A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Parallel is a science fiction film focusing on how endless opportunities can reveal people's true natures. Aml Ameen, Martin Wallström, Georgia King, and Mark O’Brien star as four friends who want to make it big with a new app but isntead find a portal to a multiverse, which they use to mine successful ideas for profit before their friendship is tested. (Spoiler alert) There's a contains a gruesome, jarring climactic death in which a character is split vertically, revealing all of his innards. The film has other fantastical and more realistic violence involving sci-fi weapons and guns. Characters drink and smoke (both a cigar and pot), sex is implied, and there's lots of swearing ("f--k," "s--t," and many more). But viewers are likely to find the characters' moral journeys interesting, and there's a theme of integrity.
What's the story?
PARALLEL sets the stage for a fascinating tale of morality and integrity, showing how far some people will go to achieve the ultimate dream of capitalist dominance. Martin Wallström stars as Noel, a chilling visionary who, after stumbling upon a portal to the multiverse with friends, uses it for his own gain to become a Steve Jobs- or Jeff Bezos-like entrepreneur. Leena (Georgia King), Devin (Aml Ameen), and Josh (Mark O'Brien) follow Noel's lead, finding the multiverse useful for finishing their joint project, a parking app, as well as for other opportunities to live out their dreams. But once Noel starts exploiting the benefits of using the multiverse for deadly consequences, each friend is put to the test about how they'll respond.
Is it any good?
Parallel is a slow burn at first: It takes nearly an hour for the main action to start. Up until then, the film is setting up its characters, world, and motivations, which makes it all fall into place once the first defining moment of tragedy happens for the friends. While each character is compellingly acted, Ameen and Wallström are the strongest as Devin, the conscience of the group, and Noel, the de-facto leader who wants power above all. Devin is also the most responsible, since he has experienced heartbreak that compels him to use the multiverse for more compassionate ends.
King and O'Brien round out the cast with stellar performances, particularly O'Brien, whose Josh takes an interesting turn regarding the multiverse. Overall, this film is great for fans of sci-fi morality tales -- like Primer, which also involves four friends coming upon an invention that challenges them and their morals.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about integrity. What defines integrity? Do you think any of the characters in Parallel demonstrate integrity in their actions? When has your own integrity been tested?
What does it mean to be a good friend? How can friends keep each other accountable for their actions?
What are some positive and negative aspects of using shortcuts to solve a problem?
When have you shown positive personal growth? How have you tried to make amends for past negative behavior?
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