Terri

 
(i)

 

Underdog teen drama has strong sexual content, drinking.
  • Review Date: July 1, 2011
  • Rated: R
  • Genre: Drama
  • Release Year: 2011
  • Running Time: 105 minutes

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Over the course of the movie, several severely outcast characters slowly begin to come together to form a kind of surrogate family. This inclusiveness comes without question or terms; each and every person is welcome without having to change or give up anything.

Positive role models

Though Terri doesn't change much over the course of the movie, his persistent kindness and intelligence eventually begin to work for him as he gains a new group of friends. School principal Mr. Fitzgerald is a very good, if slightly comic role model, showing strong empathy toward the kids who need it the most.

Violence

A boy bullies a girl into a sexual situation (he touches her under a desk at school). Terri kills several mice with mousetraps and brings their little corpses into the woods to feed the birds. There are some disagreements and arguments, but no physical contact. A minor character dies (off screen), and the other characters attend her funeral.

Sex

Teens frankly discuss various sexual acts. A teen boy sexually touches a teen girl in class, under a desk. No nudity, but the action is clear, and viewers see the girl closing her eyes and enjoying it -- despite the fact that the boy seems to have forced her into this position. Later, the same boy celebrates his "victory" by smelling his fingers. A teen boy and girl remove their clothes (no sensitive body parts shown) but wind up not touching each other.

Language

Fairly infrequent use of words including "f--k," "s--t," "c--k," "t-ts," and "p---y," as well as "ass," "butthole," "balls," "damn," "breast," and "God" (as an exclamation).

Consumerism
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

In one scene, teens drink whiskey and take prescription pills belonging to the main character's uncle. They begin to act silly and sleepy (and a little touchy-feely), and then they all pass out on the floor. The uncle has an unnamed condition that seems to make him disoriented, and he takes the pills throughout. In another scene, an adult wakes up with a hangover, but he hadn't been seen drinking.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that while this indie coming-of-age drama about an obese 15-year-old boy is sometimes disturbing, it's ultimately thought provoking and good-hearted. That said, there's plenty of strong stuff here, particularly a scene in which a teen boy sexually touches a teen girl under a desk in class after bullying her into the situation. No details are shown, but the act is unmistakable. There's also a scene in which three teens take prescription pills and drink whiskey. Language is infrequent but strong, with uses of "f--k," "s--t," "c--k," "t-ts," and "p---y." And animal lovers should beware: There are several dead mice on view, plus a shot of a bird eating one of them. For older teens who can handle this intense content, the movie offers a worthwhile message: The main character manages to find friends on his own terms, without having to force himself to fit in -- a powerful example for teens who don't feel part of the mainstream themselves.

What's the story?

Overweight teen Terri (Jacob Wysocki of TV's Huge) lives alone with his sick uncle (Creed Bratton). Wearing pajamas to school every day, Terri accepts his position as an outcast. But things begin to change when the cheerful principal (John C. Reilly) calls Terri into his office and sets up a weekly "check-in" meeting. After a few hurdles, Terri begins to trust and look up to the principal. During this time, he also meets a fellow outcast, troublemaker Chad (Bridger Zadina). He even manages to befriend pretty Heather (Olivia Crocicchia) after an unfortunate classroom incident brands her a pariah. But will ever-unpredictable Chad throw a monkey wrench into Terri's life?

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

The son of legendary New York experimental filmmaker Ken Jacobs (Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son), TERRI director Azazel Jacobs arrived on the movie scene in 2008. His first film, Momma's Man, was an exercise in the cinema of discomfort, but at the same time had a traditionally goopy Hollywood wrap-up. Terri treads the same path, but, lo and behold, after a while, these characters begin to show some integrity; they spring to life and find a truthful emotional connection.

A great deal rides on Wysocki's intuitive performance; he has a remarkable combination of strength, gentleness, and honesty that belies his sad-sack appearance. When one girl flirts with him and calls him a teddy bear, we can believe it. Likewise, comic character actor Reilly turns in a slightly deeper, more touching version of his usual positive-thinking goofball. This band of strong, fascinating characters overcomes the otherwise awkward combination of script elements.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about how the movie handles sex. How are sexual relationships between teens portrayed? What message does the in-class encounter between Heather and the boy send?

  • How does the movie depict teen drinking? Why does Chad bring alcohol to Terri's house, and why do Terri and Heather decide to drink?

  • Is the principal a positive role model? Can someone be flawed and still be a good role model?

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Movie details

Theatrical release date:July 1, 2011
DVD release date:October 11, 2011
Cast:Jacob Wysocki, John C. Reilly, Olivia Crocicchia
Director:Azazel Jacobs
Studio:ATO Pictures
Genre:Drama
Run time:105 minutes
MPAA rating:R
MPAA explanation:sexual content, language and some drug and alcohol use - all involving teens

This review of Terri was written by

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Quality

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Parent Written bySueSmith July 30, 2011
 

A great movie!

"Terri" is a wonderful movie about how teenagers handle growing up and discovering who they are. It's not a Hollywood version of high school and this is a very good thing. Being a teenager is rough for just about everyone and knowing that you aren't alone in your insecurities and confusion is a great message for teenagers of any age.
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Teen, 15 years old Written byjenjay August 12, 2012
 

No violence but not happy or chidish either..

I might be 15 but actually i watched this on the plane without realising it was R rated ..... oh well. But although i'm quite innosent i didnt find it that disturbing. I agree there are drug and sex scenes but they are brief and non revealing and there is no violence at all. There is nothing light-hearted or childish abouth the film either. The movie has a overall sad aspect to it, with it's disturbed characters, and their sick actions and thoughts. The plot is mainly about these screwed up outcasts, one fat, one wild and volatile, and one damaged girl who all become friends. Apart from that and a few adversitys nothing much happens. But the way each character endures their own journey is subtle and moving. It is a really good movie if you appreciate the subtle and full meaning of it, and thats why I think it was made for older audiences.
What other families should know
Great messages
Too much sex
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Parent Written byJohn Cowan August 15, 2011
 

A wonderful indie movie

"Terri" is the real thing, and conveys exactly what it's like to be lowest-ranking male in a primate group. The mention of "animal lovers" above obviously is meant for people who prefer mice to birds!
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models

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