Parents' Guide to


By Michael Ordona, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 13+

Mild language, absurd violence in coming-of-age comedy.

Movie PG-13 2017 93 minutes
Permanent Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 15+

Based on 4 parent reviews

age 14+

Adolescent/ young adult themes

There are many references and sex jokes in this film. The main girl’s name sounds like “orally” and is harassed by a boy sexually. This movie features everything I hated about the 80s, the school bullying, the terrible fashion, scooter races in PE, school bus rides etc. it was pretty accurate.

This title has:

Too much sex
Too much swearing
age 14+

Unbelieveably bad, lots of sexual references

We expected a king of Napoleon Dynamite type movie, not even close. The main character gets a bad hairdo and is referred to as 'Pubic' by her class mates for most of the film. Her real name is Aurelie so when she's not being called 'Pubic' she is referred to as 'oral-licky-lick' for the rest of the movie. She There also mentions throughout about how one of the boys in her class wants to 'stick his finger in her poontang'. This happens throughout, she's also offered 5 bucks for sex. Beyond all of this, the story itself is disjointed, poorly written and completely predictable. Even without the all of the inappropriate dialog, this movie is still terrible. How this is rated 3 stars and the sites review by Michael Ordona doesn't mention any of this, will think twice before I blindly trust a review from Common Sense media again.

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say: (4):
Kids say: Not yet rated

This comedy has glints of gentle, recognizable humor, but the characters' various quests are too low-stakes to involve the viewer deeply. That may be the point of Permanent -- that life is made up of tiny battles that seem important at the time -- but the film's belabored style and overuse of music undermine that approach. Aurelie (played by McLean, who's a real find) is winningly precocious and determined in any given moment. But the film's split focus between her; her mom, Jeanne; her dad, Jim; and her friend Lydia (Nena Daniels) dilutes her story. That's without considering how little Aurelie actually does to earn the money she needs to undo her "horrible" hairdo or how other threads (such as a bullying girl and a boy she likes) take her attention. Jim's big issue is that he's so self-conscious about removing his fake hair that he might ditch his dream of becoming a doctor (seriously). That's not easy to get behind. Jeanne, meanwhile, is sexually frustrated and thinks of herself as an artist, but we see no expressions of her artistic ability -- other than a hint of dabbling at bad poetry -- so she comes across as needy rather than understanding. Everyone's flawed, which is good, but their little battles are less than captivating.

Permanent does have some laughs, often due to little details and attitudes that might lead you to believe that writer-director Colette Burson (co-creator of HBO's Hung) knows turn-of-the-'80s Virginia well. For instance, when Jim pooh-poohs finding a cheap family therapist by saying at that price, they'll end up with a serial killer, Jeanne dismisses that in turn: "Serial killers don't live around here." And the movie's secondary casting is strong. As a pregnant teacher, Abby Wathen gets laughs with her spot-on, low-key calm. And as odd neighbor/therapist Jerry, Michael Greene is delightfully godlike and dirty. The relationship between Aurelie and her dad is sweet. The bullies' characters aren't really explored, which is OK for this sort of film, but the friendship with Lydia (aka the Black Kid) feels dramatically forced. McLean, though, looks to have a nice career ahead of her. She has fine comic timing and feels authentic in a film that has too many ineffective cinematic touches. The score is intrusive, and while the camera angles and editing choices are reminiscent of Wes Anderson, without his trademark reserve, it all gets a bit tiresome.

Movie Details

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