A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Strange Weather is a drama about a middle-aged woman (Holly Hunter) who's trying to come to terms with her teen son's suicide. The suicide isn't shown, but details are discussed, and viewers see the gun he used and the clothes he wore (in a police pouch). Another character brandishes the same gun, pointing it at another person and at herself. There's mention of a "nasty drunk" beating a woman. The main character smokes cigarettes and drinks socially, getting drunk with friends in one scene. Other characters appear to be drug users and are shown high on pot and cocaine. Drugs and drug dealers are mentioned. There's a graphic sex scene with thrusting and moaning; nudity is limited to a woman's bottom. Language isn't frequent but includes "s--t" and "a--hole."
What's the story?
In STRANGE WEATHER, Darcy Baylor (Holly Hunter) works as a college administrator in Georgia and thinks about getting her degree but can never seem to fill out the application. She never really stops thinking about her teen son, who committed suicide years before. Darcy drifts through the extremely hot, drought-filled days, occasionally seeing Clayton (Kim Coates) and hanging out with her best friend, Byrd (Carrie Coon). When she learns that an old friend of her son's stole his business plan for a hot dog restaurant chain, Darcy grabs Byrd and hits the road to confront the thief and find out what he has to say for himself. But what does Darcy hope to gain from the meeting?
Is it any good?
This slight drama doesn't have very much to it, but any movie about a middle-aged woman is a welcome rarity, and in it, Hunter proves she can still bring life and spirit to any kind of material. Written and directed by Katherine Dieckmann, Strange Weather spends a great deal of time watching the characters sitting around in the Georgia heat and talking, talking, talking. (At least the second half includes a little driving.)
But thanks to deep characterizations and Hunter leading the way, when we hear all those conversations, it almost sounds as if we've dropped in on the neighbors. Characters talk about people they all know, regardless of whether we've ever even heard of them, and though it's somewhat frustrating, it feels real. None of this would work without the spunky firecracker Hunter, who, in her celebrated career, has always demonstrated the ability to make her characters breathe, think, and actually exist between lines of dialogue.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about Strange Weather's violence. How is the suicide handled? Is it graphic/shocking, sad, or both?
When is it important to talk about mental health, especially if you're worried about a friend or family member? What resources are available to help both kids and adults?
How does the movie depict sex? Is it graphic? Gratuitous? Parents, talk to your kids about your own values regarding sex and relationships.
Is it unusual for a movie to center on a middle-aged female character? If so, why do you think that is?
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