Singles

Movie review by
Renee Schonfeld, Common Sense Media
Singles Movie Poster Image
Classic '90s romcom with great soundtrack; sex, cursing.
  • PG-13
  • 1992
  • 99 minutes

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A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

Growing up is an ongoing process for young adults. Promotes thoughtful decision-making, staying true to one's ideals, and the value of good friends.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Featured players exhibit varying degrees of maturity, responsibility, commitment, and authenticity. Each of them makes progress as their stories evolve. Comic stereotype of wannabe rock star. No ethnic diversity.

Violence

A car accident in which injuries occur.

Sex

Sexuality and relationships form core of story. Scenes of kissing, sensual foreplay, undressing, partial nudity (female breasts), post-sex togetherness. Numerous conversations in which sex is the central topic: safe sex, condoms, breast implants, unexpected pregnancy, past sexual history. 

Language

Pointed sexual conversation: "penis," "vagina," "intercourse," "cum," "d--k." "Am I too small for you?" "No underwear; need to be touched." "Bone him." Some swearing: "ass," "Jesus," one use of "f--k."

Consumerism

Coca-Cola.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Social drinking (i.e., wine, beer); some drunkenness. A character smokes. No hard drugs.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Singles, a good-natured 1992 romantic comedy from Cameron Crowe, spotlights a group of 20-something single friends in Seattle. They're no longer kids. They haven't "settled in" yet. In fact, they're going through the pangs of maturation: out of school, trying to find their way in the work world, with their hearts in what hopefully will be lasting relationships. The movie is bursting with the now iconic musical sounds of 1992 Seattle (Alice in Chains, Pearl Jam, and more). Like the young people it depicts, the movie very much has sex on its mind. Expect frank language (e.g., "penis," "vagina," "intercourse"), candid questions and jokes ("Am I too small for you?"; a song title is "Touch Me, I'm Dick"), as well as scenes about "safe sex," breast implants, and an unexpected pregnancy. Characters kiss, embrace, undress, and engage in sexual foreplay. Partial nudity includes shots of bare, large female breasts. Scenes show social drinking (wine, beer), some drunkenness, and smoking. (Spoiler alert: A car accident injures a key player, who recovers.) Though this upbeat movie is very much a reflection of its time, the universality of emotions, hopes, and dreams and the relatability of its engaging characters keep it relevant and fun for older teens.

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What's the story?

It's 1992, and one picturesque apartment house in Seattle's eclectic Capitol Hill district is the setting for SINGLES. Most of the players live in that building. They're neighbors, they're friends, they're struggling with similar issues and similar obsessions. Notably, almost all of them are clearly hoping to find a relationship that matters. Steve Dunne (Campbell Scott) is driven to improve the Seattle traffic grid. Janet (Bridget Fonda) is in between college and graduate school. Cliff Poncier (Matt Dillon) is on a constant quest for recognition in the local rock community. Linda (Kyra Sedgewick) is an idealistic environmentalist; she doesn't live in the building, but becomes integral to the community as the story progresses. And so, the proverbial "dance" begins. Linda meets Steve; Janet wishes the Cliff she knows could be the Cliff she wants; and the rest of the building's residents and their friends hang on to their dreams and aspirations with all their might.  

Is it any good?

Romantic, funny, quirky, and infused with the iconic music of Seattle circa 1992, the film will still delight audiences hoping for a nostalgic look back or an almost-contemporary upbeat fairy tale. The acting is superb. Familiar characters take on a fresh glow when Cameron Crowe works his magic and creates an unmistakably relatable story that highlights both the apprehension and joy of being young, hopeful, and struggling all at the same time.

Singles was Crowe's follow-up to the now classic Say Anything. It preceded Jerry Maguire and Almost Famous; all four deserve their imminent standing among movies about becoming a grown-up in a fast-changing world. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the music in Singles. Writer-director Cameron Crowe is noted for his passion for music when telling his stories. How closely connected to the stories are the sounds of the 1992 Seattle music scene? How does the music enrich the premise and the relationships?

  • How does the movie treat sex? Is it casual? Meaningful? Loving? Did sexuality prove to be a bond in one or more of the stories? Which one(s) and how did it impact the relationship(s)?

  • Why was it important to reference "safe sex" in this movie from 1992? Do you think movies can assist in bringing social awareness to our culture?

  • What did Janet learn about her own worth over the course of the film? How did the filmmakers use the breast implants element of the film to affect and show her growing maturity? 

Movie details

Themes & Topics

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