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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
A character is given a complex moral conundrum; she tries to figure out how to do the right thing and finds herself rewarded in ways she never could have imagined.
Positive Role Models
Though the main character is a good soul who tries to do the right thing and befriends and helps an old lady, she also works in the porn industry, lives with a drug dealer, and smokes pot. She's complex and can't easily be called a role model.
Violence & Scariness
Characters have intense arguments, and, in one scene, a character gets upset and starts knocking objects over, but no one comes to blows.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
The main character and some of the secondary characters work in the porn industry. Viewers see a graphic scene of filming, with sex and nudity, both male and female. There are also several scenes of strong innuendo and many other references to the sex business. Two actual porn stars, Asa Akira and Manuel Ferrara, appear in the movie.
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Strong language includes many uses of "f--k," "s--t," and other explicit words.
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
One of the secondary characters is a drug dealer. Several characters -- in their 20s -- smoke pot during the course of the movie.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Starlet is an indie drama about a young woman who, after accidental good fortune, befriends an elderly lady. Despite the character's good intentions and a generally positive message of being rewarded for doing the right thing, the movie is set in and around the porn industry, and there are graphic sex scenes, nudity, and strong innuendo, as well as actual porn stars in the cast. Plus, one secondary character is a drug dealer, and many of the main characters smoke pot at some point. Language is also strong, including "f--k," and there's strong arguing. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
At first glance, it appears as though STARLET is going to use the frustrating old "lie" plot, wherein an untruth brings characters together and creates conflict. But director and co-writer Sean Baker sidesteps this with subtle shadings. The money is an accident, not a theft, and the focus eventually shifts away from it. Instead, Baker spends energy making Jane and Sadie's unlikely friendship plausible. The strong performances by Hemingway and 86-year-old newcomer Johnson help.
Starlet moves at its own pace, using dreamy, sunny lighting and almost random cutting, as if to prolong the days. (Starlet the dog even appears to be asleep in most of the scenes.) None of these characters works long hours or have anyplace special to be. Even the movie's porn aspect is downplayed. As graphic as it is, it hardly affects the movie's tone. All of this makes for fertile ground in which to ponder Starlet's moral repercussions and its honesty.
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.