A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this romantic indie drama about young, tragic love may well appeal to teens, though it deals candidly and often sadly with illness and death -- which can make it feel heavy and a bit intense at times. There's some swearing (including "s--t"), war imagery/discussion, and kissing/cuddling. It's implied that the two main characters have sex, though nothing graphic is shown, and their relationship is very sweet overall.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
Enoch (Henry Hopper) has two unusual hobbies: Talking to the ghost of a World War II kamikaze pilot, Hiroshi (Ryo Kase), and attending strangers' funerals. It's the way he copes after his parents' sudden deaths. His Aunt Mabel (Jane Adams) is raising him, though Enoch barely spends time with her. At a memorial, he spots Annabel (Mia Wasikowska), a warm-hearted woman who's smitten with Charles Darwin and nature and with whom he's quickly smitten. But he soon learns her story, and it's a distressing one: She's terminally ill and must prepare to die. Can she be ready? Can he?
Is it any good?
Hopper is a guy to watch; the son of celebrated actor Dennis Hopper, he accesses a wellspring of complicated emotions here with a tilt of the head, a quirk of the eyebrow. Perhaps he knew he had to up his game with a co-star like Wasikowska, who flings herself into a sometimes overcooked character whose charm is pushed to twee-ness and saves it -- but only just.
Thanks to these two, the emotions behind the movie feel true and relatable. Were it not for a screenplay that's a little too on-the-nose -- Hirsohi's lines, especially -- and the somewhat heavy-handed soundtrack, RESTLESS would be a stronger movie. (Also, the film could have used some grit to ground it in reality.) But alas, it can’t quite rise above its limitations.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how the film handles its subject matter. Is it too frank about death? Does it exploit the topic?
In the movie, two young people fall in love despite many challenges and appear to have sex. Does the film portray this experience realistically? Parents, talk to your teens about your own values relating to sex and relationships.
- In theaters: September 16, 2011
- On DVD or streaming: January 24, 2012
- Cast: Henry Hopper, Mia Wasikowska, Ryo Kase
- Director: Gus Van Sant
- Studio: Sony Pictures Classics
- Genre: Drama
- Run time: 91 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG-13
- MPAA explanation: thematic elements and brief sensuality
- Last updated: September 21, 2019
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