A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Long-term relationships like marriage take a lot of work, and sometimes go off in unexpected directions. Sticking out through the tough times requires open and honest communication, commitment, and support from friends and family.
Positive Role Models
Rachel and Richard are a committed couple struggling to keep their marriage and lives intact when they're unable to have a child. They generously take in their college-student niece when she starts to flounder, and they are willing to do whatever it takes to achieve their dream of parenthood. But some of what it takes is gaming the system, and many times they're (understandably) overwhelmed when each new phase in fertility treatment or adoption proceedings just throws another roadblock in the way. Niece Sadie wants to be a writer but isn't very academically driven. She generously offers to be an egg donor, both because she really wants to help her favorite aunt and uncle, but also because she doesn't really have much else to do at the moment.
Sex, Romance & Nudity
In the context of providing a sperm sample, a man watches a porno movie. No sensitive body parts are shown but the man and woman are clearly fully nude; the man is seen thrusting behind the woman, who's bent over, while he holds her breasts, and sounds of grunting, moaning, and "dirty talk" are heard. A woman's bare buttocks are visible while she's cleaning house wearing only a shirt. A couple kiss in bed wearing pajamas or underwear. Several shots of women undergoing fertility treatment, from behind their heads and with their legs in stirrups; a speculum is seen once. Lots of frank talk about sex and reproduction mentioning cunnilingus, fellatio, "choking on c--k," and a woman takes out a vibrator as a prelude to sex. The short story "Innocence" by Harold Brodkey is discussed, which is sexually very explicit and easy to find online. A young woman's thong underwear is visible above drooping jeans and she apologizes for "whale tailing." A couple on a date kiss. "Dildo" mentioned.
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"F--k," "c--k," "whore," "s--t," "p---y," "a--hole," and "tw-t." The middle-finger gesture.
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Products & Purchases
Applebee's used as a meeting place.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Adults occasionally have wine or beer with meals, usually holidays or parties. Hormone injections for fertility treatment shown in the abdomen and buttocks. Some references to medications and one scene showing the many pills and vitamins Rachel takes for fertility treatments. Getting anesthesia for a medical procedure and taking a Valium before a medical procedure mentioned. A woman is hospitalized when she takes more of a fertility drug than she was prescribed.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Private Life is a mature dramedy about a couple's struggle to have a child. Expect many explicit references to sex, including a brief clip and sound effects from a porno movie. Adults talk frankly about lots of different aspects of sex, sexuality, and reproduction, including the technical terms for oral sex, "dirty talk" in the porno clip, and vulgar terms for body parts like "c--k," "p---y," and "tw-t." Other strong language includes "f--k," "s--t," and "ass." There's also drinking and lots of references to fertility drugs. Teens might be interested in the mature sexuality and an important character who's in college, but the story mainly focuses on the relationship between a married couple in their mid-40s. Kathryn Hahn and Paul Giamatti co-star. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
Somewhere in this uneven two-hour movie is a better, 90-minute one waiting to get out. Private Life has a strong cast and a compelling story, but director Tamara Jenkins spends too much time on people and places that don't move the story along or tell us what we need to know about the characters. At its heart are some genuine laughs, emotional tension, and drama, but it's diluted by too much in-between stuff that doesn't really help. And the ending doesn't really satisfy, as there's no emotional payoff, just a sense that things are going to continue on as they have been for a long time.
The mature, explicit sexual content and appealing young co-star may attract teen interest, but it's not for them. Not only because of the strong content but because the movie's main focus is on the struggles of a couple in their 40s who are trying to keep their relationship together while they're on an emotionally and physically exhausting journey to parenthood.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.