A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Very manipulative seduction scene; a married woman kisses her husband's friend; a married man appears to be having an affair (or is at least considering it); Stephanie gives birth in a bathroom and later discusses what she did with the baby.
Violence & Scariness
Stephanie gives birth in a bathroom stall, and the frightening experience marches across her face. Blood coats her fingers and clothes. Lydie crashes into a deer.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
No out-and-out nudity, but a teen boy skillfully persuades Stephanie into having sex -- an act that ends in a discomfortingly aloof manner. Some kissing and petting.
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Some uses of "s--t," along with the occasional "f--k."
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Underage drinking and occasional marijuana use. Some discussion of drinking scotch, and pregnant Lydie holds a glass of wine and talks about missing drinking.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this affecting indie drama tackles the subject of teen pregnancy with frankness and near-complete honesty, which may make it overwhelming for teens, since nothing is sugar-coated. Nevertheless, it does so with an admirable lack of judgment, instead presenting the story with its sometimes-overwhelming complexity and sadness intact. It's a heavy movie, one that may bring on more questions than answers, and disturbing questions at that. There's some swearing, drinking, and sexuality, but the sobering subject matter is the big issue here. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
Swinton tackles her role with a very effective light touch, giving it that much more heft. But it's Tamblyn who impresses. A TV actress who's made the occasional foray into film, she infuses a difficult, potentially alienating role with heartbreaking grace. In the hands of someone less skilled, Stephanie could have been a screeching cautionary tale. But here, she's at once abominable and humane, both guilty and innocent. When an older boy manipulates her into having sex and she later gives birth to the baby produced by that shockingly cold act, her anguish is tangible. And profoundly moving.
In STEPHANIE DALEY, Brougher has fashioned an intelligent movie that easily could have been mined simply for its shock value. She's refreshingly unafraid of ambiguity. But the film's potency is diluted by one too many portentous moments: the depressingly dark rooms, the dripping blood (not just from the birth scene), a classroom discussion of The Scarlet Letter, a deer caught literally in the headlights. Also, her superficial attempts to examine the role religion plays in the tragedy confuse rather than enhance the film. Still, a movie that tackles a lightning-rod subject without judgment and with deep compassion is a rarity to be savored.
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Our Editors Recommend
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