A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Starting over is difficult but worthwhile; winning isn't as important as pushing yourself to try new things. It's important to disconnect from technology and media and be a part of our local communities.
Positive Role Models
Grandfather Lou is warm and welcoming and happy to mentor his grandson, though in one instance he uses intimidation and destruction of property to teach a bully a lesson. Mom Alyssa is willing to put herself out there to start over, even though it's difficult and painful. Both are heavily invested in the wellbeing of the teenage Jake, who strives to do the right thing while grieving. He pushes himself in a new sport even though it's difficult and embarrassing, and he pursues friendships in spite of angering jealous locals.
Violence & Scariness
Some bullying and intimidation. A guy pushes another down into the water. A guy hits someone in the face with his surfboard. A guy destroys a surfboard. A man destroys a surfboard in retaliation. A teenager takes a surfboard into rough waves at night and nearly drowns.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
A man kisses a woman on the cheek.
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
A man attends an AA meeting, then discusses his sobriety with a teenager.
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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. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
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.
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.