My Zoe

Movie review by
Kat Halstead, Common Sense Media
My Zoe Movie Poster Image
Intense drama has difficult adult themes, some language.
  • R
  • 2021
  • 100 minutes

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Kids say

age 15+
Based on 1 review

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A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

The importance of unconditional love. The strength of a parent's love for a child, but also the potential dangers therein. Medical ethics surrounding reproductive rights and cloning are also discussed.

Positive Role Models

Both parents are loving and protective of Zoe. But also use their near obsessive behavior toward her to hurt each other following a divorce. A scientist is shown to prioritize his own ego and emotions above medical and legal ethics.

Violence

There are aggressive verbal altercations, including slight physical struggles. Medical scenes include a child in a coma and miscarriages -- blood is seen on bed sheets. (Spoiler alert) A child dies after falling ill.

Sex

Infrequent references to sex.

Language

Occasional language includes "f--k," "f--ked," "bulls--t," and "Christ."

Consumerism

There is discussion of the costs surrounding reproductive procedures.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Mention of drugs in a medical context, including kid's medicine and hormone injections.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that My Zoe is an intense drama that deals with adult themes such as serious illness, death, and medical ethics. Isabelle (Julie Delpy) and James (Richard Armitage) are a divorced couple who frequently argue in an aggressive manor -- usually related to their six-year-old daughter, Zoe, of whom they share custody. There is infrequent strong language, such as "f--k" and "f--king." There is only occasional sexual references, but some are crude with strong language used. A character suffers a miscarriage -- with blood seen on her bed sheets -- which may be difficult viewing for some. (Spoiler alert) Zoe ends up in a coma and eventually dies.

User Reviews

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Teen, 14 years old Written bymichaela gill February 26, 2021

fine

it was a good movie but some of it is very innaproprate

What's the story?

In MY ZOE, divorced couple Isabelle (Julie Delpy) and James (Richard Armitage) are devoted parents to their daughter Zoe (Sophie Ally), but constantly argue over custody arrangements. When Zoe falls unconscious overnight and ends up in a coma, they are forced together as they await news at the hospital, causing tempers to flare and emotions to run riot. As the prognosis looks increasingly bad, Isabelle takes matters into her own hands and approaches controversial scientist Thomas Fischer (Daniel Bruhl) and his wife Laura (Gemma Arterton) in an ethically murky and medically complex attempt to get her daughter back at any cost.

Is it any good?

Julie Delpy's seventh feature is a shift from her more romcom focused hits 2 Days in Paris and 2 Days in New York, taking a much darker dramatic tone that is both determined and a touch unrelenting. My Zoe centers on a mother's grief -- Delpy not only writes and directs, but also stars as Isabelle -- with the film providing a showcase for Delpy's sensitive and realistic portrayal of the extreme and not entirely rational lengths a parent will go to in order to save their child. Armitage is powerful as the grieving father, whose pain and anger about their divorce is permanently bubbling beneath the surface.

Scenes in the hospital seem never-ending at times, but Delpy doesn't shy away from the subject matter to put entertainment first. A shift in tone toward the end ventures into sci-fi territory in terms of plot, yet the style remains the same -- almost brutal in its visual realism, complete lack of score, and refusal to ease up on the issues. An intense drama, convincingly acted and directed with a confident restraint, My Zoe is an intriguing film that marks Delpy as a bold and accomplished filmmaker.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how My Zoe portrays the aftermath or divorce. Did it seem like a realistic portrayal? How did it compare to other movies about divorce you have seen?

  • Discuss the mother-daughter relationship at the center of the movie. What are the positive and negative sides to Isabelle's dedication to Zoe?

  • Talk about the language used. Did it seem necessary or excessive? What did it contribute to the movie?

  • How does the movie deal with loss and grief? How to talk to kids about difficult subjects.

  • Discuss the ethics and practicalities behind reproductive rights and the issue of cloning.

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love drama

Themes & Topics

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