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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Get rid of toxic people in your life. Get help for depression and/or anxiety.
Positive Role Models
Hannah is a teenager searching for herself. Depressed and contemplating suicide, she's also running from a toxic ex-relationship that she ends by admirably standing up to her ex. Hannah's brother cares about his sister and protects her to the extent he can.
Violence & Scariness
A teenage girl puts a gun to her head and cries. She looks like she will pull the trigger. A teenage girl thinks about cutting her arms with scissors.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Some romantic kissing. Teenagers undress to their underwear and bathing suits. Teenagers discuss relationships, exes, and love.
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Strong language includes: "f--k," "f--king," "s--t," "bitch," "asshole," "hell," "damn," and "Jesus Christ!"
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Teenagers drink beers stolen from parents. Teenagers also smoke weed and get high.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that West Michigan is a low-budget indie drama about a teenage girl looking for herself. There's strong language throughout the film ("f--k," "f--king," "s--t," "bitch," "asshole," "hell," "damn," and "Jesus Christ!"), teenagers drink stolen beers and smoke weed, and a teenage girl puts a gun to her head. Afterward, there are some references to what happened with the suicide attempt, but it's never directly talked about. A girl also thinks about cutting her arms with scissors. In terms of sexual content, there's some romantic kissing and relationship talk. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
The writing, acting, and tone of this film are all inconsistent and often quite poor, but the intention in West Michigan is clearly genuine and loving. Director Riley Warmoth, who also plays Charlie, Hannah's brother, clearly loves his real-life sister Chloe Ray Warmoth (Hannah). But for the sake of the story and film, Charlie probably shouldn't have been so involved. The first half of the film almost entirely consists of different conversations between Hannah and Charlie while they slowly make their way to their destination. But the siblings don't indicate that they're especially close or share similar interests. This discontinuity amounts to the feeling that Charlie simply doesn't need to be in the film, or at least, in the film nearly as much, because the second he's gone, the film gets a lot better (also, it doesn't help that as an actor, Riley Warmoth is quite stiff and awkward).
The second half focuses on Hannah meeting a random group of teenagers camping, and they hang out for a while. The film suffers from being meandering and largely about things that occupy and concern very privileged and affluent (as noted by the house they return to at the end of the film) White young adults. Certainly, depression, abusive/toxic relationships, suicidal thoughts, and cutting are all very serious, but this film doesn't attempt to engage with any of these topics at all (after Hannah's "attempt," the film never really brings it up again beyond Charlie later in the film telling Hannah, "You know I have to tell our parents, right?") let alone engage with them with any real experience, weight, or maturity. Without exploring these important subjects, it feels like these rich White kids are just bored and don't know what to do with themselves.
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.