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Parents' Guide to

The World Without You

By Brian Costello, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 16+

Adult themes, sex, cursing in thoughtful family drama.

Movie NR 2019 95 minutes
The World Without You Poster Image

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The World Without You is a thoughtful drama exploring a family on the verge of falling apart. Reuniting for what may very well be the last time for a memorial to commemorate a family member killed one year ago while covering the Iraq War as a reporter, the family must confront their many issues. All the marital woes, sibling bitterness, and simmering resentments are constantly bubbling beneath the surface, so much so that the spark that causes the explosion seems like it could happen anywhere at any time. What the movie so beautifully and painfully captures is this this portrait of individuals, couples, and family members no longer able to maintain a facade that's crumbling anyway for all to see. The actors brilliantly convey the many tensions these characters are living with, and how close they are to simply walking away from each other for good.

The movie is based on a novel, and like the family itself, there are moments when it seems as if the numerous conflicts are going to overwhelm the central story, but it maintains a steady focus amidst all this chaos. The complexities of the different characters would be a challenge that many filmmakers wouldn't succeed at when adapting this novel into a story, but the assured direction and the gifted ensemble cast more than rise to the challenge. The movie's slow external pace and very heavy adult themes make this best for mature teens and adults, and should inspire discussion on the many topics and conflicts the characters contend with and how difficulties can strengthen or destroy relationships.

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