A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Themes of loving family members despite their flaws and getting a second chance at love.
Positive Role Models
Both title characters are adults who are taking care of their aging parents; they treat them with kindness, empathy, and compassion, despite each parent's frustrating behaviors.
All main characters are White (some are Jewish), though there's a close interracial friendship. A man is shown to be vulnerable, sweet, caring. Female business owner. Romance between senior citizens. One character is dealing with a mental behavior disorder and gets support.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Plot is about two developing romances, and there's kissing, hand-holding, and dancing. Sex is implied by seeing a couple in bed together after the fact, as well as a verbal reference. Sexual euphemisms expressed with harshness between characters.
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Strong language includes "a--holes," "damn," "dumbass," "hell," "s--t," "f--k." Sexual slang, used to shame a man. Also "jerk," "idiot," "schmuck."
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Products & Purchases
A can of Budweiser is shown with half of the label visible.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
All of the characters smoke, whether it be cigars, pot, or cigarettes. Marijuana is shown in an overwhelmingly positive light, with 2/3 of the characters smoking it and talking about or visually demonstrating the benefits. Characters drink wine and beer, including at a bar.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Sam & Kate is a dramedy starring father-son pair Dustin and Jake Hoffman and mother-daughter duo Sissy Spacek and Schuyler Fisk. The storyline follows two adult children who are taking care of their aging parents, with both the older characters and the younger ones pursuing romances. Expect flirting, dating, kissing, and implied sex (characters are shown in bed together after the fact). All of the characters smoke, whether it's cigars, pot, or cigarettes. The pot use in particular is presented very positively. Counter-stereotypical portrayals include a man who's sensitive, caring, and emotional. The film also offers a compassionate look at a mental behavior disorder. And it addresses loss, including the loss of a child. There's some swearing and insult language ("a--holes," "f--k," etc.), as well as sexual slang. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
On its face, this is a sweet romance about a couple of 40ish adults trying to live their lives while managing difficult parents who are getting toward the end of theirs. But on another level, Sam & Kate feels like it has an agenda of promoting cannabis use among adults. One of viewers' first glimpses into the life of Sam, a fantastic character brought to life with gentle complexity by Jake Hoffman, is him schlepping through his menial job in a chocolate factory. We don't know much about his life prior to this, just that he was an artist who put his professional aspirations on hold to come back to his small hometown to care for his aging father. On break, he and his musician friend, Ron (Henry Thomas), smoke pot. His dad reprimands him for his pot use and, later, the fact that he's high does have a consequence -- but it's not emphasized. What is glowingly highlighted is two older women talking secretively about how marijuana offers benefits. And when one of them tries it, the sky parts and sunshine lights her face -- just a few puffs, and it seems she's healed of all that ails her.
Whether or not extolling pot use was writer-director Darren Le Gallo's intent is beside the point: Sam & Kate isn't really for kids. The storyline may make it a fine choice for adult children to watch with their parents or grandparents, but there's not much here to entertain teens. Adults may be tickled by seeing Dustin and Jake Hoffman playing father and son, and Spacek and Fisk playing mother and daughter. Those relationships, not to mention the actors' physical similarities, create a wonderful familiarity and authenticity. What's even more fun is that while, yes, of course, the Academy Award-winning actors give fantastic performances, their 40-year-old progeny are the ones you can't keep your eyes off of. Jake Hoffman and Fisk are both working actors, but Le Gallo really gives them their moment to shine here -- and they run with it. When they smile, it reaches into your soul and leaves you wanting to see more from these two talents.
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.