A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that You Get Me is a horror-thriller movie starring Bella Thorne as an emotionally disturbed stalker. Thorne's character meets her soon-to-be obsession at a party where teens are drinking and smoking pot. She eventually takes him to a dance club, where she peer-pressures him into taking drugs, which leads to a one-night stand (no nudity, but strongly implied). One teen boy tells another of a girl that "she sucked it like a champ." Violence is more on the "thriller" end of the horror movie spectrum than the gory end: A woman is suffocated with a plastic bag, someone is stabbed in the side with a poker, and an implied death is made via a Snapchat-style picture. The only scene with any blood is when a girl gets a bloody nose during a seizure after her smoothie is spiked. Swearing is frequent and includes "f--k" and its variations. Any attempts at thoughtful and nuanced discussion of mental illness, the potential long-term ramifications of casual teen sex, or anything else feel clunky and forced at best.
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What's the story?
In YOU GET ME, Tyler (Taylor John Smith) and Alison (Halston Sage) are in the midst of a seemingly perfect summer teen romance. All of that changes when they go to a party and an ex of Alison informs Tyler of Alison's wayward recent past, which infuriates Tyler, because Alison had told Tyler that she wanted to wait until their relationship developed further before having sex, and Tyler believes Alison lied to him about her character. An argument ensues, and during the very brief window in which they break up, Tyler meets Holly (Bella Thorne), someone he has never seen before. Holly seems sympathetic to what Tyler is dealing with and offers to drive him away from the party. Instead of taking him home, they go to a dance club, where Holly persuades Tyler to get high on Molly. When Tyler wakes up the next day, he wakes up in a strange house, and realizes he had a one-night stand with Holly. He thinks he leaves Holly on good terms, and then gets back together with Alison after she explains how she's trying to turn her life around. Tyler believes that all of this is behind him until school starts up again and he sees Holly, who tells him that she has now transferred to his high school. She quickly befriends Alison and Tyler's other friends, but it becomes obvious to Tyler that Holly is obsessed with him and will stop at nothing to pick up where they left off last summer. Now Tyler must decide if he should tell Alison the truth about the one-night stand, and he must also figure out just who this Holly is, a teen who is shockingly nowhere to be found on social media or anyplace else on the internet.
Is it any good?
This movie is a mess from beginning to end. For starters, there are plot holes large enough to sail an aircraft carrier through. The lapses in common sense even in the warped logic of the movie are confounding and not suspenseful in the typical horror movie way where the audience feels compelled to yell, "Don't open that door!" when a murder seems imminent. Despite the attempts to realistically convey drinking and drug use among teens at parties, as well as issues like "slut shaming," casual sex versus waiting until a couple is ready, and growing up relatively poor in an otherwise affluent community, it's hard to imagine most teens -- especially teens who contend with these issues in real life -- identifying with the characters in any meaningful way. The issues feel shoehorned in, in an attempt to make characters who otherwise ooze privilege, beauty, and easy access to pristine beaches somehow as human as the rest of us.
Even forgetting all that for a moment, the storyline is so similar to so many other "stalker" movies already released that it's hard to fathom why this was made in the first place. While it seems plausible that the actors, who are at least trying to bring something to the table, could have delivered something better with a few more takes and a few more rewrites, it appears the filmmakers were more concerned with the style of getting the swimming pool lights just the right pastel shade, or the electronic dance music cued up in just the right moment. And right before it seems You Get Me might have the courage to deal honestly with mental illness in teenagers, it chickens out and just establishes that Bella Thorne's character isn't just "cray" but certifiably so. Such cavalier dismissal and exploitation of mental illness is as good an indication as any of how lazy and half-baked this movie is, and it seems like it's only intended to be fodder for late-teen frat-bros to ogle Thorne while thinking sexist thoughts about the "crazy women" they've met at their own parties.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the way teen sex is conveyed and discussed in You Get Me. Did it seem realistic or contrived? Why?
This movie is similar to other movies in which someone -- a roommate or a spurned lover, for instance -- becomes dangerously obsessive. Why is this such a popular storyline?
How does this movie address topics such as teenage drinking and drug use, casual sex, abstaining from sex, and the treatment of mental illness?
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