A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Don't judge a book by its cover. Sometimes the end justifies the means. Things aren't black and white. Powerful people who do bad things can be brought to justice, although there are some examples of crimes going unpunished. Kindness can come from unexpected places.
Positive Role Models
Baron appears quiet and unassuming, with his life revolving around caring for his ailing mother. But he's easily led and convinced to commit a robbery by Marmalade, his actions bringing into question whether he's as innocent as he seems. Marmalade is carefree and behaves in a thoughtless, selfish way at times, with wild swings of energy and emotion that are at odds with Baron's measured calm. She has a traumatic past that she mostly keeps hidden, running from one thrill to the next. Otis appears intimidating at first, but is touched by Baron's story and protects him from other prisoners. However, he has an ulterior motive at play.
The film goes some way to challenging racial stereotypes when a Black man in prison turns out not to be the hardened criminal he first appears to be. Black characters are also shown to be in positions of power within the FBI. A character from a small town in a southern state initially speaks with stereotypical bad grammar, but is later seen to turn the stereotype on its head and show great intelligence. Marmalade has aspects of the "manic pixie dream girl" stereotype -- an eccentric free-spirit who is the quirky romantic interest of a more sensible male central character. However, aspects of the movie also toy with the realism of this stereotype. References to child abuse in a foster home feed into damaging portrayals of foster parents as neglectful and/or abusive.
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Violence & Scariness
A character is pushed to the ground during an arrest. An older bed-bound person is shown attached to breathing apparatus and in need of daily medication. Characters shoot guns at objects, a person is hit over the head and knocked out with a gun, people are threatened with guns, and shots are heard fired off-screen. There is mention of child abuse in a foster home, including locking children in cages and implied sexual abuse. Death of a mother on-screen.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Kisses on lips. A character straddles another as they kiss and sex is portrayed in silhouette via shadows. A character takes off their bra and the outline of their breasts are shown.
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Language includes "mother----r," "f--k," "f---ing," "f--ktards," "s--t," "s--ting," "bitch," "ass," "a--hole," "pr--ks," "friggin,'" "hoe," "damn," "heck," "dang," "t--ties," and "d--khead."
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Characters drink beer from bottles. A person takes unspecified prescription pills.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Marmalade is a drama with aspects of crime and romance, as well as plenty of twists and turns. It follows a man in jail, Baron (Joe Keery), recounting a bank robbery he committed with the love of his life, Marmalade (Camila Morrone), who he's planning to meet up with when he escapes. There is frequent strong language, including "f--k" and "s--t," as weak as occasional drinking. Sex is also portrayed in silhouette with partial nudity. People are threatened and guns are shot off-screen, and a character is hooked up to breathing machines in a living room. There is death of a mother, and references to child abuse, including the implication of sexual abuse, in a foster home. Some stereotypes are challenged by being flipped on their heads, and the film will likely leave viewers questioning some of their presumptions when plot twists occur. With dreamlike, indie vibes in places, and an original plot, this will appeal to adults and older teens that don't mind being left with as many questions as answers. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
What initially seems like one film drives off down a different track and keeps taking unexpected detours in this twisty, playful drama from first-time director Keir O'Donnell. In Marmalade, characters talk of a place between dreams and reality, and this movie hovers somewhere in that promised land. Things feel a little off kilter, it breaks into a dance scene at the most inopportune moment, and the reliability of the narrative is always a little up for grabs. Keery (Stranger Things) is making quite the name for himself as a confident, nuanced performer who seems to be choosing one clever role after another. Here, he's almost unrecognizable as the beaten-down small-town boy, peeking out from behind his long, brown hair at the colorful promise of his dream pixie, Marmalade (Morrone). Hodge gives his own layered performance as cellmate Otis, as engulfed in Baron's quirky tale as viewers become -- watching the candy-colored, deep hued scenes unravel with increasingly murky edges. How you take the film may depend on how willing you are to be left with more questions than answers, and not everything adds up as neatly as it might, but for those willing to suspend disbelief and go along for the ride, this is a worthy journey.
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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.