A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Strongly promotes self-acceptance; natural beauty shines. Cautions against having others set one's personal goals and standards for beauty. Question posed: Should our behavior reflect how society is, or how society should be?
Positive Role Models
Heroine, a successful, smart, beautiful woman, leaves shallow values and old-fashioned expectations behind, becoming independent, courageous, self-confident. Some stereotyping: patronizing male boss, overbearing mother (but she displays some nuance).
Sex, Romance & Nudity
Several scenes show lovers in bed, engaged in foreplay and some sexual activity (bare shoulders, no nudity). Kissing, heightened sensuality in several sequences.
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Occasional profanity: "f--k," "s--t," "hell," "pimp," "anal-compulsive," "a--hole."
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Products & Purchases
Amber Light beer is featured. References to or visuals of Pabst beer, Viagra.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Adults consume alcoholic in several scenes. Leading character gets very drunk in one sequence.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Nappily Ever After is based on a series of books by Trisha R. Thomas. At the center of the sometimes funny, sometimes poignant film is a seemingly successful, young African American woman whose values have been shaped by a very traditional mother for whom appearance is all, and by her hair, which is a metaphor for her life. As Violet Jones stumbles along a path toward independence, self-confidence, and real appreciation of her uniqueness, she makes mistakes, recovers, then falters again. Sexuality and sensuality are integral to the plot. While there's no nudity, Violet and her partner are in bed in several scenes with kissing, passionate foreplay, and some carefully shot sexual activity. Viewers can also expect some profanity, including "f--k," "s--t," "a--holes," and "hell." Characters drink in social situations, and in one instance, the heroine becomes very drunk. Though Violet's relationship with her hair is a singularly African American experience, the underlying issues in the film -- what it takes to become a fully realized person -- should resonate with a broad audience. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
Two stellar performances by Sanaa Lathan as Violet and young Daria Johns as Zoe, along with sharp commentary about culture, identity, and hair, bring a fresh, original sheen to a familiar story. Director Haifaa Al-Mansour (best known for the stunning Wadja) and a strong adaptation from the book provide Lathan with all she needs to deliver an assured, brave performance. Daria Johns is just wonderful. Featured characters are also solid, with Lynn Whitfield able to transcend the typical overbearing mother into an almost sympathetic character. Nappily Ever After is a welcome addition to Netflix's building library of accessible romantic comedies. While the movie may have special resonance for African American audiences, it should appeal to all fans of sparking romantic fare.
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.