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Parents' Guide to


By Tara McNamara, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 17+

Honest, mature coming-of-age romance dispels myths.

Movie R 2020 90 minutes
Premature Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

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

Community Reviews

age 17+

Based on 2 parent reviews

age 17+

First love presented realistically

A lovely film wrapped in realism. The dialogue feels fresh and real. I believe these are real arguments and even sex scenes (which seem to be in short supply these days) that build the narrative. Zora Howard is exceptionally talented. The film has complex characters that interlace their lives around each other in a way that hurts when they try to separate. Beautifully shot and rich score rounds out this tender story of first romantic love.
age 17+

First love, more realistically told than Hollywood offers up

Although this film is not shy about showing sex between the two main protagonists, this shouldn't necessarily ward parents away from letting their 17-year-olds from seeing this wonderfully-acted film. As a mother of two 17-year-olds, I know that without my knowledge at the time, they have seen films and even television shows with sexual scenes. What I like about this film is that it presents young girls with an unvarnished view of first love. It also presents the black main male character as the sensitive artist; a characterization you don't often see in cinema. Listening to the debate he has with his fellow black musicians about whether music should strive to be political or spiritual and universal was truly refreshing. The main character even argued that music should strive to be "divine." There's a lot of nuance in the presentation of relationships between the main character and her mother, her sister, her friends and her first love.

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say: (2 ):
Kids say: Not yet rated

Howard makes such an impression in her debut feature film that there's no doubt a star is born -- or stars, in this case, as the film is filled with up and coming talent. Howard's will be a new name to some, but she's already made her mark in New York: At age 13, she became the youngest poet to win the Urban Word NYC Grand Slam finals, had one of her poems made into a satirical documentary short that garnered acclaim, and soon after became the city's first youth poet laureate. She co-wrote Premature, and her poetry is beautifully woven into Ayanna's story. Like a true introvert, Ayanna is verbally expressive on paper, constantly writing in her notebooks. She keeps her doubts and worries to herself, but Howard is so visually expressive that viewers feel all of her emotions in ways that aren't always accurately revealed in movies.

That also speaks to how writer-director Rashaad Ernesto Green and Howard portray sex from the female point of view: While there are definitely moments when the earth shakes, Ayanna's raw reactions are far more authentic to real life than the typical Hollywood depictions of picture-perfect sighs and moans. The teasing, jealousy, annoyances, and we-must-be-together-at-all-times beats of a new romance contrast with the doubts and discoveries that emerge once the new phase starts to fade. Isaiah is the answer to toxic masculinity: He's a three-dimensional man who isn't perfect but advocates for men to exist, feel, and express themselves emotionally in an evolving world. The interactions among teens are so natural that it hardly feels like anyone is "acting," but rather that the cameras are just capturing the moment -- much like producer Darren Dean's previously acclaimed film, The Florida Project. Parents may not always be comfortable with the honest portrayals of love gained and lost, teen pregnancy and medicinal abortion, and friendships and family relationships familiar in their flaws, but Premature should be recognized for offsetting the Hollywood myths that so often create false expectations.

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