Parental Guidance

How Family-Friendly Are 'Til Death Do Us Part and Our Souls At Night

by | September 29, 2017 | Comments

Most of the biggest movies opening this week are rated R, but there’s at least one wide release and one new film simultaneously hitting Netflix that promise slightly less adult-oriented entertainment. Read on for details on a domestic violence thriller and a drama about love late in life, as well as couple of DVD releases.


NOW IN THEATERS

 

'Til Death Do Us Part (2017)

Rating: PG-13, for thematic elements involving domestic abuse, violence, some sexuality and language.

This is essentially a remake of the 1991 Julia Roberts thriller Sleeping With the Enemy, with an African-American cast. Annie Ilonzeh stars as a beautiful woman living a comfortable life with her handsome, doting husband (Stephen Bishop). But increasingly, he shows his controlling and jealous sides – and he eventually abuses her, mentally and physically, even though she’s pregnant with his child. She runs away to start a new life and thinks she’s found happiness – until one day when her husband tracks her down and arrives at her door. This is a pretty mature film with dramatic, disturbing images of domestic violence. There’s quite a bit of language and – in the couple’s happier times – some sexual images and discussions. There’s also a major car crash, a shooting and general melodramatic insanity. At the same time, director Chris Stokes’ film also has the good intention of encouraging domestic violence victims to seek help. Suitable for viewers around 12 or 13 and older.


Our Souls at Night (2017) 89%

Rating: Unrated but contains adult situations and discussions and drunkenness.

Fifty years after co-starring for the first time in Barefoot in the Park, Jane Fonda and Robert Redford reunite once again in this sweet story about finding love later in life. Their characters — widowed neighbors living in the same small, Colorado town — enter into an arrangement in which they sleep together nightly to fight loneliness. That’s it – just sleep. For a long time, their relationship remains platonic as they drift off discussing everything from mundane daily activities to long-held wishes and regrets. Eventually, though, their connection becomes more intimate, which director Ritesh Batra depicts tastefully with some chaste hotel-room kissing. Fonda’s character’s troubled son (Matthias Schoenaerts) also enters the picture as a drunk and sometimes neglectful dad to his own 7-year-old son. There’s a brief bit of conflict. But for the most part, Our Souls at Night – which is opening theatrically in limited release and available everywhere on Netflix – is a nice, well-acted picture that provides a solid showcase for its veteran superstars. Fine for ages 10 and older.


NEW ON DVD

 

Transformers: The Last Knight (2017) 16%

Rating: PG-13, for violence and intense sequences of sci-fi action, language, and some innuendo.

It made over $605 million worldwide this summer — and that’s why they keep on making these Transformers movies, even though they’re terrible. Tweens and older should be fine watching it, however, even though Michael Bay’s latest somehow manages to be more incoherent than its predecessors. Once again, the planet is in peril, and only Mark Wahlberg playing a guy named Cade Yeager can save it. Giant robots smash into each other and their alien planet, Cybertron, might smash into Earth to drain it of all its energy. Bay’s film is, as always, a massive, cacophonous spectacle. There’s a ton of violence here, beginning with a battle set during the time of King Arthur. In the present day, the robot combat causes a ton of destruction, as always — and explosions. So many explosions. There’s quite a bit of language throughout as various characters insult each other and freak out about the possibility of the world ending. And there’s some mildly racy humor as Wahlberg’s character exchanges allegedly snappy banter with a brilliant and suggestively dressed professor (Laura Haddock), but kids probably won’t get it. My son (who’s nearly 8) saw it in IMAX 3D and he was fine, but kids who feel uncomfortable during sensory-overload movies like this might have difficulty watching it. And at well over two hours, the latest Transformers will probably be a tough sit for many young viewers.


47 Meters Down (2017) 55%

Rating: PG-13, for sequences of intense, peril, bloody images, and brief strong language.

Tweens and older should be fine watching this unabashed B-movie about beautiful young women in danger of becoming shark food. In fact, they’ll probably love it. 47 Meters Down is lean and mean, and it has some decent scares as well as some impressive underwater camerawork. Mandy Moore and Claire Holt co-star as sisters on a diving trip in Mexico in which they climb into a cage to swim with great whites. But the cable tying them to the boat snaps, plunging them to the bottom of the ocean, where myriad dangers abound. This is a pretty intense little movie. People suffer shark bites and one character dies. It’s dark and scary down there, and the women are constantly aware that they could die at any moment. Understandably, they frequently panic – which depletes their oxygen supply faster, which makes them panic even more. There’s also quite a bit of cursing and a little bit of kissing.

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