A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
The lead character, a successful fashion designer living in New York City, learns to see the good in her rural Alabama hometown. An excess of "Southern" cliches and stock Southern behavior, but the movie does challenge regional stereotyping of place and character. When the main character outs her friend in front of everyone in hometown bar while extremely drunk, his peers offer positive models of acceptance.
Positive Role Models
Melanie chose "wings" over "roots" by pursuing her dream as a fashion designer in New York City, and she finds a way to remain true to herself while becoming proud of where she came from.
Violence & Scariness
Lead character knocks down another character with one punch.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Sexual references. Reference to teen pregnancy.
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Profanity regularly used. "Bulls--t," "s--t," "d--k," "bitch," "piss," "bastard," "t-t," "damn," "Jesus," "for Christ's sake."
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Products & Purchases
Cans of Budweiser clearly shown, references to Southern grocery stores like Piggly Wiggly and Winn-Dixie. Tiffany prominently featured in engagement scene.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Bar scene in which characters drink beer and shots. Lead character gets extremely drunk, acts belligerent, vomits, passes out. Martini drinking, champagne drinking.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Sweet Home Alabama stars Reese Witherspoon as Melanie, a New York City fashion designer who returns to her rural Alabama town. Unlike so many movies in which Southerners are portrayed as little more than punchlines or bullying bigots, even the minor characters here have some depth and rise above typical stereotypes, even if the movie sometimes comes off as trying a little too hard to prove its Dixieness. Also encouraging: When a closeted gay man is outed in public, his friends offer positive models of acceptance. On the iffier side, you can expect occasional profanity, including "s--t," "d--k," "bitch," "piss," "bastard," and "t-t." There are references to teen pregnancy, and Melanie gets drunk at a bar: She acts belligerent, vomits, and passes out. Drinking, vandalism, and minor crimes are portrayed as evidence of a free spirit. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
Witherspoon has the charm, sparkle, and impeccable comic timing to keep an entire movie afloat and make it look effortless. It takes every bit of her talent and all-around adorability to keep this romantic comedy aloft, considering the considerable weight of its uncertain script. Without her, even the enticing premise and an exceptionally able supporting cast would sink under the weight of a plot that somehow manages to be both predictable and disjointed. The movie spends too much time reuniting Melanie with people from her past. It also spends much too much time introducing us to all kinds of adorable cracker stereotypes, and on a tired plot twist about Melanie's exaggeration of her family's social standing.
A terrific soundtrack helps, with a cover of the irresistible title tune and delicious songs by country greats. Lucas and Dempsey are both dreamy enough that even movie-savvy viewers may find it hard to pick the winner.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.