Chasing Life



Conversation-starter drama has hopeful message.

What parents need to know

Positive messages

The most enduring theme is one of inner strength and determination in the face of life's challenges. All characters bring emotional baggage to the mix and at times get weighed down by what they face, but the messages typically are hopeful. Characters who demonstrate positive traits such as honesty and forgiveness are most successful. 

Positive role models

April isn't perfect, and she's particularly prone to pushing moral limits when it comes to getting ahead at work. But when life throws her a curve ball, she meets it head on and without fear. She's surrounded by good people in her family and among her friends; the exception is her sister, Brenna, who's fighting her own emotional demons. 

Not applicable

Adults joke about using sex to help career aspirations. Playful banter implies that partners are interested in sleeping together. Suggestive terms such as "booty call" and "spreading your legs" are part of casual conversation. Kissing is shown. 


Rarely "bitch."


References to Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter. 

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Adults drink beer and mixed drinks in social settings. Brenna uses alcohol and partying as an escape tactic, and it puts her in vulnerable situations because of her impaired judgment. There are references to drug use, and it's implied that it goes on at parties that teens attend. 

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Chasing Life is an emotionally charged drama series that doesn't gloss over the fallout of the main character's struggle with her own mortality. The characters talk about death as it relates to April's situation and to the recent loss of her father. A rebellious teen escapes the pressures of her life by drinking and hanging out with a questionable crowd, which puts her in some dangerous situations from which she needs to be rescued by family members. Sex is a recurring topic of conversation and often includes crass references such as "booty call" and "spreading your legs," but physical encounters usually stop at kissing. Strong language such as "bitch" is rare. On the upside, this well-crafted series deals with serious issues with care and purpose, which yields good messages about the strength of the human spirit. 

What's the story?

After losing her father in a car accident and barely holding her family together, twentysomething April Carver (Italia Ricci) is finally taking a deep breath and embracing the possibilities of her future. She's gotten a big break at work, things are on the right track with her romantic interest, Dominic (Richard Brancatisano), and her widowed mother, Sara (Mary Page Keller), is moving past her grief. Then a chance encounter with her estranged uncle (Steven Weber) delivers news she never could have imagined: She has cancer. Suddenly her carefully laid plans threaten to crumble before her eyes as she wrestles with her own mortality. CHASING LIFE is the story of April's fight to recapture her bright future in the face of daunting odds.

Is it any good?


Adapted from a Spanish-language Mexican telenovela, Chasing Life adeptly tackles emotional issues such as family struggles, love, loss, and death. Ricci is superb in the role of April, a rising star in the news industry who refuses to give in to the unexpected hand she's dealt or to overburden her loved ones with her troubles. But she's no silent martyr either. She gives in to fear and a sense of unfairness from time to time, and those moments of raw emotion are what make her role so believable.

It's impossible to watch a story like this without imagining yourself in a similar real-life role, and that's the stuff that great entertainment -- and great discussions with your teens -- are made of. Chasing Life does an excellent job of keeping the content accessible by not overdramatizing what already are life-altering events. As April copes with her new reality, the fact that she does so with grace and determination and with the support of her family and friends bodes well for the show's messages about perseverance. 

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about getting through life's hard times. Teens: What are some of your sources of strength when you're facing a difficult challenge? What activities help you cope with stress? 

  • April struggles to put the past behind her, particularly when it comes to her relationship with her uncle. Why is forgiveness sometimes hard to give? What can be gained by reconciling past wrongs and moving forward? 

  • What are some examples of the kinds of love that exist among the characters? How does our capacity to love change for different people in our lives? How do you deal with relationships that have a negative effect on you? 

  • In what ways is alcohol used as an escape for one or more of the characters? What messages does this send about drinking? Is the element of its danger different for adults than it is for teens in the real world? Why, or why not? 

This review of Chasing Life was written by

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


Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

Find out more

Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

Find out more

About our buy links

When you use our links to make a purchase, Common Sense Media earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes. As a nonprofit organization, these funds help us continue providing independent, ad-free services for educators, families, and kids while the price you pay remains the same. Thank you for your support.
Read more

See more about how we rate and review.

About Our Rating System

The age displayed for each title is the minimum one for which it's developmentally appropriate. We recently updated all of our reviews to show only this age, rather than the multi-color "slider." Get more information about our ratings.

Great handpicked alternatives

What parents and kids say

See all user reviews

Share your thoughts with other parents and kids Write a user review

A safe community is important to us. Please observe our guidelines

Teen, 17 years old Written byPrincessOso16 August 14, 2014

Great show

This show is really good, I think common sense media have the age rating right with 14+. It's a great show with good role models and can be happy, sad and funny all in one episode, I wouldn't let a child under 14 watch it though because of all the conversations about sex, they never show anything more than kissing in bed but there is a lot of talk about it.There is a lot of drinking as well, mostly from adults but sometimes Aprils teenage sister, also some young children might not like all the talk about cancer and the parts that take place in the hospital. There is also one episode where the main character April,who is normally a good role model, and a rich man around the same age as her steal a car and don't worry about it because they know they won't be arrested as they both have cancer, which is later shown to be correct, in my opinion I wouldn't want a child watching that part.
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Kid, 12 years old August 16, 2014

Great show with a positive message

This show is very emotional so some people may cry every episode but the show is not only about cancer it is also about the relationships with the characters. This show is no fantasy and is about things that happen to people in real life. The season finale has very uneventful but had a great cliffhanger at the end. I am very pleased with this show. Me and my friends watch it together every Tuesday night and at the end of every episode somebody is crying. It is the kind of show you can watch before you go to bed and dream about. This show has a great message and at the same time always has you on the edge of your seat.
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Kid, 12 years old July 9, 2014


i have just started watching the show and it is really good. theres some iffy parts but i recommend age 12+.


Did our review help you make an informed decision about this product?

Star Wars Guide