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Parents' Guide to

The Kindness of Strangers

By Joyce Slaton, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 15+

Lives interconnect in slow-paced drama with brief violence.

Movie NR 2020 102 minutes
The Kindness of Strangers Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

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

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Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say: Not yet rated
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Overly long and alternately drearily realistic and implausible, this slow-burn drama at least has a great cast and a redemptive ending. But it's kind of a drag watching The Kindness of Strangers' characters suffer for almost two hours and make silly mistakes before they get the endings they deserve. Kazan at least makes Clara's iffy decisions seem desperate and agonizing; it's harder to explain why Alice starts calling in sick to work and Jeff can't seem to hold a job for longer than a week -- and it's awful to watch his employers criticize him harshly on the way out. "You're pretty bad at just about everything," says one. "Name one thing that you are good at." C'mon, even if things eventually look up, no one wants to watch a downed dog be kicked repeatedly.

There's some lovely camera work (long shots of Toronto and Copenhagen mimicking New York in particular), and, despite the slow pace, you do wind up caring about the lives of the strangers who (often improbably) connect. Nighy, always a hoot, continues his streak here. In one of the movie's best moments, he brings a meal to a pair of restaurant patrons and then, turning away to head back to the kitchen, mistakes a very personal question as directed at him and gives a startling answer. Nighy brings a little lightness whenever he's on-screen, and this movie could use all it can get.

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