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Parents' Guide to

The Art of Getting By

By S. Jhoanna Robledo, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 15+

Inconsistent coming-of-age film includes teen drinking.

Movie PG-13 2011 84 minutes
The Art of Getting By Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 15+

Based on 5 parent reviews

age 17+

Not worth the time.

I thought that it was inappropriate that these highschoolers were drinking alcholic beverages in a restaurant and a bar. The fact that it was not addressed in the film that they must have had fake id cards, was confusing. I kept thinking, these kids are 18 aren't they? Or am I missing something???? It made it seem like it was o.k. for kids to be underage drinking. It's one thing for kids to be at a party, where kids might "get away with it" but drinking in the restaurant, and a parent also giving George the Bloody Mary in the morning to "cure" a hangover, sends mixed messages as well.

This title has:

Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
age 14+


Hmm, this film wasn't too bad - definitely watchable, but not very exciting. Seemed emotionless, I didn't care too much for the characters, the story was pretty dull and lifeless most of the time. I guess it had me wanting more and didn't deliver. Freddie Highmore is usually an excellent actor but I found him to be a little boring in this - if you or your kids haven't seen August Rush...I highly recommend it over this one. Okay for teens 14 and up I think.

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (5 ):
Kids say (3 ):

There are so many jarring things about THE ART OF GETTING BY. Seeing Alicia Silverstone playing a frumpy teacher, for one, instead of the confused teen girl the lead is attracted to, and having the talented Blair Underwood reduced to a stereotype of a principal giving tough-love speeches. Every other back story here, for that matter, feels perfunctory and trite, of the type encountered before in angsty teenage movies.

Yet The Art of Getting By isn't completely without merit. First, it shows a New York that still dazzles despite (refreshingly) lacking all the familiar touchstones. And its main character is an enigma: George is dispassionate but not uptight. He's pessimistic but not neurotic, smart but not cripplingly so. His relationship with Sally is quirky in a surprising way: The beautiful, popular girl doesn't see the loner as just a friend, but likes him; he's the one who's slow to respond. Their bond is interesting to watch and captures the ambiguous, complicated relationships that teens form these days. If only the movie could have skipped the cheap-shot ending.

Movie Details

  • In theaters: June 17, 2011
  • On DVD or streaming: November 29, 2011
  • Cast: Emma Roberts , Freddie Highmore , Michael Angarano
  • Director: Gavin Wiesen
  • Inclusion Information: Female actors
  • Studio: Fox Searchlight
  • Genre: Drama
  • Run time: 84 minutes
  • MPAA rating: PG-13
  • MPAA explanation: thematic elements including sexual content, language, teen drinking and partying
  • Last updated: October 14, 2022

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