A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
If you are alone in the world, you have to stand up for yourself. "Sing with all your heart, and your voice will be heard." People can be imprisoned by their lives but still cling to those prisons. If you have talent you can succeed.
Positive Role Models
Devastated by the loss of her mother, Julie is depressed and distant. Karen is open, honest, and persnickety.
Violence & Scariness
A girl attempts suicide by drinking poison but she survives. A woman has a heart attack and survives. Discussion about someone's cancer death. A girl pushes pizza into a rival's face.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Teenagers kiss. A woman in her 70s refers to showing a younger man "a thing or two" if she were younger. Dancers wear tight costumes and fishnet stockings.
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"Bitch," "bastard," "damn." A grandmother gives someone the finger.
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
An adult recounts smoking marijuana and taking LSD in his "bad boy" youth.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that The Looking Glass depicts the emotional trauma of a 13-year-old girl who has lost her mother and is sent to live with a grandmother she barely knows. Aging, adolescent sexuality, death, and coping with loss are major themes. Dancers wear tight costumes and fishnet stockings. The girl attempts suicide but survives. A woman has a heart attack and survives. There's discussion about someone's cancer death. A girl pushes pizza into a rival's face. Teenagers kiss. Expect to hear the words "bitch" and "bastard." An adult recounts smoking marijuana and taking LSD in his "bad boy" youth. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
Early scenes suggest that The Looking Glass may succumb to cliché, but soon the story of a troubled teen who opens up to her grandmother reveals a moving story about aging and coming of age. Karen is a woman much like Tristan, the actress who plays her and who wrote the script. Both had stage and movie careers mostly in the 1970s and then moved to rural Indiana to raise a family. Tristan's husband, John D. Hancock, an Oscar-nominated director, presides and much of the action is set in their home. Tarnow as Julie is subtle and poised, with a practiced singing voice that cuts through the air straight to a listener's heart. Karen may be overbearing at times, but her honesty and warmth make a connection with her grieving granddaughter.
However, for all her tough love and moral support, the grandmother's insistence that Julie is destined for a successful show-biz career seems unrealistic, not to mention potentially damaging, especially given that Julie has not articulated any ungovernable passion for performing. Still, teens are likely to be drawn to Julie's character and will find lots to think about and discuss.
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.