The Right One

Movie review by
Jennifer Green, Common Sense Media
The Right One Movie Poster Image
Clumsy romance addresses mental health; swearing, sex.
  • R
  • 2021
  • 95 minutes

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A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

People struggling with trauma, past abuse, grief, and/or depression need support and understanding; sometimes counseling can help. Don't judge people by their appearances. Artists derive fulfillment from process of creation. Successful people are more likely to get away with odd or inappropriate behavior.

Positive Role Models

Godfrey is still grieving from something that happened when he was younger and from ongoing emotional abuse of alcoholic foster parents who only took kids in to make money. His foster sibling Shad looks out for him but has his own troubles with drugs and the law. Sara feels she's wasting her talent on meaningless romance novels, uses her new friendship with Godfrey as material. The "bosses" in different office settings treat their employees harshly and focus only on results, namely profits. Diversity in cast.

Violence

A 5-year-old girl is remembered to have fallen out a window to her death. Sara meets Godfrey in a dark alley at night and feels momentarily in danger.

Sex

Quite a lot of sex talk from female characters, with references to "masturbating," getting "laid," "diddling," being turned on, "banging hot dudes," "getting hard," "who do I have to blow," castration, abstinence, "c--k," "boners," and an unhappy marriage. Sara writes "soft-core" romance novels. Her debut was titled Sext. Her agent sets her up on a blind date because she hasn't dated anyone since she broke up with her boyfriend, who is now expecting a baby with another woman (who Sara now stalks on social media). Sara and Godfrey wake up next to each other in bed but fully clothed after a date; she says they just snuggled. Two performers simulate sexual acts in full body suits on a stage.

Language

Multiple uses of "f--k," plus "s--t," "bulls--t," "damn," "dammit," "goddamn," "ass," "a--hole," "hell," "mofo," "bull," "d--k," "boner," "Oh my God," "c--k."

Consumerism

Set in Seattle; various neighborhoods are mentioned. Mac computers and iPhones are seen. Characters mention Dockers, Banana Republic, the movie Scarface, the band Blues Travelers. 

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Adults drink beer and cocktails at various events, including art gallery reception and rave. Mention of drugs: being "a little high," wishing to be "on drugs," being a "stoner," a description (from a film) of a cocaine deal gone bad. Godfrey hand-rolls a cigarette or joint and gives it to someone. Shad sells "weed" and says even though it's legal, people still like the draw of buying it on the street. An older couple is said to be regularly drunk or passed out.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that The Right One is a dramatic comedy that addresses mental health issues and the foster system under the guise of a romance, and dialogues can get quite raunchy. The main male character struggles with depression or PTSD from his experience in an abusive foster home where alcoholic parents took kids in just to make money. While there's little that's graphic on-screen, a past event involving the death of a 5-year-old girl is referenced. Meanwhile, adult female characters talk about masturbating, being turned on, "banging hot dudes," "getting hard," "who do I have to blow," castration, abstinence, "c--k," "boners," and an unhappy marriage. The main female character writes "soft-core" romance novels, and her agent is worried that her writer's block stems from not "getting laid." Language also includes multiple uses of "f--k" plus "s--t," "bulls--t," "damn," "dammit," "goddamn," "ass," "a--hole," "hell," "mofo," "bull," "d--k," "boner," "Oh my God," and "c--k." Adults drink beer and cocktails and mention past use of drugs. One character hand-rolls a cigarette or joint and gives it to someone; another sells "weed" and says even though it's legal, people still like the draw of "buying it on the street."

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What's the story?

Sara (Cleopatra Coleman) is a soft-core romance novelist who has suffered writer's block since she broke up with her boyfriend in THE RIGHT ONE. Her fast-talking literary agent, Kelly (Iliza Shlesinger), thinks she needs a sexual encounter to get her creative juices flowing again and sets her up on a blind date. Across town, Godfrey (Nick Thune) is the unconventional top salesman at his company, where his antics -- like dancing around the office or wearing his hair in a gelled Mohawk -- are accepted due to his business results. At night, he takes on alternate personalities performing on various stages. When Sara witnesses him posing as different people at a gallery opening, she's intrigued. She hunts him down, and the two begin a friendship that offers fodder for her new novel. She begins writing again, but Godfrey's past trauma will put a wrench in things. When he discovers she's been using him as literary inspiration, he spirals into a deeper depression.

Is it any good?

Sometimes good intentions aren't enough to make a good movie, and unfortunately this one isn't very good. The Right One tackles the manifestations of a young man's past trauma as part of a story of two unconventional people falling in love. The problem is that the script doesn't address the roots of Godfrey's odd behavior until an hour into the film, leaving us with characters who just come across for the bulk of the story as self-involved, immature, or unlikable. Situations and dialogues lack the necessary subtlety to be as funny or as edgy as they're intended.

We see this with Sara and her agent-slash-friend Kelly, despite the best efforts of Coleman and Shlesinger. When Kelly tells Sara that her "manic pixie dream girl" shtick is wearing thin, she might be mislabeling the character, but we can't help but agree. When she tells her she's "mistaking crazy for interesting" in Godfrey, we know where she's coming from. Thune's Godfrey lacks the charisma or brilliance he's meant to exude. There are a lot of worthwhile ideas in here about dealing with mental health issues, the possible flaws of the foster system, and artists' need to create and be authentic to themselves, but the final jumbled result unfortunately falls flat.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how past emotional trauma is said to drive Godfrey's behavior in The Right One. When Sara asks him who he is, why does he respond, "Nobody"?

  • Does this film offer a positive or a negative portrayal of the foster system? Why? Where could you go for more information about how fostering works?

  • The characters talk a lot about drugs and sex, but we don't see them doing either in the film. How does this affect your perception of them?

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love romantic movies

Themes & Topics

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