A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that The Undoing is a psychological thriller about a young mother who is murdered. The show focuses on a group of Manhattan parents, their social circles, and the private school their children attend, particularly Grace (Nicole Kidman), her son (Noah Jupe), and her husband (Hugh Grant). The show features lots of sexual content, including full frontal nudity. Violence is shown sparingly. The murder itself is not seen, but the bloody body is briefly shown. Moderate profanity includes "f--k," "s--t," "damn," etc. Though the plots and creative teams are not related, The Undoing feels like a thematic sequel to the popular Big Little Lies. It moves at a similarly slow pace, draws suspense from a mysterious murder that may involve the main characters, and has a familiar set-up in which a mother from a lower social class infiltrates a wealthy group of friends.
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What's the story?
THE UNDOING takes place among a circle of parents whose children all attend the prestigious Reardon School in Manhattan. Grace (Nicole Kidman) is a therapist who is helping the other mothers plan a fancy auction fundraiser for the school. Another mother, Elena (Matilda De Angelis), shows up to a planning meeting to help, but seems awkward and doesn't quite fit in with the others. When Elena is found dead the day after the fundraiser, Grace finds out her husband (Hugh Grant) is a suspect in her killing.
Is it any good?
It's tough for a psychological thriller to be good when the characters don't actually have inner lives. The Undoing -- which attempts to follow in the footsteps of recent successful HBO miniseries Big Little Lies and Sharp Objects (but feels incredibly shallow in comparison) -- hinges upon the relationship between Grace (Nicole Kidman) and Jonathan (Hugh Grant), but there's nothing especially interesting about them. Instead, it becomes clear that Grace is the nicest person in a group of snooty socialites, which is maybe one of the least dramatic things for a show to be about. Among other things, Big Little Lies and Sharp Objects made the most of their coastal California and rural Missouri settings. The Undoing, on the other hand, makes upper Manhattan look like an anonymous collection of parking structures and crosswalks. If it were aiming for style over substance that would be one thing, but The Undoing doesn't have much of either.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the murder. Who is Elena? How do the other characters feel about her? Is there something mysterious about her? How is the relationship between Grace and Elena different from the relationships between Grace and the other mothers?
What do we know about Grace and her family? How does Grace's work affect how she relates to her family and friends? What do we learn about Grace and her family as the show evolves? How does that change how you feel about them?
What do we know about the Reardon School? How does the school inform the characters' relationships? Do you think the show has a point-of-view about the school and the parents? What might it be?
Our editors recommend
For kids who love psychological thrillers
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.
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