Parents' Guide to

What We Wanted

By JK Sooja, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 16+

Couple deals with infertility; nudity, language, sex.

Movie NR 2020 93 minutes
What We Wanted Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

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

Community Reviews

There aren't any parent reviews yet. Be the first to review this title.

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say: Not yet rated
Kids say: Not yet rated

Solid performances in this broody film don't lead to a satisfying conclusion. What We Wanted is written, shot, and acted wonderfully, but the story stalls out in the second half. It's a very clearly focused film in the first half, committed to exploring the inner depths, pains, and sorrows of a childless woman and the struggle her husband endures trying to move on and make the best of it. This stereotypical set up doesn't change. The second half is vague because it doesn't know where to go. To conclude the story, the film can't simply deliver a child to Alice or find a sudden way to make Alice okay with not conceiving a child, so it chooses a deus ex machina that ultimately forces everyone to simply go home. There are condolences and niceties. Then with more contentment than before, Alice and Niklas embrace, smile, and kiss, faces far less forlorn for some reason now that they witnessed their vacation neighbor's teen kid try to commit suicide.

Alice and Niklas are likable enough. Their intimately sad portrayal of a couple near the end of a years-long journey to biologically conceive a child is sensitively honest and delivered well. The writing deftly touches upon marital sensitivities that can often take over when dealing with certain issues like this. The only problem is that Alice is very much not into the idea of adoption. This is common, perhaps, but only one conversation is devoted to adoption, and it merely supports Alice's reasons for her limited no adoption position ("I want mine or nothing! It's your eyes, my hair, our features, or nothing!") which only servers to solidify the film's very heteronormative foundations. Additionally, for some alternative families, queer families, adoptee families, single parent families, and even some normative families the stance of these characters (and this film) can make it hard to care about them, Alice's particular pain, Niklas's suffering, and their collective struggle.

Movie Details

Inclusion information powered by

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.

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

See how we rate