Midnight Sun

Movie review by
Michael Ordona, Common Sense Media
Midnight Sun Movie Poster Image
Tear-jerking romance is mild except for teen partying.
  • PG-13
  • 2018
  • 91 minutes
Popular with kidsParents recommend

Parents say

age 13+
Based on 7 reviews

Kids say

age 12+
Based on 18 reviews

A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

Loving support can help make a terrible condition bearable. Spoiler alert: The story involves assisted suicide, so how you feel about that issue will determine whether you see that as a positive message.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Katie eventually finds the strength to determine what important course to take. There are no villains here, only loving friends and family and competent, caring doctors. The father-daughter relationship is positive. The doctor is a woman of color, but the only Asian character is a nerdy stereotype.

Violence
Sex

Lots of making out, including a drunken hookup in a parked car, but no sexual pressure or nudity, and nothing beyond "first base" (though a bra is seen). No sexual pressure.

Language

Infrequent, but includes "s--t," " "damn," "ass," "hell," and "oh my God" (as an exclamation).

Consumerism

M&Ms.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Teens drink at two parties and try to drink at a third. It's pretty extensive at the main party, with iffy decisions following. After leaving that party, the two main characters jump in a truck and drive around town. No consequences for any of this behavior -- no hangovers, no regrets for unexpected hookups, no accidents.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Midnight Sun -- a romance based on a Japanese film about a girl (Bella Thorne) who's deathly allergic to the sun -- is about as tame as a story of doomed, passionate teenage love could be. There's lots of kissing and a drunken hookup in a car, but nobody goes beyond "first base." The main concern for most parents will likely be the teen drinking, which is handled somewhat irresponsibly. Teens drink a lot at a party (the main character has presumably never done this before), then drive around town -- all with no consequences. There's also a bit of language (including "s--t," "ass," and "damn"), and the sole Asian character is portrayed stereotypically. Spoiler alert: The story also involves assisted suicide, which is a complicated issue. But it's also quite romantic and will likely appeal to teens. Patrick Schwarzenegger and Rob Riggle co-star.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent Written byEric K. March 22, 2018
Parent of a 12 and 18+ year old Written byMisty C. March 30, 2018

Excellent movie, highly recommend seeing it!

This movie cannot be compared to Everything, Everything. Yes, that was a good movie. Nothing though compared to the depth of this movie Midnight Sun. Great acto... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written bysierra01 February 13, 2018
Teen, 13 years old Written bykrt13 March 25, 2018

Tear-jerker but very heart-warming!

This was an amazing story about bravery, love, and illness. I absolutely loved it! Bella Thorne did an amazing job as Katie, the main character. If you're... Continue reading

What's the story?

MIDNIGHT SUN is a romantic drama based on the 2006 Japanese film Song to the Sun (Taiyō no Uta). Katie (Bella Thorne) is a gorgeous, talented, smart teenager who has a perfect relationship with her protective dad, Jack (Rob Riggle), and loves hanging out with her ultra-loyal best friend, Morgan (Quinn Shephard), in the well-to-do Seattle suburb they call home. Just one thing prevents Katie from meeting her unknowing crush, Charlie (Patrick Schwarzenegger): She has a rare condition that makes even a few moments of sun exposure likely fatal. But they meet anyway because of her musical talent and start up a star-crossed romance in the summer after they both graduate high school (or the home-schooled equivalent). Will Charlie, who's recovering from shoulder surgery, regain the swimming form that once promised him a full ride at UC Berkeley, possibly taking him away from homebound Katie? And will Katie tell Charlie about her condition? 

Is it any good?

The virtues of this star-crossed teen romance can't quite overcome its contrivances. Like 2017's charming Everything, Everything, to which it bears a striking (and uncomfortable?) resemblance, Midnight Sun struggles with the increasingly tricky challenge of how to craft a big enough obstacle to keep two would-be lovers apart in today's age of instant global communication. Both films use ultra-rare but dramatically convenient medical conditions to isolate their main characters in their nice homes in their fancy suburbs and keep them from living full lives with their perfect, evolved, dreamboat crushes. Midnight hopes to coast on Thorne and Shephard's charms and the shiny dreaminess of love interest Charlie, with a boost from Katie's songs.

But its wall isn't built high enough. Why must Katie be a hermit? Why can't she share her secret with Charlie until it becomes a safety issue? Does Charlie have any flaws, or is his terrible secret that he's perfect? The story takes place in a fantasy world in which teens drink at parties with no consequences, even when they jump behind the wheel of a truck right afterward. Charlie has ins everywhere, it seems, including nightclubs, recording studios, and train stations, despite his obsessive devotion to swimming. And perhaps least understandably, these two attractive teens make out all over the place but apparently never go past first base (despite the fatalism that informs the film's second half). This lack of mooring in reality sets the drama adrift and makes it difficult to invest in the characters' plight. But it will certainly appeal to romantic teens, and there's one standout performance: Riggle, in a rare extended dramatic appearance. He ekes out a few chuckles as Katie's devoted dad, but, more importantly, he provides ballast and emotional realism. More of that grounding might have benefited Midnight Sun.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how Midnight Sun depicts teen drinking. Was it portrayed responsibly? Were there realistic consequences? Why does that matter?

  • How realistic does the movie feel? Does everyone behave believably? Does that even matter, or do you put that all aside when watching a romantic drama?

  • What did you think of Katie's decision not to tell her boyfriend about her condition? 

Movie details

For kids who love romance

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