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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Absent father Barry realizes how much he's damaged his family by ignoring his five daughters and their long-suffering mother. And the mother finally discovers her own inner strength and is able to remake their home.
Positive Role Models
Shaz certainly has noble goals in trying to save a dysfunctional family, but it's hard to approve of her methods -- which include assault, trespassing, theft, and arson.
Violence & Scariness
An unstable woman threatens and intimidates almost everyone around her, using a large knife and a dog with a convincing growl. She assaults two waitresses at a diner, steals some valuable dolls from another woman, sets a home on fire, and tries to attack her ex-husband. A man uses an electric cattle prod to stun a teenage boy; it's also used other times. Rape is mentioned. A gun is aimed at a character.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Two teens fool around after hours at the water park where they work, stripping and sliding down the water slide nude (breasts and a bottom are briefly glimpsed) and then kissing in the pool at the bottom. A teen boy tries to take off a girl's shirt, with his own shorts already partly down (part of his butt is seen). Characters are caught in an affair (no sensitive nudity seen). A teen girl shows her underwear several times.
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Frequent use of words including "s--t," "f--k," "c--t," and "bitch."
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
A man drinks beer with most of his meals at home, including breakfast. A woman uses a bong to smoke pot.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Mental is a dark comedy that focuses on a dysfunctional home with five daughters, an unstable mother, a father who's completely removed himself from the scene, and a kooky drifter/nanny who tries to fix both the family and herself. Several storylines feature mental illness, and it's not quite clear whether the nanny is completely sane. There's a good deal of profanity (including "f--k," "s--t," and more), and several moments when the main character uses violence or threats to make her point. One scene includes naked teens fooling around on a water slide (breasts and bottom are briefly glimpsed), and there are other scenes with suggestive material. A teen girl marries an older woman. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
This film is unbridled and intense -- and we don't just mean the cinematography. Movies with a bizarrely refreshing point of view are a joy to watch (see Muriel's Wedding, which was also directed by Mental helmer P.J. Hogan), especially when they pack a walloping mix of humor and pathos. In this regard, Mental is a joy.
But delightfully strange as it is, Mental is also very predictable. From the moment Shaz enters the scene, we know, pretty much, that in fixing the family she's suddenly part of, she will, in some way, fix what's broken with herself.
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.