Movie review by
Nell Minow, Common Sense Media
Sideways Movie Poster Image
Excellent but explicit movie is not for kids.
  • R
  • 2004
  • 123 minutes

Parents say

age 17+
Based on 9 reviews

Kids say

age 17+
Based on 1 review

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.


Comic violence, character injured.


Extremely explicit and graphic sexual references and situations.


Very strong language.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Constant drinking, smoking.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this movie is NOT for kids. It's filled with very mature material, including extremely explicit sexual references and situations (with nudity) and some violence. Characters drink (there is a distinction made between the appreciation of wine as a work of art and drinking to numb feelings or get drunk) and use very strong language.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byBestPicture1996 May 18, 2014

Wine, women and everything inbetween

Paul Giamatti and Thomas Haden Church have dynamic chemistry in Payne's road trip movie, a genre he and I both apparently have a soft spot for. This is oft... Continue reading
Parent of a 13-year-old Written byabrahm January 30, 2011


way too sexual for most children. Good movie though
Teen, 17 years old Written byAlexander Parker August 20, 2011

Thumbs Up

One of the best films of all time. Sideways is perfect in nearly every way giving a compelling dramatic story, with some comic relief. One of the best of the 00...

What's the story?

In SIDEWAYS, Miles (Paul Giamatti), a struggling writer, and his friend, Jack (Thomas Haden Church), a has-been actor, head to the Central Valley for Jack's his last bachelor getaway before his upcoming wedding to a woman who is young, beautiful, and wealthy. The plan is to eat great food, drink great wine, and enjoy great scenery. Miles wants Jack to appreciate the delicate beauty of the wine. But Jack has a different kind of beauty appreciation in mind. When he finds out that an accommodating wine pourer named Stephanie (Sandra Oh) is a friend of Maya's (Virginia Madsen), the waitress Miles has admired from afar, he invites them both to dinner. Jack tells the women they are celebrating Miles' (nonexistent) book contract. Later he tells Stephanie she may be the woman he could spend the rest of his life with. Miles is not sure which is more terrifying -- watching Jack mess up his marriage plans by getting involved with Stephanie or letting himself take the risk of trying to start a relationship with the newly-divorced Maya -- who thinks she is talking to a man whose book is about to be published.

Is it any good?

In one of the loveliest moments on screen this year, Miles and Maya tell each other what they like about wine. Miles' favorite, pinot noir, is, he says "a hard grape to grow...thin-skinned, temperamental, ripens early...Only when someone has taken the time to truly understand its potential can Pinot be coaxed into its fullest expression. And when that happens, its flavors are the most brilliant and subtle and thrilling and ancient on the planet." Maya says she loves the way that wine is a living thing, "constantly evolving and gaining complexity" toward its prime until it reaches its peak. They both know -- as viewers do -- that they are talking about themselves.

Giamatti and Church are magnificent, fully inhabiting beautifully written roles. They are not afraid to let viewers see the considerable flaws of both Miles and Jack, but they are also able to show us their humanity, their connection, and their appeal. Oh and Madsen may have the even tougher challenge, as the female characters are more superficially conceived, fantasy figures whose primary function is to desire and be desired by the men. It is even more impressive, then, that they are able to make Stephanie and Maya so touching and so complete.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about what mattered most to Miles and Jack. Despite their differences, what kept them together as friends? What does Stephanie see in Jack? What does Maya see in Miles?

Movie details

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