Parents' Guide to

Stella's Last Weekend

By Jeffrey Anderson, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 15+

Strong language in touching dramedy about family, dog.

Movie NR 2018 102 minutes
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This effective indie dramedy unravels a bit in the end as it eagerly attempts to wrap up each and every one of its conflicts, but before then it's a rowdy, touching, keenly observed slice of life. Written and directed by Draper, who also plays mom Sally (and is the real-life mother to Nat and Alex Wolff), Stella's Last Weekend doesn't shy away from complicated parent-teen relationships -- or, in fact, relationships of many kinds.

Oliver stands out as a sometimes rude, sometimes funny extrovert who claims that he has his mom "working for me." He shakes things up with his completely uncensored comments while wearing his emotions on his sleeve (Alex Wolff was also quite powerful in Hereditary). The other characters are perfectly matched to him; Sally laughs at his comments and gives in to his demands, while Ron can only be exasperated and ineffective. Jack, the quietest character, is the movie's entry point. Violet can seem a little flighty, a little fickle. Draper's visualization is assured and unflashy, with subtle moments like characters gazing at each other through the windows of an arcade claw machine. Many scenes, especially those involving the aging, motherly love bug Stella, will make viewers reach for the tissues. It's too bad it ends like a series of check boxes, but Stella's Last Weekend is still well worth seeing.

Movie Details

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