Parents' Guide to

Small Town Wisconsin

By Tara McNamara, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 14+

Poignant road-trip dramedy addresses alcoholism; profanity.

Movie NR 2022 110 minutes
Small Town Wisconsin Movie Poster

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Is It Any Good?

Our review:
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Kids say: Not yet rated

Light but sad, this father-son adventure dramedy will break your heart. Phenomenally acted by Sullivan, Wayne Stobierski is a charismatic underdog. He's well-liked but self-centered and probably knows he has an alcohol dependency, but he isn't yet willing to acknowledge the negative impact it's having on his life. He's a conscientious, loving dad to cuddle bug Tyler (be ready for Friedman to become your favorite child actor), but Wayne's shortcomings are strong. The film will definitely prompt you to consider what makes someone a "good" father.

Deidra is moving to Arizona for opportunity -- too far for broke Wayne to visit often. But it's worth noting that director Niels Mueller doesn't portray Deidra or her new husband negatively: The only villain here is Wayne's drinking problem. The issue with the film is that we're seeing Wayne from Wayne's point of view, which is problematic because he's a narcissist. During a custody hearing, the judge says that Wayne has anger management issues, but only the look on Deidra's face validates this statement. Wayne is a hot mess, and yet there's a good chance that children or spouses of those who've struggled with alcohol may feel that the film paints too pretty a picture. Tyler seems to be unfazed by his father's drinking, although the script gives us indications that Tyler is frequently in unsafe situations. Bottom line? Just like Wayne, Small Town Wisconsin has flaws, but the poignancy of the story will stick with you for a long time.

Movie Details

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