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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
You have to accept that loss can come with love, that some things are out of your control. It's not a crime to fall out of love. It's important to face your "ghosts" to overcome them, gain strength from the experience, and move on. Life is worth living.
Positive Role Models
Tessa spent years in foster care and has learned not to let her guard down, but this quality also keeps her from forming genuine connections with people. Her adopted parents try to get her to open up. Kyle is struggling to forgive his parents for giving up on their marriage, but he believes in true love. As teens, the two have passions, hobbies, smarts, and talents, and they don't seem to party or get in trouble.
Some diversity in the cast. An older woman can communicate with spirits; most people don't believe this is possible. Two high school boys kiss in a hot tub.
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Violence & Scariness
A teen is killed by a car, another is left with a ruptured heart requiring surgery. Their bodies are shown splayed out on the road. The young woman left alive (though there's mention of her dying momentarily) begins sensing that her dead boyfriend is trying to speak to her from the beyond; she's warned that trying to meet him there could result in her getting stuck (and dying). She and her friend conduct a séance. She falls from a height and is struck by shattered glass, winding up in the hospital again. An older woman is near death.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Two teens kiss and hold hands. A sex scene shows kissing and bare skin but no private parts. Females appreciate a male's body in bathing suit. A girl mentions her vagina. Two boys kiss in a hot tub. Mention of "steamy car sex" in a movie. A teen jokes about nude photos of her mom possibly being found.
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"S--t," "bulls--t," "a--hole," "ass," "bastards," "damn," 'crap," "sucks," "bitch," "hell," "vagina," "stupid." "Jesus" and "God" used as exclamations.
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Products & Purchases
Brands spotted on cars, some local places, movie titles, colleges.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Teens hold plastic tumblers at a house party.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that the teen romance The In Between involves a young man getting killed by a car and his girlfriend, already dealing with her own childhood trauma, trying to come to terms with his death. The film has language and one sex scene. The girlfriend has survived the same crash with a ruptured heart requiring surgery. She starts to think the boyfriend is trying to communicate with her from beyond, resulting in some scenes that could potentially frighten some viewers as he "appears" to her in a variety of ways. Though the film is a romance, there's only one sex scene (bare skin but no privates) and lots of kissing and snuggling. A girl mentions her vagina. The film's main messages are that life is worth living to its fullest, that you have to accept the loss that can come with love, and that it's important to face your "ghosts" in order to move past them. Language includes "s--t," "bulls--t," "a--hole," "ass," "bastards," "damn," 'crap," "sucks," "bitch," "hell," "vagina," and "stupid," plus "Jesus" and "God" used as exclamations. Teens hold plastic tumblers at a house party. 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 teen romantic tragedy aims to up the ante on a familiar genre with grander artistic aspirations, more sophisticated characters, and supernatural elements. If the seriousness works, it's thanks to King's and Allen's acting in The In Between. They avoid hitting false notes, and the script veers clear of too-obvious stereotypes (the "jock" and the "artist"). It does try a tad too hard to depict the pair of high school seniors as sophisticated beyond their years, speaking multiple languages, enjoying French cinema, debating British fiction, snapping artsy black-and-white photos, and attending gallery openings. The pretensions are passable because they fit with the characters' backstories and are woven into their love story, not just introduced and dropped. The pair is also contrasted against other, more typical teens, but there's a refreshing lack of obnoxious portrayals here too.
Tessa has a literal broken heart when Skylar dies, confirming her long-held belief that love never lasts. She keeps people at arm's length, hiding behind her camera. We learn this through a back-and-forth narrative counting down to Skylar's fatal accident and following her grief-fueled insistence afterward that he's still trying to communicate with her. A couple of these scenes are chill-inducing, but the film isn't scary and doesn't aim to be. It is, however, noticeably visually dark at moments -- for example, in the movie theater, the darkroom, an abandoned hotel, and at night. Tessa's loss is processed in a protracted spiritual meeting with Skylar in the afterlife "in between" (complete with a Parisian rendezvous, faintly echoing La La Land's dreamlike postscript). She discovers that life is actually worth living after all. It's a positive message viewers can feel good about, even through tears.
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.