Parents' Guide to

Saint Frances

By Tara McNamara, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 15+

Edgy feminist drama removes judgment from sex, abortion.

Movie NR 2020 106 minutes
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This film festival award winner feels less like a movie than a Woke Checklist for Millennials. Abortion, breastfeeding in public, geriatric pregnancy, same-sex interracial marriage, queer parenting, postpartum depression, conflict resolution, and men who write in "emotions journals": It's the cinematic equivalent of a Prius with a Co-Exist bumper sticker in a Whole Foods parking lot. While Saint Frances has some admirable goals -- i.e., trying to remove negative attitudes about the way nature affects women's bodies -- it pushes its agenda as if daring viewers to show any discomfort.

It all might go down a bit easier if Bridget was a tad more likable -- flawed is one thing, abrasively blah is another. It's always tough to care about a character who doesn't care about herself and is careless with others. As we all do, Bridget grows through the influence of the well-drawn characters around her: precocious Frances (newcomer Williams is surely some kind of acting savant), overwhelmed mother Maya (Charin Alvarez), and supportively sweet Jace. He's a remarkable flip on how men are "expected" to behave: He's not only not grossed out when Bridget's period starts during sex, but he contributes to the cleanup and he stays with her through the day she has the abortion, experiencing it with her as much as possible. On the other hand, some of the movie's details seem, as the kids say, a bit "extra": self-righteous white women, protest yard signs, and "no sugar" directives. Accompanied by an acoustic guitar score that might go on to a future life as "hold" music, Saint Frances is like a modern-day adult version of what Gen X knew as "Free to Be You and Me."

Movie Details

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