Parents' Guide to

The Forty-Year-Old Version

By Barbara Shulgasser-Parker, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 16+

Black playwright strives to be true to herself; language.

Movie R 2020 129 minutes
The Forty-Year-Old Version Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

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

Community Reviews

age 16+

Based on 1 parent review

age 16+

A wonderful portrayal by a strong performer and writer!

Wow! What a powerhouse of a performance from Blank. The writing is tight and the overlays from the different characters are tone perfect. Everyone is appropriately on board for the ride and I enjoyed every second of Blank's unfolding of herself for our entertainment. She is a very strong performer that understand this world that she is presenting as do all of the other actors. The gatekeepers play their respective roles perfectly. Truly a delight!

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say: (1 ):
Kids say: Not yet rated

Radha Blank, director, writer, and lead actor of this semi-autobiographical movie, is so endearing, brainy, funny, and likable that it hurts to find fault with her effort. Casting is perfect, with great performances, especially by Oswin Benjamin and Peter Kim. Blank's written numerous plays and for TV's Empire and the Netflix show She's Gotta Have It. The Forty-Year-Old Version is soaked with her talent and poise and her underlying sense of irony and justice, all of which makes one grateful for the way this spills over with ideas at a time when lots of movies offer none. She expertly captures the gritty everyday difficulties of a striving New York artist in an expensive city, needing to teach to make a living and to defang sharp work to appeal to a wealthy white theater audience. She gently mocks politically-correct trends in the arts, as an all-female production of 12 Angry Men and an integrated cast for the all-Black play Fences.

Some of the ideas here come into conflict with each other, signaling a complex intelligence at work, and some don't get where they ought to go, but at least Blank is trying, aspiring to be true to some ideal, even if she may not yet have figured out what that ideal might be. These are good problems to have.

Movie Details

  • On DVD or streaming: October 9, 2020
  • Cast: Radha Blank , Oswin Bnejamin , Peter Kim , Reed Birney
  • Director: Radha Blank
  • Inclusion Information: Black directors, Black actors
  • Studio: Netflix
  • Genre: Comedy
  • Run time: 129 minutes
  • MPAA rating: R
  • MPAA explanation: for pervasive language, sexual content, some drug use and brief nudity
  • Last updated: February 18, 2023

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