Pink Wall

Movie review by
Tracey Petherick, Common Sense Media
Pink Wall Movie Poster Image
Strong language and adult themes in intense romantic drama.
  • NR
  • 2019
  • 82 minutes

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

Positive Messages

Open, candid, unselfconscious conversations about sex, sexuality, relationships highlight value of transparency and honesty. 

Positive Role Models & Representations

Jenna is a strong female character. Professionally successful, popular, seemingly self-confident, she's also grounded in realism with a certain vulnerability and, ultimately, selfishness. Leon is sensitive and -- at first -- a great source of inspiration and support. Though outwardly charming, his lack of self-esteem is evident when things begin to unravel. As "main breadwinner" in their relationship, Jenna's character represents a twist of gender stereotyping. While lead actors share screen time and significance, it's refreshing to see actor who plays Jenna billed first in credits.

Violence

Characters have aggressive arguments that include swearing but no physical violence.

Sex

One scene depicting full sex but no graphic detail; characters are fully clothed. One scene has dominant-submissive vibes as characters physically struggle against one another in sexual power play. Partial nudity in several scenes: Characters seen in their underwear. Two characters simulate sex with use of a bottle. One nongraphic but clear masturbation scene: Character's head and shoulders filmed from behind as they watch a laptop screen. Explicit dialogue throughout, including a no-holds-barred conversation about periods and an anecdote about character looking at their "anus" in a mirror. Dinner party scene has lengthy, explicit dialogue about sex including pornography.

Language

Strong language occurs throughout, with frequent use of "f--k" and one instance of "c--t." Also "s--t," "boobs," "p---y-whipped," "c--k," "holy s--t," "bitch," "crap," "bulls--t," "d--k splash," "shag," and "a--hole." "Jesus" and "God" are used as exclamations.

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Frequent drinking throughout with several scenes of drunken behavior. Two characters drink shots of vodka while at college. One reference to a character's dad being an alcoholic and in rehab. In a nightclub scene, characters take pills and are intoxicated. One scene depicts a drug dealer with a box of pot. Characters later smoke a joint and are stoned. Infrequent moments of cigarette smoking.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Pink Wall is an intense drama about life, love, and sex with adult themes and strong language throughout. Although there are no explicitly graphic sex scenes, the dialogue frequently focuses on sex and relationships, with regular sexual swearing including "f--k," "c--k," "p---y," and "c--t." There is partial nudity -- characters in underwear -- and an implied masturbation scene as well as one sex scene in which characters are fully clothed. Alcohol is present throughout with occasional cigarette smoking and two scenes of drug-taking. The main theme -- the evolution of a relationship -- covers topics including self-esteem, gender roles, and the expectations of romance.

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What's the story?

The troubled story of an intense relationship, PINK WALL focuses on six key moments in the lives of Jenna (Tatiana Maslaney) and Leon (Jay Duplass). Moving back and forth in time, after falling in love, and as their relationship evolves, the couple tackle the inevitable challenges of romance and love. Through a series of intimate scenes and candid conversations about childhood confessions, career aspirations, and feelings about sex and fidelity, Jenna and Leon struggle to navigate the fine line between love and hate.

Is it any good?

An honest, gritty insight into love and romance, this movie exposes the joys and pitfalls of relationships. The dialogue-driven narrative is so natural it could have been -- and probably was at least partly -- improvised. Intimate, sensual, and perceptive, Pink Wall touches on mental health, self-esteem issues, gender politics, and the often unrealistic expectations humans have of romantic love. Written and directed by Tom Cullen -- himself an actor, having been a regular in Downton Abbey -- this study in human interaction is at times compelling, at times annoying.

The two lead characters -- beautifully acted by Maslaney and Transparent's Duplass -- veer from charming and funny, and interesting and cool, to nightmarish and needy, and aggressive. As a viewer you feel the same love-hate relationship for them as they do for one another. Emotions run high throughout, not least during an anxiety-inducing dinner party that is basically just a series of arguments and offensive put-downs. Like the whole movie, it's powerful stuff -- and certainly thought-provoking -- but ultimately there's just not enough joy to balance out the angst.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how relationships are presented in Pink Wall. Is it important to show the negative sides of a romance as well as the positives? What character strengths do you think are most important to a successful relationship? How are relationships depicted in other movies? Why do we crave happy endings and how do we feel when we don't get one?

  • How is sex portrayed in the movie? Is it loving and respectful? What does it mean for the characters involved? Parents, talk to your teens about your own values regarding sex and relationships.

  • How is drinking, smoking, and drug use depicted in the movie? Are they glamorized? What are the consequences?

  • Discuss the strong language used. Does it seem necessary, or excessive? What does it contribute to the movie?

  • Jenna is the "main breadwinner" in the relationship. How does this compare to other portrayals of relationships on-screen? Why is it good to challenge gender stereotypes?

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love romantic dramas

Character Strengths

Find more movies that help kids build character.

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