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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Humans are governed by hormones and other biological chemicals coursing through our veins and that explains seemingly inexplicable behavior.
Positive Role Models
Julia is a stodgy, rigid, unlikable researcher who refuses to accept what her research is telling her.
Violence & Scariness
A woman pops a pimple on her boyfriend's back but it turns out to be cancer. Parents tell their young son they're going to divorce and he acts as if that's fine with him. Two men wrestle over the best way to tile a bathroom.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
A woman hastily whips her shirt off, then places her surprised date's hands on her clothed breasts. The man plays with the woman's breasts through her bra but he refuses to have sex with her because he feels rushed and she's being too mechanical and detached. She's otherwise clothed. A husband finds his wife masturbating to online videos instead of having sex with him. A couple take Ecstasy together to improve their sex life but they don't have sex. A man is told by a friend to choke his wife during sex to enhance the pleasure. He tries it unsuccessfully.
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"F--k," "s--t," "bitch," "piss," "ass," "balls," and "blow job."
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Adults use Ecstasy, a drug known to make people more amorous. A woman takes birth control pills, Adderall, and Ambien.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that The Female Brain is a 2018 comedy about a professor of neurology who uses her research into how hormones and other chemicals make men and women behave to avoid having a romantic relationship. She's therefore willing to hastily have sex on a first date rather than develop a relationship that may come to hurt her emotionally. A woman's breasts (in a bra) are displayed and pawed at for comic effect. A married man and woman take Ecstasy to improve their sex life but it fails. Men and women misunderstand each other on every level, including sexually. A husband finds his wife masturbating to online videos instead of having sex with him. Despite the emphasis on sex, there's no sex acts or nudity shown. Language includes "f--k," "s--t," "ass," "piss," and "blow job." A woman takes birth control pills, Adderall, and Ambien. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
This movie almost reaches the level of smart and quirky at times, and it's definitely designed for mature audiences with its sexual references and use of language, but it ultimately falls flat. The Female Brain feels overly literary, not in the sense of "high culture," but rather like something meant to be communicated in a written way, like a clever essay, or a recited stand-up act, which isn't surprising since Cummings is a stand-up comedian. The trouble is that nothing here is really funny.
The addition of overlong filmed vignettes depicting heterosexual couples struggling to overcome predetermined hormonal behaviors doesn't help. Sometimes dramatic issues are treated flippantly, as when a couple casually decides to divorce. They inform their young son, and he responds to the news with less interest than you'd expect if they had told him the TV wasn't working. With the focus on negative stereotypes, all exaggerated for comic effect, no one here is likable enough to sustain our interest, least of all the main character. The nicest surprise here is that former Detroit Piston basketball star Blake Griffin, playing a confused husband, turns out to have some talent as an actor.
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.