A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Focuses on importance of processing grief and loss but not giving up on life after the devastating death of a loved one. Encourages experiencing the beauty of art, music, love. Character strengths of compassion, empathy, perseverance are heavily explored.
Positive Role Models
Lennie learns how to be honest with others, how to ask for forgiveness, how to stop centering herself as if she's the only person to experience Bailey's death. She and Joe learn how to move past their differences. Lennie, Gran, and Uncle Big communicate openly with one another about their grief.
Lennie, Gran, Uncle Big, and Toby are all White. It's suggested that Bailey is part Asian (the actor is half Chinese, although ethnicity is never mentioned). Joe and his brother are multiracial. Best friend Sarah is of East Asian descent. No other forms of diversity, except for Gran's age, are represented.
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Violence & Scariness
Bailey's sudden death is shown (since it's an aneurysm, she just faints). Lennie gets upset several times, cuts her grandmother's beloved roses, and smashes/destroys certain belongings. Lennie and her sister's mother died when they were young.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
A couple of conversations about erections (with "boing" sound effects), sex, loss of virginity. Several passionate kisses. Two teens listen to music together and experience the music in a magical, sensual way. Joe asks Lennie afterward, "Did we just have sex?" to describe the feeling. Lennie tries to win Joe back by wearing a tight sexy dress and make-up. Marcus calls Lennie "one hot tamale."
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"Holy s--t," "WTF" in text speak, "s--t," "damn."
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Uncle Big is shown smoking marijuana at least three times. Adults drink wine at dinner.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that The Sky Is Everywhere is based on Jandy Nelson's 2010 novel about Lennie Walker (Grace Kaufman), a teen who's having trouble returning to everyday life and school after her older sister's sudden death (it's shown but isn't graphic in any way -- she just collapses). Lennie's grief causes her to act out destructively. There are several references to sex, lust, and cheating, as well as passionate kissing and make-out sessions. While main characters are all White, the movie's cast is more diverse than the book's, with multiracial and Asian American supporting characters, and prominently featured intergenerational relationships between a teen, her uncle, and her grandmother. Language is occasionally strong and includes "s--t," "damn," and text speak "WTF." Adults drink, and one smokes pot a few times. This is as much a story about loss as it is about love, so be ready for emotional monologues and lots of on-screen tears -- as well as clear themes of compassion, empathy, and perseverance. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
This sweet, sentimental teen drama explores how the joy of first love can be tied to the intensity of overwhelming grief. Kaufman is believably sad, confused, and emotionally volatile as Lennie, who feels utterly alone without her vibrant sister. The story, adapted by author Nelson, solidly sets up how the sisters were closer than most siblings because they were orphans who shared a room, dreams of attending Juilliard together (Bailey for drama, Lennie for music), and the experience of being raised by their bohemian grandmother and uncle. A hiccup of the adaptation, directed by Josephine Decker, is that the quick love connection developed in the book feels startlingly fast on-screen, making Lennie and Joe's relationship an even more overt "instalove" version than that of their book counterparts. Luckily, Kaufman and Colimon have decent chemistry, but this isn't a typical teen love story. Like the book, The Sky Is Everywhere is as much about finding a way to survive sorrow as it is about finding love when you least expect it.
Fans of the book will recognize some of Lennie's most beautiful, quotable lines, even if they're expressed in a different context here (in the book, nearly all of her philosophical thoughts were written, not spoken). Memorable lines like "my sister will die over and over again for the rest of my life," "I wish my shadow would get up and walk beside me," and "if you're someone who knows the worst thing can happen at any time, aren't you also someone who knows the best thing can happen at any time too?" all made the script, but other aspects of the book (like Uncle Big's many marriages, Lennie and Bailey's mom's circumstances, and the depth of Lennie's obsession with Joe's long eyelashes) got cut. The film friendship between Lennie and Sarah (Ji-young Yoo) is tender but not as deeply explored in the film as it was in the novel. The magical realism elements (mostly involving Joe and Lennie) vary from lovely to contrived, depending on the scene. Bottom line? While not as iconic as the various John Green or David Levithan adaptations, The Sky Is Everywhere captures the essence of the book well enough.
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.