A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that The Perfect Summer's premise involves a teenage son grieving the loss of his father, whose death is referenced. There's some bullying that involves a fight, destruction of surfboards, and a retaliatory act wherein an adult destroys a kid's property to make a point. Otherwise this is a clean-language film that promotes incredibly positive messages about starting over, family support and connectivity, and taking risks to push yourself toward being a better person. A sense of faith and references to attending church hover in the background but aren't heavy-handed.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
Teenage Jake (Adam Horner) and mom Alyssa (Sydney Penny) are starting over after the loss of Jake's dad, so they've moved back in with Grandpa Lou (Eric Roberts) to a beach town that's hard to warm up to. Alyssa sets out to find work, and Jake learns that making enemies is much easier than friends in this tight-knit community. But when he decides to take up surfing, he learns something about himself, his grandfather's past, and what it means to really participate in life.
Is it any good?
THE PERFECT SUMMER is pretty wholesome fare -- no cursing, no sexual content, no drinking or drugs, and some challenging scenes about loss and transformation. It doesn't always land on its feet; the script feels pretty contrived in many instances, and the chemistry isn't always there. There's some iffy behavior when Grandpa takes handling a bully in his own hands and destroys a kid's surfboard, but overall this is a well-meaning, clean-cut look at some relatable teenage problems, such as making friends and being the new kid. With a heavy focus on stunning beach sunsets and crashing waves, you could do worse for family fare that tackles heavy issues with an eye for positive messages.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about starting over. Have you ever had to start over with something? A new school? A new subject? A new sport? What happened? How did you handle it? Do you think the film shows the struggle of starting over accurately? Why, or why not?
How does the film handle bullying? Do you think it's realistic? Do you think Lou acted fairly in helping his grandson face the town bully? Why, or why not?
What is the film's message about using the Internet and smartphones? What did Jake gain by putting down his phone and going out into the world?
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.
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