The women that "Rita" becomes friends with are comfortable in their skin: They know and embrace who they are and say what they want. Mack's neighbor, Jack, has a balanced outlook on life: He has a career that provides for him but doesn't consume him, and he doesn't see the value in leaning into partying or a wild night life.
This story of the female experience has many female cast and crew members, including a female director and writer. Counter-stereotypical portrayal of older women; shows the joy of being a senior. Groups of friends are racially diverse. A couple of characters identify as queer. While primary characters are all slim, a female fitness instructor represents body diversity and promotes idea that "All bodies can do pilates."
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Romantic subplot. Kissing. Joking references to sex, including a character laughing that a male is "hung" and a line about "getting laid."
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Occasional language, including "ass," "bulls--t," "damn," "s--t," and "son of a bitch."
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Products & Purchases
Obvious product placement: Knix and California Pizza Kitchen are prominently and positively featured. Apple products are shown with logos noticeably featured. Classic Thunderbird car.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Long, comically presented scene of the main character doing mushrooms to reverse her condition -- she's in a safe space at home, and there's some nervousness beforehand, but it's ultimately portrayed as fun, funny, and harmless. Heavy drinking throughout: champagne, wine, beer, mimosas.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Mack & Rita is an age-switching comedy starring and produced by Diane Keaton. It explores attitudes about women and aging and is like a flipped take on Big. Here, a young woman named Mack (Elizabeth Lail) is overwhelmed by career demands and envies the relaxed life of a retiree. When she magically becomes that age (Keaton), she learns that older people can feel more comfortable in their own skin, even if it sags a little. Most of the characters are women, and friendships are portrayed as positive and supportive, as well as inclusive of race, age, and sexuality. Events take place in the months leading up to a wedding, and there's a lot of celebratory drinking, though no one ever seems drunk. But there is a long scene where "Aunt Rita" (the name given to Mack's older self) takes mushrooms in a desperate attempt to return to her proper age. It suggests that the experience is fun and harmless. A romantic subplot involves a few kisses and some sex jokes. Occasional language includes "son of a bitch," "s--t," "ass," and "damn." To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
As a comedy, it's OK, but as a ground-breaker, Mack & Rita is exceptional. Keaton (who also executive-produced) and company use their fun film to help defy the labels and prejudices associated with ageism. The movie argues that those over 65 are living their best lives and, if given the chance, are even pretty cool. Sure, some folks' aging bodies may not work as well as they once did, but retiree life has the potential to be a lot easier (if you're lucky) -- especially if, after decades of trying to keep up with who you think you should be, you accept and enjoy who you are.
Writers Madeline Walter and Paul Welsh, both from Brooklyn Nine-Nine, acknowledge -- winkingly -- that Mack & Rita reimagines Big for the modern day, with a modern outlook (Simon Rex's amusing turn as a Zen guru is just a turban away from being Zoltar in human form). And, thankfully, it corrects a cringey aspect of Big by flipping the script on that film's "age-inappropriate" relationship. While Rita does miss her youthful breasts and wrinkle-free skin, she learns that self-love is about appreciating what you have while you have it -- and that doesn't have to have anything to do with being attractive to a romantic partner. Positive messages like that -- plus Mack's own cool grandma in the movie -- make this an especially great watch-together pick for grandmothers and granddaughters.
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.
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