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 Pretty One is a quirky dramedy that teens might enjoy, but that includes some sexual situations as well as a bit of strong language, including "s--t" and "f--k." Expect a sudden car accident with tragic consequences and a single fistfight. Adults drink a bit, sometimes excessively.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
Laurel and Audrey are identical twins (played by Zoe Kazan). Audrey has moved to the city and built a life, while Laurel never left home, and takes care of their widower father. After a terrible car accident, Audrey dies and Laurel decides to assume her identity and take over her sister's life, including her job, her friendships, and even her tenant, a down-to-earth charmer (Jake Johnson). Eventually, Laurel must come to terms with who she really is.
Is it any good?
THE PRETTY ONE takes an interesting premise -- what happens when a woman loses her twin -- and explores it with some compassion, as well as a charming lead in Kazan. But what could have been an in-depth meditation on identity and loss turns into a lightweight one, relying too heavily on the romantic threads of the plot that sometimes feel tonally incompatible with a story about a real tragedy. At times, you don't know if it's okay to be laughing when there's so much to mourn; Laurel's decision seems desperate at best and disturbing and worrisome at worst -- neither of which feels right to mine for comedy. It feels like two separate movies sometimes: a romcom and a family drama. And like Laurel, perhaps the filmmakers needed to decide which identity the movie really wanted to inhabit.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about Laurel's decision to take over her sister's life. What did she learn while pretending to be someone else? Would you ever try to pull off something like this?
Who is the audience for this movie? How can you tell?
Why are movies obsessed with twins? Can you think of other stories that involve twins?
- In theaters: February 7, 2014
- On DVD or streaming: June 3, 2014
- Cast: Zoe Kazan, Jake Johnson, Ron Livingston
- Director: Jenee LaMarque
- Studio: Schorr Pictures
- Genre: Drama
- Topics: Brothers and Sisters
- Run time: 90 minutes
- MPAA rating: R
- MPAA explanation: language and some sexual content
- Last updated: March 13, 2020
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