Parents' Guide to

This Is the Year

By Tara McNamara, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 10+

Tween-friendly romcom rights the wrongs of '80s teen films.

Movie NR 2021 96 minutes
This Is the Year Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 2+

Based on 1 parent review

age 2+


Safe for the whole family! A true nod to the bodacious 80's movies we all learned to love, THIS IS THE YEAR brings an often told story to life on screen with humor, expertly directed shots by director David Henrie (Wizards of Waverly Place) and a cast of standout talent. (Not to mention somewhat of a WIZARDS OF WAVERLY PLACE reunion with Selena Gomez producing, Gregg Sulkin as Kale and Jeff Garlin as Mr. Elmer.) Lorenzo James Henrie (Fear the Walking Dead) plays Josh with earnest puppy-dog eyed optimism. Molly (Vanessa Marano - Gilmore Girls) is the true wing man...erm...wing woman to Josh's antics. Marano is quite possibly the most captivating in the film, drawing you into every scene she graces. Her comedic timing allows her to volley back and forth with the entire cast, including the hilarious BroadwayWorld Award Winner Josh Rhett Noble (Law & Order: SVU, TIME: The Kalief Browder Story) seen in a comedic cameo as grumpy "patron" Jared. (Whom we assume must just live at the theater.) The rest of the cast does a stellar job teetering between the over-the-top tubular antics you'd expect in 80's classics but grounding the scenes with truth. Alyssa Jirrels (The Good Doctor, Girl Meets World) is especially good at this as Zoey, bringing an affable and endearing portrayal to what would usually be the one dimensional "hot girl". Same goes for Jake Short (A.N.T. Farm) who brings his character of Mikey to life with ease. It may be a love tale as old as time, but if you find yourself "jonesing" for a great classic escape, THIS IS THE YEAR has got it. TOTALLY!

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (1 ):
Kids say (1 ):

Gomez and Henrie's Disney Channel roots are showing: They've created a teen romantic comedy inspired by '80s films that's actually family-friendly. Movies send messages, and in the 1980s, some of those were (perhaps unintentionally) negative, especially when it came to dating. With This Is the Year, Henrie gets in front of that influential train to create a forward-thinking throwback to help today's kids understand that, yes, films are fun, but there's much more to life than what we see on the screen. Josh starts out like a lot of kids: catching an "old" movie (because the '80s are old now) and getting caught up in the high school world it presents, where the coolest people in school are also the most beautiful and athletic and always say the right thing. He and his nextdoor neighbor, Molly, grow up obsessed with this movie and have based their own romantic expectations off of it. When both lay their eyes on people who look similar to the characters they've spent so much time thinking about, they're sure that these are the true loves who've been waiting for them their whole life. You can probably guess how the film ends, and that's OK -- that's really the point.

Henrie intentionally follows the path of many an '80s teen film, and lovers of that era's back catalog will be giddy spotting all of the references. For instance, Josh has to write an essay for graduation that's very similar to the assignment given to a certain group stuck in all-day detention. But Henrie's screenplay also reflects the elements of life that today's kids love and loathe, including music festivals, food trucks, and self-important artists. Henrie makes a strong writing and directing feature debut and shows an ability to appreciate the past and blend it with modern attitudes to create multigenerational entertainment. Many years may have passed since their series went off the air, but, as a filmmaking team, he and Gomez show they still have the power to turn mischief into magic.

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