Turnover

Movie review by
Brian Costello, Common Sense Media
Turnover Movie Poster Image
Dramedy challenges stereotypes; some cursing, drinking.
  • NR
  • 2019
  • 123 minutes

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

Positive Messages

Movie confronts stereotypes, shows strength in diversity. 

Positive Role Models & Representations

Mentally challenged characters, paroled characters, elderly characters are presented as human beings with dignity and humor rather than shallow stereotypes. 

Violence

Lead character punches a drunk and belligerent character in the face. Character accidentally stabbed in the arm with a knife, some blood, taken to the hospital. 

Sex

While in the hospital, lead character's hand accidentally brushes against the breasts of the nurse, who tells him that it's "one of the perks of the job." 

Language

Some cursing, including "a--hole," "bulls--t," "goddamn," "jackass," "hell." 

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Lead character usually smoking cigarettes. Other characters smoke cigarettes. At end of credits is a statement in which filmmakers say that they don't advocate smoking. Customer in cafe keeps a flask, pours contents in her coffee as well as her friends' coffee. Character gets drunk on wine, acts surly toward lead character, insults other characters. 

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Turnover is a 2019 dramedy in which a quirky group of outcasts find purpose and friendship in a reopened restaurant. The lead character is almost always smoking cigarettes; while the movie has a disclaimer saying that the movie doesn't condone smoking cigarettes, this statement is buried near the end of the credits. However, this lead character requires hospitalization due to his unhealthy habits and stress levels. There's some drinking, including scenes in which an older woman pours alcohol from a flask into her coffee and her friends' coffee, and a scene in which a man gets drunk on wine, behaves in a belligerent manner, and gets punched. While in the hospital, the lead character accidentally brushes one of the nurse's breasts, and when he apologizes, she responds by saying that it's "one of the perks of the job." Some profanity is heard, including "a--hole" and "bulls--t." While there are some stereotypical depictions (an Indian chef, for instance), the movie goes way beyond stereotypes in its depictions of the mentally challenged, the elderly, and parolees, allowing these characters to be people rather than two-dimensional punchlines. The positive messages and earnest presentation go far in overcoming the rough edges and low budget. 

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What's the story?

In TURNOVER, Peter is the owner of the Cresperie Café, a popular French eatery in the neighborhood. His manager, Henry, is disgruntled, and after he's snubbed out of a promotion, Henry decides to get revenge. While Peter is out boating, Henry hires a new staff, including a recently paroled ex-felon, a saucy elderly woman who is hard of hearing, a mentally challenged boyfriend and girlfriend, a Goth slacker, and, to top it off, a timid young man with no real business experience. When this is accomplished, Henry quits, leaving Peter to deal with the chaos unleashed. While off to a rocky start, the employees of the restaurant start to work together, and soon they have transformed the place into the Eclectic Café, where the regulars are as quirky as the employees -- a place where "love has no boundaries." 

Is it any good?

It's rough around the edges, but this film ultimately wins out for those looking for a feel-good, earnest dramedy. Turnover is a low-budget indie with some moments of amateurish storytelling and community theater acting, but the overall message of acceptance of those who are often marginalized finds a way to shine through. 

Some of the flaws, however, can't be overlooked. For instance, in a movie that's trying to overcome stereotyping, the chef at the beginning of the movie is a flustered Indian whose final word is "Namaste." Instead of acceptance of the "Goth slacker's" fashion and hair choices, it's considered a triumph that (spoiler alert) she looks more "normal" at the end of the movie. Again, it's not perfect, but the overall takeaway is a heartfelt and positive movie in an era where cynicism is the default setting. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about stereotyping in movies. Throughout movie history, there are countless instances of groups of people being stereotyped -- often in an attempt at humor -- by race, ethnicity, age, gender, etc. How does Turnover attempt to go beyond these limiting and hurtful stereotypes in its portrayal of the Eclectic Café staff? 

  • How is this an example of a "low-budget indie" movie? What would be the challenges in making a movie with limited resources? 

  • Does this movie glamorize cigarette smoking, as was the case in Hollywood for decades, or does the movie show the health risks associated with a lifetime of smoking? 

Movie details

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