Movie review by
Tracy Moore, Common Sense Media
X/Y Movie Poster Image
Unfocused indie drama has lots of sex, profanity.
  • NR
  • 2014
  • 82 minutes

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A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

No positive messages here.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Characters are largely lost and self-obsessed; though they try to make connections with each other and are in various phases of looking for love, they continually hit barriers of their own making and remain isolated.


Multiple sex scenes shot shoulders up. Brief nudity of men's rear ends in a few instances. Two women kiss; two men kiss and have implied intercourse. Many conversations revolve around who slept with whom; discussions of STDs and cheating; a man says he has to "get his juice in" his wife because she's ovulating.


Frequent use of "f--k" throughout; "d--k," "p--sy," "s--t."

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Characters drink shots at a bar; casual smoking; drinks at a club; two men share a joint.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that X/Y is a mature indie film that focuses on New Yorkers drifting about in ambiguous interpersonal relationships. Multiple scenes of casual, cheating, and rebound sex, discussions of STDs, brief nudity (male backsides), smoking and drinking, and "f--k" throughout keep this film off-limits except for mature teens. The characters are largely unlikable, and the film lacks a cohesive structure or a strong point of view that could engender rewarding discussion.

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What's the story?

New York 20-something friends Mark (Ryan Piers Williams), Sylvia (America Fererra), Jen, and Jake drift through their lives and the city trying to find love and connections but find themselves continually isolated and confused.

Is it any good?

X/Y doesn't have an agenda. Here are four friends who just don't have things figured out yet, and, as a result, they spend their time making bad choices in a misguided attempt to meet needs they don't quite yet understand. Although this is a fairly accurate take on what it means for many Westerners to experience their twenties, and some of the scenes are painfully accurate depictions of awkward young adult encounters, the filmmaker refuses to take this a step further and help us understand what each character longs for or how they all come together in a way that tells us something bigger about humanity or this particular tribe. Instead, there are a handful of vignettes with no connective tissue. That the characters are unlikable is not necessarily a problem, but without understanding what they seek or compensate for, we never get far enough past the surface to care much.

Some teens may be drawn to this seemingly sophisticated, disaffected, and dark portrait of adulthood, but there's a lot of casual sex, some talk about STDs, cheating, casual drinking and smoking, and callousness toward each other that is worth helping them understand in context: Why do these characters make these choices? What, in essence, is wrong with them? Is this a fair portrait of 20-somethings, or is this really a portrait of privilege? It's all good fodder for teens mature enough to examine these issues, if that's possible to do without unduly romanticizing them.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how New York and the 20-something experience is portrayed in the film. How is it like or unlike most films you see about this subject? Do you think it paints a realistic portrait?

  • What is the filmmaker's message about this period in his subjects' lives? What does he seem to be trying to say about their experience? Are any of these characters likable? Why, or why not?

  • How do the portrayals of sex and drinking factor into the lives of these characters? How do their choices complicate their lives?

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love indie films and dramas

Themes & Topics

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