The Pretty One

 
(i)

 

Quirky dramedy with sexual situations and some language.
  • Review Date: February 19, 2014
  • Rated: R
  • Genre: Drama
  • Release Year: 2014
  • Running Time: 90 minutes

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Other people may seem like they have life all figured out, but that's not always the case. That's why it's so important to be yourself, to figure out life on your own, even if you're not entirely sure who you are.

Positive role models

Laurel learns to be comfortable with who she really is after spending some time living as her identical twin. She lies to everyone about her identity, but she's got a good heart.

Violence

A sudden car accident with tragic consequences. Some intense arguments between family members. Two men get into a brief fistfight that leaves one bloodied.

Sex

Some intense kissing and cuddling, and a few scenes that show couples about to have sex, or soon afterward. No nudity.

Language

Some swearing, including "d--k," "ass," "s--t," "bitch," "balls," "hell" and various versions of "f--k."

Consumerism
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

One scene features a girl getting drunk while swigging from a liquor bottle, and a guy drinking several beers.

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.

Kids say

Not yet rated
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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?

QUALITY
 

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.

Families can talk 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?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:February 7, 2014
DVD release date: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

This review of The Pretty One was written by

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Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Educator and Parent of a 9 and 14 year old Written byurbanmama July 21, 2014
 

Two Thumbs Down

Be forewarned the movie opens with a young woman having sex for the first time and the phrase "pop your cherry." Twin sisters with opposite life experiences and personalities get in a car crash: one twin dies, the other lives. She steals her sister's identity but never comes to terms with the fact she is living a lie and therefore cannot actually grieve her sister's death. The movie goes downhill from there. Acting by the female lead is shrill. Storyline is feeble and drags. In truth my 14-year-old and I decided to stop watching it, so we're not sure how it ended.
What other families should know
Too much sex
Adult Written bywonder dove July 26, 2014
 

A well made chick flick

The Pretty One was quite enjoyable, the storyline was very interesting and different. Zoe Kazan is excellent and I'm becoming more familiar with her work. She plays two characters in the film who are identical twin sisters, Audrey (the outgoing, smart, pretty one) and Laurel (the curious, sweet, quiet one). Audrey left home like any other graduate to pursue a career in Real Estate while Laurel stayed home with her widower father with the excuse to take care of him. Laurel's life is pretty simple, making breakfast for her dad and doing what she loves most, painting. On their birthday, Audrey drops in to spend it with her sister and family. Out on the town, Laurel decides to get a hair cut like Audrey's so she can also be "the pretty one" before she prepares to move in with her and start a fresh new life, but they wind up in a horrible car accident and Audrey dies. After Laurel wakes up and discovers that her father mistakes her as Audrey, she continues to keep it a secret because she has always wanted to be her. The fake case of amnesia allows Laurel to learn facts about her sisters life, where she worked, who her friends and boyfriends were...etc so she can take over that life she's always wanted, even if it feels totally wrong. Later, Laurel breaks down with guilt and confesses her lies and tries to deal with the consequences. Violence is mild with a comedic fist fight between two men, some family arguments, a car crash (not actually shown). Language is not too frequent but we hear some f-words, sh*t, a**, b*tch, d**k and common name calling words. Sexual content shows a young woman losing her virginity to a teenager (lasts 6 or 7 seconds, no nudity), some relationship talk, some kissing, cheating is implied. There is some drinking. It's rated R mainly for language, OK for 15+ viewers.
What other families should know
Great messages
Too much swearing

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