Movie Mom

Movie Mom


crazy/beautiful

posted by rkumar
C+
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
Profanity:Strong language
Nudity/Sex:Sexual references and situations
Alcohol/Drugs:Characters abuse drugs and alcohol
Violence/Scariness:Drunk driving, no one hurt
Diversity Issues:A theme of the movie
Movie Release Date:2001

Sensitive but highly responsible and straight-laced guys have been falling for sensitive but high-maintenance and irresponsible girls in movies since before they started selling popcorn from theater concession stands. That theme has been played for comedy (“Bringing Up Baby”) or poignancy (“The Sterile Cuckoo”), and its appeal is enduring, especially to teenagers, which is where this latest entry will find its most sympathetic audience.

Kirsten Dunst plays Nicole, the troubled daughter of a California congressman (Bruce Davison). She and her best friend Matty spend as much of their time as possible either getting wasted, getting into trouble, or both. She meets Carlos (Jay Hernandez), a poor but hard-working Latino boy who has to get up at 5 am to get to school and who dreams of going to the Naval Academy to become a pilot.

Nicole and Carlos are drawn to each other. At first, Nicole treats him like another drug. She brings him back to her house, tosses him a condom, and unzips her pants. He is another way to erase her feelings and hurt her father. But his tenderness and authenticity and his interest in knowing and loving the real Nicole, not the bad girl or the fun girl or the up for anything girl she can pretend to be make her want to deserve him.

Carlos has felt the burden of delivering all his family’s dreams of achievement. Every second of his life is planned. He is drawn to Nicole’s spontaneity and warmth. But he does not know if he is prepared to risk everything he has worked for to try to save her from herself.

There is nothing new here, but Dunst and Hernandez deliver warm, thoughtful performances as the two leads. Dunst is a little beyond her range, but deserves credit for taking on a complex challenge and being willing to present herself as vulnerable and without a movie-star glow. The director (who also did the first-rate docudrama “Cheaters,” about a real-life Chicago high school team that cheated on a scholastic competition) has a real feel for teenagers.

The weakest points are the cardboard character bad guys (the evil stepmother, played by the talented Lucinda Jenney, is an inexcusable stereotype) and the teen-dream resolution, in which everything turns out all right after a parent admits it was all his fault and sees the light. But that is just one more aspect of this teen fantasy that will appeal to its target audience. Many movies about teenage life feel more authentic to adults (who, after all, create them) than to teens themselves. I suspect that this will seem false to adults, but will seem real to a lot of 15-year-olds, whose stage of life leaves them naturally hypersensitive and with heightened emotions. They will also identify with the way the film portrays the importance (and unconditional support) of friends, the insensitivity of classmates and teachers, and the neglect of parents.

Parents should know that the movie includes very strong language, drug use and drinking by teenagers, driving under the influence, sexual references and situations, and difficult emotional confrontations. An off-camera suicide and suicide attempts are discussed. The romance is inter-racial, triggering some hostility from both sides, and there is an ugly racial dispute.

Families who see this movie should discuss the difficulty Nicole and her father have in showing love for one another, the way that Carlos does not want to have sex with Nicole until he can be sure it is for the right reason and at the right time in their relationship and the way that Nicole’s love for Carlos (and for her sister, Megan) makes her want to get better so that she can feel she deserves to be loved in return. When did Carlos stop being a symbol to Nicole and start being a human being?

Families who like this movie will also like “Save the Last Dance” and “The Sterile Cuckoo.”



Previous Posts

After the Ice Bucket Challenge: Two Upcoming Movies About People With ALS
The Ice Bucket Challenge has brought a lot of money and attention to a devastating illness, ALS or Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, sometimes called Lou Gehrig's Disease for the the New York Yankee who had to leave baseball when he was afflicted with ALS. Two upcoming films about people with ALS

posted 7:00:17am Sep. 02, 2014 | read full post »

Thursdays in September on Turner Classic Movies: The Jewish Experience on Film
This month, TCM has an excellent series of films about the Jewish experience, every Thursday. TCM proudly presents The Projected Image: The Jewish Experience on Film, a weekly showcase of movies focusing on Jewish history and heritage as portrayed onscreen. Co-hosting the films each Thursday is D

posted 9:21:56pm Sep. 01, 2014 | read full post »

Start the School Year With a No-Screen Week
A new study shows another good reason to detox from all screen time now and then, especially for kids.  Children who take a five-day break from all screens are better at reading real-life facial expressions to understand the emotions of the people around them.  Psyblog described the study, which s

posted 3:56:33pm Sep. 01, 2014 | read full post »

COMING THIS MONTH: September 2014 Movies
Happy September!  There isn't much new in theaters this Friday, but next week things start to pick up. Here's the best of what's coming in theaters this month: September 12: "Dolphin Tale 2"  This sequel to the endearing fact-based "Dolphin Tale" brings back stars Harry Connick, Jr., Morgan Fr

posted 8:00:52am Sep. 01, 2014 | read full post »

Labor Day 2014: Movies About Unions
Today we pay tribute to workers, especially those who worked for better conditions for everyone. Sally Field won an Oscar for this real-life story about a courageous woman who helped mill workers form a union. [youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=45CX8W9peTs[/youtube] Doris Day plays

posted 7:00:42am Sep. 01, 2014 | read full post »




Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.