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Parents' Guide to

Very Good Girls

By Sandie Angulo Chen, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 16+

Bland, brooding coming-of-age drama wastes talented cast.

Movie R 2014 91 minutes
Very Good Girls Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

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

Community Reviews

age 16+

Based on 3 parent reviews

age 16+

Dakota Fanning does adult roles.

This is a Dakota Fanning movie so it has adult content. There are sex scenes and strong language.
age 16+

Good...but not for everyone!

Very good girls was not a bad watch at all, however it's not recommended for younger teens 15 and under due to some awful messages it sends out to girls. The film revolves around two very close best friends who desperately want to lose their virginity before they go off to college, I assume they are supposed to be 17/18 years old. Dakota Fanning plays Lily, the quiet one with a troubled family, who's best friends with Gerry played by Elizabeth Olsen, the outgoing, adventurous one. While enjoying a day at the beach they run into a guy called David (Boyd Holbrook) selling ice cream who is also a street artist/photographer. Instantly, Gerry has the hots for him while Lily keeps her feelings to herself. Later, Lily runs into him again and learns that he likes her as she likes him too, but she never once tells her own best friend she's seeing him even though Gerry pines for him on daily basis. Lily spends so much time with her new love that she misses out on the most important time in Gerry's life, she runs to comfort her but feels an awful guilt about seeing David behind her back. Trying to fix the matter, she sends David to visit Gerry hoping he will fall for her instead, but things get twisted when lies and betrayal start to unfold between them. Can Lily and Gerry remain the close best friends they once were? There are more bad messages than good (like having the need to lose one's virginity by a certain time to anyone, lying to your best friend, hurting others to get even, sleeping around...etc) but the good is that you overcome those mistakes and learn from them so that it's unlikely it will ever happen again. Language has f-words throughout, sh*t, bullsh*t, @ss, d*ck, b*tch, @sshole, "ta ta's referred to as breasts". Violence has an intense argument between best friends with crying, pushing and yelling. There is a death of a character talked about. Sexual content includes brief discussions about being a virgin, some kissing throughout, two characters remove their clothes (nothing shown) and have sex in a shed where we hear a moan or two and see some skin and groping. Another sex scene that's pretty brief with nothing shown. A character touches herself under her shirt but is interrupted. A married man is caught heavily making out with a woman who's not his wife (or could be in the middle of sex, as one of the characters says he was "boning" her), two characters are shown naked under blankets when one gets up we see her bare back and side breast, a character says she f-ed another character, references to cheating throughout, a much older character makes out with his much younger employee and almost go all the way until she runs away, some talk about who slept with who...etc. There is some underage drinking but not frequent. One part was very sad because I can relate. Excellent cast and excellent acting! OK for mature 16+ who aren't easily influenced.

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (3 ):
Kids say (1 ):

Respected screenwriter (and mother of stars Maggie and Jake Gyllenhaal) Naomi Foner makes her feature film debut with this slow-moving, unremarkable character study. It's the story of 18-year-old best friends who spend a summer exploring their sexuality, pushing their friendship, and dealing with parental issues. Although Olsen and Fanning are both wonderful actresses, they're miscast as contemporaries (their five-year age gap is glaringly obvious, as is the fact that Holbrook is a decade older than Fanning), and their talent can't save this soporific and self-indulgent drama.

It's always a shame when a guy (however temporarily) comes between young women, particularly when the guy is basically a hipster stereotype who spends his spare time reading Sylvia Plath and pasting his close-up portraits to public spaces. The girls' home lives are supposed to be hugely contrasting, with Lily the daughter of rich and repressed WASPs -- mom (Ellen Barkin, borderline unrecognizable) is a therapist, and dad (Clark Gregg) is a doctor who's cheating on his wife -- and Gerry the daughter of rich and open leftists: mom (Demi Moore) spouts feminist advice, and dad (Richard Dreyfuss) spouts leftist leanings. But all of the parents, especially Moore and Dreyfuss, have little to do, as does Peter Sarsgaard (Foner's son in law) as Lily's creepily interested boss. Holbrook, on the other hand, has SO much to do, but he doesn't have enough charisma to pull off being "the guy," so the whole movie basically becomes one big head scratcher about why Lily and Gerry would risk their friendship to be with him. The story initially has promise, but it just doesn't deliver.

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