A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
The movie is a veritable study of "bad" behavior -- adults act out, compete, and abuse one another emotionally. Their kids watch, worry, and try to make sense of the bickering, yelling, and withholding.
Violence & Scariness
Sisters recall their father's abuse (he beat them with a belt). Margot yells at a woman who's pulling on her daughter's arm; she yells back at Margot and calls her a "bitch." An argument results in a slap. A dog is hit by a car, and Jim tries to save it (some blood visible). A boy beats up and bites Claude (who yells loudly in pain). Dick chases and kicks Malcolm, who cries. Discussion of unseen sister's rape.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Couple appears in bed, with woman's breasts visible. Margot listens to her sister having sex in the next room and masturbates in bed (no nudity, but obvious movement). Sisters discuss their sexual pasts several times, including that of another, unseen sister. Maisy tells Claude that his mom is "hot" and "I'd do her if I was gay." Dick kisses Margot in the car. An adult man admits to sexual activity with a female teenager. Claude admits to masturbating. Some body-part words ("testicles"). Suggestion that pregnancy prompted the wedding.
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Lots of uses of "f--k," as well as "s--t," "bitch," "d--khead," and "a--hole."
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Products & Purchases
Margot is concerned with promoting her new book.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Some cigarette smoking and wine drinking. Margot finds pills in a drawer.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this mature, sometimes-uncomfortable drama isn't for kids, even though Jack Black co-stars (this is definitely not one of his over-the-top comedy roles). Focused on the long-repressed conflicts between two adult sisters, its themes include competition, sexual desire and frustration, and passive-aggressive behavior. Several arguments include yelling and crying, and two brief fights show victims (men) getting kicked or hit. There are discussions and images of masturbation, rape, and abuse, and an adult man makes out with an adolescent girl. Language includes many uses of "f--k." To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
The film turns into a series of arguments and dire revelations; each is well acted, but their accumulation eventually feels crushing. When Margot at last decides to send Claude off alone on a bus, his simultaneous reluctance to go and desire to trust her is heartbreaking. That it's captured in a few moments in which he and his mother are at last not talking, not trying so desperately to order their feelings through language suggests at last that there's hope for them. Smartly, though, the film keeps still at last on Claude's face, letting you imagine his future.
Claude is at the center of this maelstrom of immature adults and kids who compete for attention and resent one another. His perspective more or less grounds Noah Baumbach's latest investigation of long-festering family dysfunction, and so his changing attitudes toward his mother, aunt, and Malcolm -- as well as his cousin Ingrid (Flora Cross) and teenage housekeeper Maisy (Hallet Feiffer) -- tend to shape viewers' opinion.
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Our Editors Recommend
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