The More You Ignore Me

Movie review by
Kat Halstead, Common Sense Media
The More You Ignore Me Movie Poster Image
Warm British comedy deals with mental health, adult themes.
  • NR
  • 2018
  • 98 minutes

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

The movie centers on family and responsibility. There are also themes of letting go, embracing the unconventional, and finding your own happiness.

Positive Role Models

Alice is kind, understanding, and responsible, though frustrated by the burden her mother's mental illness places on her. Her father, Keith, is the rock of the family, sacrificing his own happiness to look after his wife and daughter. The representation of Gina's mental illness walks a fine line between sympathetic realism and poking fun, sometimes veering into uncomfortable territory.

Violence

There are scenes of characters being physically restrained, tackled to the ground, hit with riding crops, and punched to the ground resulting in bruising to the face and blood from the mouth. Episodes of mental illness involve smashing and throwing items and passing out. Reference is made to a character wanting to die, postnatal depression, miscarriage, and wishing to suffocate someone with a pillow. A character dies of a stroke and a dead body is shown, followed by a scene at a funeral and wake. There is mild threat involving a guinea pig.

Sex

Sex is depicted -- including between teens -- implied, and referred to on a number of occasions. Characters kiss and hug and are seen in their underwear. There is partial nudity in relation to a character receiving an injection. A character has a brief extramarital fling.

Language

Strong language is used throughout, including "f--k," "f--king," "s--t," "bulls--t," "bastard," "crap," "bollocks," "knackered," "ass," "bloody," "wanker," "d--khead," "bugger," "piss," "slapper," "whore," "Jesus," and "Christ." There are also homophobic terms including "lesbo" and "poof."

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Alcohol is consumed on a number of occasions -- including by underage characters. There are instances of drunkenness. Characters are seen smoking cigarettes and the butts are shown in ashtrays. Drugs are referred to in a medical context, including tranquilizer injections and Valium.  

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that The More You Ignore Me is a British comedy set in the 1980s about a family dealing with the mother's severe mental health problems. Adapted by comedian Jo Brand from her own book, the movie has adult themes and strong language throughout. Gina (Sheridan Smith) is shown having a number of psychotic episodes, and there are scenes inside a psychiatric ward with characters in a state of sedation. Language is frequent and includes "f--k," "s--t" and some homophobic slurs. There are instances of sexual acts -- including between teens -- but they aren't graphic and no nudity is involved. Underage drinking is shown and characters appear drunk. Cigarettes are also smoked on a number of occasions. Patients are prescribed and administered drugs to help with their conditions. There are short moments of violence, with characters being hit with objects. In one scene, Gina is punched to the floor resulting in a bruised and bloody mouth. There are also references to a miscarriage and postnatal depression. Gina's daughter, Alice (Ella Hunt) is obsessed with Morrissey, frontman from The Smiths, so expect to hear plenty of the band's songs throughout. While the tone is mostly light, the comedy is often dark and can tread a fine line in terms of taste when referring to mental health issues.

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What's the story?

In THE MORE YOU IGNORE ME, teenager Alice (Ella Hunt) lives with her father, Keith (Mark Addy) and mother, Gina (Sheridan Smith) who suffers with her mental health and is prone to psychotic episodes. Alice is stuck playing part-time teenager and part-time caregiver, and develops an obsession with The Smith's frontman Morrissey as a way to escape her family life. Meanwhile, her mother's own obsession with the local weatherman lands her back in the local psychiatric unit and on medication that leaves her mostly unresponsive. As the years go by, Ella wishes she had a "normal" mother and convinces a local nurse (Sally Phillips) to reduce her mother's medication, resulting in a surprising freedom for everyone concerned.

Is it any good?

This film is adapted by comedian Jo Brand from her own novel of the same name, which quickly becomes evident in its dark, observational humor. The More You Ignore Me is a very British affair, set in a small town outside of Blackpool, England, and firmly rooted in the 1980s -- the settings evoking a gritty realism and sense of claustrophobia that accentuates the characters' desire to escape. The performances are strong all round, Smith having a field day with some of the more bizarre episodes that stem from Gina's mental illness.

Yet there are moments when debut director Keith English risks crossing a line when it comes to taste -- such as a scene in which Gina deliriously bounces down the road on a space hopper accompanied by the song lyrics "Madness, they call it madness." Though the tone is uneven, a mix of genuinely heartwarming moments and energetic interludes keep the story on track and the ending is an unexpected yet welcome challenge to our perception of mental illness and its impact on an individual's happiness.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how mental illness is portrayed in The More You Ignore Me. Do you think it's an accurate portrayal? Is Gina a sympathetic character or a figure of fun? If the latter, why could this be problematic? Discuss how mental illness is portrayed in other movies you may have seen.

  • How does Gina's illness affect Keith and Alice's day-to-day lives?

  • Talk about the strong language used in the movie. Does it seem necessary or excessive? What does it contribute to the movie?

  • How is sex depicted in the movie? Is it affectionate? Respectful? Parents, talk to your teens about your own values regarding sex and relationships.

  • How does Morrissey represent a form of escapism for Alice? How do you like to unwind and remove yourself from any worries you might be having?

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love stories that deal with mental illness

Themes & Topics

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