Stuck in Love

Movie review by
Jeffrey M. Anderson, Common Sense Media
Stuck in Love Movie Poster Image
Thoughtful family drama has some teen drinking/drug use.
  • R
  • 2013
  • 97 minutes

Parents say

age 16+
Based on 1 review

Kids say

age 14+
Based on 9 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages
A rather complex message about opening your heart; i.e., it helps to open it a lot if you want to be a great writer, but it can also hurt a great deal. Characters in the movie are all searching for their own identities, artistic and otherwise, while still hanging onto family relationships and exploring romantic ones. There's also a small anti-drug message in the form of one of the minor characters.
Positive Role Models & Representations
Three of the main characters are writers, and their trials and successes may encourage or inspire teens with a yen for writing. Overall the characters are fairly complex, and they often fail to do the right thing while struggling with their identities, lives, and loves.
Violence
A couple of quick, mild fistfights. A teen punches a bully; later, the bully punches him back. The result isn't much more than bloody noses. In another scene, an adut assaults a teen boy by violently grabbing his nose, forcing him down, and then kicking him. (Although in the context of the scene, it could be argued that the boy deserved this; the man is trying to save the life of another teen.) Some arguing.
Sex
All three of the main characters are sexually active. The father pines for his ex-wife while occasionally sleeping with a married neighbor; their lovemaking is shown and heard, but no nudity is seen. A teen girl is said to be promiscuous, though her sex acts are never shown. A teen boy finds a girlfriend, and she seduces him in a closet -- though, again, nothing is actually shown.
Language
Language is fairly strong, though not constant; words heard include "f--k," "s--t," "goddamn," "a--hole," "p---y," and "bitch."
Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
A teen supporting character is shown to be a drug addict and a cocaine user. Viewers see her snorting cocaine in a bathroom at a party; she checks into rehab by the movie's end. A teen boy smokes pot fairly regularly and comes home drunk several times; his character is seen as "blowing off steam" rather than being an addict. Other characters are seen drinking wine at dinner or other drinks in bars. An adult character smokes cigarettes.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Stuck in Love is a drama filled with complex, flawed characters and interesting relationships. Though it features older teens as characters, the material is pretty edgy; a supporting teen character is shown to be a drug addict and a cocaine user, and the main characters drink and smoke pot regularly. The three main characters are also sexually active, though only the adult is shown having sex (no nudity). Language is strong, too, with several uses of "f--k," "s--t," and other words. Violence includes three brief fistfights that result in bloody noses. Even though it goes a bit over the top at one point, ultimately this is an unusually intuitive movie about writers, so teens interested in writing as a profession may be interested.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written bywonder dove November 30, 2013

Decent drama for the older crowd!

I believe this movie was almost called "Writers" but then changed to Stuck in Love. It was fairly good, with a few turn-offs, a few cliches. I thought... Continue reading
Kid, 11 years old September 24, 2013
Teen, 15 years old Written byRragan00 February 4, 2014

Great movie, but adult content

I thought this movie was very good, but you have to be old enough to realize that these characters are flawed. There's quite a bit of kinky stuff (LOTS of... Continue reading

What's the story?

Divorced father William Borgens (Greg Kinnear) is an acclaimed writer who pines for his ex-wife (Jennifer Connelly) and sleeps with a married neighbor (Kristen Bell). Rather than writing anything new, William spends time coaching his teen son, Rusty (Nat Wolff), and 19 year-old daughter, Samantha (Lily Collins), in their writing careers. Samantha believes in sleeping around and not falling in love, and this attitude shows in her soon-to-be-published book, while Rusty is more sensitive and looking for true love. Luckily, the object of his affections, Kate (Liana Liberato), notices him when he writes a poem about her, and nice guy Lou (Logan Lerman) manages to catch Samantha. But love has a way of making things even more complicated.

Is it any good?

The movie's deep, multi-faceted characters result in terrific performances by the entire cast. Many movies about writers wind up taking a passive approach as the writer character sits back, observes, and records life as it happens around him or her. Writer/director Josh Boone has solved this dilemma with his complex, emotional portrait of family of writers. STUCK IN LOVE isn't really about the act of writing itself but rather the struggle with how much a writer needs to open up his or her heart to the world. The characters show varying degrees of this struggle, as well as the pain that can be associated with all of them. This is obviously Boone's strength.
 
Boone's visual style, too, is mainly in service of the characters, without any fancy flourishes. Where the movie steps wrong is in the subplot about a teen drug addict. Those scenes collapse into melodrama, shattering the movie's spell. But Stuck in Love quickly rights itself into a satisfying full circle.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how Stuck in Love depicts drinking, smoking, and drugs. Are there realistic/believable consequences? Does the movie make them look appealing or repulsive?
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  • Why is Samantha so interested in sex without love? Parents, talk to your teens about your own values regarding sex and relationships.
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  • How much have these characters opened up to life? To what degree were they hurt? Does this movie make you want to be closed off and protected, like Samantha or hopeful like Rusty?
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  • Does Stuck in Love make you want to become a writer? What are the struggles versus the rewards?
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Movie details

For kids who love dramas

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