Stuck in Love
What parents need to know
Positive role models
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
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.
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?
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.
The movie's deep, multi-faceted characters result in terrific performances by the entire cast, and this is clearly Boone's strength. His 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.
Families can talk about...
- Why is Samantha so interested in sex without love? Parents, talk to your teens about your own values regarding sex and relationships.
- 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?
- Does Stuck in Love make you want to become a writer? What are the struggles versus the rewards?