Parents' Guide to

The Four of Us

By Barbara Shulgasser-Parker, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 16+

Partners swap and learn truths; language, sex, drinking.

Movie NR 2021 88 minutes
The Four of Us Poster Image

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The Four of Us is successfully constructed so that the many forced elements of this generally unlikely story fall together in an emotionally true and persuasive way. At least one character travels through a plausible arc of feelings and as a result seems to emerge a different, better person. Director Florian Gottschick handles a messy script (that he co-wrote) with perhaps a subtlety it might not deserve, and the cast is talented and convincing. It's obvious that the couples are wallowing in the problems of the overprivileged. Nevertheless, the movie manages to explore universal questions about monogamy, loyalty, the pressure to have kids, the pressure to have careers, and what human beings really want and need from each other. Not much attention is given to the revelation that both couples broke the only rule, but the first couple to admit it received all the criticism.

The twenty-somethings here recognize and grapple with being the first generation to have had the constant overstimulation of the internet inserted into their lives since childhood. They face the reality that they "can't slap a pretty filter" on their relationships. They wonder in what ways that has resulted in stunted emotions and difficulties in connecting fully with others, all worthwhile issues to contemplate. As in a bad trendy magazine article, thoughtless betrayals and dishonesty are on display here, but the filmmakers allow viewers to decide how they feel about them.

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