A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
The couples who are married or in monogamous relationships are portrayed as untrustworthy and, in a couple of cases, unfaithful. A bride claims that her friend's dalliance with her fiance is an infidelity on the friend's part but not her husband-to-be's, which sends the message that it's the woman who's unfaithful, not the man. Undergraduate life is shown as the pinnacle of the friends' lives, as if what comes after is completely anticlimactic. Class-ism and anti-semitism are hinted at but never explored in depth.
Positive Role Models
There aren't any clearly positive role models in this movie -- all of the characters are ridiculously self-absorbed late-twentysomethings. Everyone acts selfishly, and a few characters betray their spouses or friends.
Sex, Romance & Nudity
Lots of sexuality and relationship issues. The groom and a bridesmaid kiss passionately and may or not may have had sex (it's unclear). The bride and groom share several short kisses. A married bridesmaid makes out with a groomsman, while her husband strips and runs around with another bridesmaid (but they don't kiss). Friends skinny-dip, and viewers see lots of skin and underwear, but no outright nudity.
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Language includes words such as "s--t," "bitch," "a--hole," and other milder insults.
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
The seven best friends (minus the bride-to-be) get ridiculously drunk; two do lines of cocaine. The bride's brother is so drunk that someone jokes about whether he shouldn't have an ankle bracelet on. Before the friends get totally wasted, everyone at the rehearsal dinner is drinking socially.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this indie wedding drama focuses on mature themes like marriage, infidelity, relationships, and post-college malaise that aren't age-appropriate for younger teens. Although some of the stars (especially Anna Paquin and Katie Holmes) may appeal to younger audiences, the nuances of this drama (which ultimately isn't very pro-marriage) are best for those who are in or out of college. Expect several passionate kisses, plus one scene that shows the groom-to-be about to have sex with someone other than his fiancee and another scene in which a bridesmaid makes out with a groomsman who isn't her husband. Language includes "s--t" and "bitch," and there's both excessive drinking (some characters get ridiculously drunk) and some drug use (cocaine). To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
It's fitting that a movie about relationship conflict would lead to conflicting feelings for an audience. Part of the movie is an insightful, even touching look at slightly rootless twenty-somethings for whom undergraduate school was a magical time of friendship and intellectual curiosity. But it's also -- and this is that makes The Romantics difficult to watch -- self indulgent and in some ways unbelievable. Six years after college graduation, a group of friends should have evolved at least somewhat past whatever their undergraduate lives were like, without talking about petty grievances from junior and senior year as if they were all that important to their 28-year-old selves. Who cares if Lila -- the much richer, WASPy roommate -- bought the red dress that Laura wanted to wear to some literary magazine event? Is that really on the same level as the fact that Laura and Tom might still be in love, even though it's the day of Lila and Tom's wedding?
The actors all do their best, but Holmes is so broody that she seems like a slightly older Joey from Dawson's Creek. Duhamel is a casting misstep, because although he's perfect as an athletic Alpha Male, Tom is also supposed to be a true scholar-athlete, and Duhamel isn't Matt Damon or Leonardo DiCaprio -- he can't pull off intellectual types very convincingly. Paquin is cloying as the golden princess who usually gets everything she wants, and Candice Bergen, playing Lila's well-heeled mother Augusta, seems to be rivaling Holland Taylor as the "rich patrician mother" in everything. Most disappointing are the quartet of "other best friends," who apparently had no problem reverting to their college-level casualness for hooking up or otherwise being inappropriate with each other, despite being married or engaged. The sole wise ones in the bunch are Lila's drunk brother, Chip (Elijah Wood), who slurs the truth, and younger sister Minnow (Glee's Dianna Agron), who wonders whether Tom really is the right choice for her sister.
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.