Parents' Guide to

Off the Rails

By Stefan Pape, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 14+

Nostalgic travel comedy has grief, language, sex references.

Movie R 2021 94 minutes
Off the Rails Poster Image

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Is It Any Good?

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This is a sweet and charming movie that requires an uncynical eye in order to enjoy. There's no escaping the fact that Off the Rails is flawed and that's an understatement. Some of the dialogue is clunky, and the frustrating inclination to throw in drama is contrived and often unnecessary. So much seems to happen to this group, and it all just becomes so unbelievable, and distracting. It's hard not to wish they had more faith in the characters, the story, and the profound themes being explored, so as not to need all the silly sub-plots.

Yet despite these issues, Off the Rails' heart is in the right place, and there's something moving about the general exploration of time and how cruel it can be. Yet it doesn't ever feel dour. Rather it's an upbeat celebration of life. There is an added poignancy given the real-life passing of Preston, making her scenes hard to watch at times. There's also a really brilliant and moving sequence at the start where Judi Dench delivers a powerhouse performance, in less than five minutes of screen-time. Fans of Blondie will also be pleased to hear that they comprise the entire film's soundtrack.

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