[Screen It]


(1999) (Susan Sarandon, Natalie Portman) (PG-13)

Blood/Gore Disrespectful/
Bad Attitude
Tense Scenes
Mild None Heavy None None
Mild None None None Mild
Smoking Tense Family
Topics To
Talk About
Moderate Moderate Heavy Mild Minor

Drama: A somewhat eccentric woman packs up her small town belongings and her reluctant fourteen- year-old daughter and heads to Los Angeles hoping to make her dreams of a better life come true.
Life in Bay City, Wisconsin isn't good enough for Adele August (SUSAN SARANDON), so she packs up her belongings, as well as her reluctant fourteen-year-old daughter, Ann (NATALIE PORTMAN), and drives them across the country in their used, but recently acquired 1978 Mercedes.

Ann isn't at all happy about the trip or the move, can't stand being with her mother whose errant behavior is a constant source of embarrassment, and greatly misses her family back home including Aunt Carol (BONNIE BEDELIA) and especially her cousin Benny (SHAWN HATOSY).

After a long and fight-filled trip, the two arrive in Beverly Hills where the ever optimistic Adele hopes to make her dreams of a better life come true for herself and Ann. When they realize they can't afford to live the posh lifestyle, local realtor Gail Letterfine (CAROLINE AARON) helps them find a small apartment on the outskirts.

While Adele gets a job at a local school and flirts with men, such as orthodontist Josh Spritzer (HART BOCHNER), she'd want to marry for the luxurious lifestyle they could provide, Ann tries to deal with being the new kid at her school, and eventually makes friends with some other kids including Janice (HEATHER McCOMB) and Peter (CORBIN ALLRED), who has a major crush on her.

As time passes and they become more accustomed to their new surroundings, Ann tries to deal with her mother's unique view of the world and find a way to keep their symbiotic relationship from driving either or both of them crazy.

If they're fans of either Sarandon, Portman, or mother/daughter dramas, they might, but this one doesn't seem like it's going to be high on most kids' must-see lists.
For sex-related material.
  • SUSAN SARANDON plays a somewhat self-centered woman who uproots her life, and that of her teenage daughter, to look for a better life in Los Angles. She smokes cigars, drinks and cusses a bit and sleeps with a man on their first date.
  • NATALIE PORTMAN plays her teenage daughter who finds her to be a continual embarrassment. She's often mad at/upset with her mom and briefly uses mild profanity. She also has a boy remove his clothes (at least down to his boxers) in her apartment when her mom's not home, but we don't know what else does or doesn't happen.
  • SHAWN HATOSY plays Ann's fun-loving cousin who jokes with her about the size of her breasts and sleeping around.
  • HART BOCHNER plays an orthodontist who sleeps with Adele but then never calls her again.
  • CORBIN ALLRED plays a student who may or may not sleep with Ann (she has him strip to his underwear, but the scene ends with them kissing and then hugging).
  • CAROLINE AARON plays a realtor who helps and befriends Adele and Ann.


    Curious if this title is entertaining, any good, and/or has any artistic merit?
    Then read OUR TAKE of this film.

    (Note: The "Our Take" review of this title examines the film's artistic merits and does not take into account any of the possibly objectionable material listed below).

    The following is a brief summary of the content found in this PG-13 rated drama. The rating comes from sexually related material, although most of what presumably occurs does so off screen. Some sexually related comments are made, Adele apparently has a one-night stand with an orthodontist and briefly describes it to her daughter in veiled terms, and Ann has a fellow student strip down to his boxers in front of her, but it's never verified if they have sex or not.

    The film's strained mother/daughter relationship provides for plenty of tense family moments (arguing/fighting) that also include a relative's unexpected death and Ann trying to contact her biological father. Some bad attitudes are present among some of those "participants."

    Profanity consists of several uses of the "s" word, while other profanities and colorful phrases are also present. Some drinking occurs, while Adele smokes quite often. Beyond that and some brief violence, the rest of the film's categories are mostly void of any major objectionable content. Nonetheless, should you still be concerned about the film's appropriateness for yourself or anyone else in your home, you may wish to more closely examine our detailed content listings.

  • We see a flashback of a man drinking a beer.
  • Adele makes a comment about Ann's cousin already drinking.
  • Adele has wine.
  • Adele and a date have drinks.
  • Benny's father drinks.
  • Adele has wine.
  • Adele and a carpet man have wine with dinner.
  • None.
  • Ann has some of both as filtered through a teenager's viewpoint toward her mother at various times (mentioning, "Sometimes I just can't stand her. Sometimes I hated her.").
  • In direct relation, Adele has both toward her daughter by not being the stable force Ann needs in her life and for being mostly self-centered.
  • Adele walks into the realty showing of a house without the necessary appointment and then lies about having a doctor husband so that she and Ann can look around. Once inside, Ann sneaks a long distance call back to Benny from these strangers' house.
  • A guy doesn't return Ann's calls after she has sex with him.
  • Adele and her brother (or brother-in-law) get into a verbal fight and obviously don't get along with each other.
  • Adele opens and reads Ann's mail.
  • None.
  • None.
  • Phrases: "Laid" and "Put the wood to" (have sex), "Light in the loafers" (for being gay), "Punk" and "Shut up."
  • Adele walks into the realty showing of a house without the necessary appointment and then lies about having a doctor husband so that she and Ann can look around. Once inside, Ann sneaks a long distance call back to Benny from these strangers' house.
  • Adele sees some kid scratching the length of her Mercedes (leaving a deep and long gouge mark along it).
  • None.
  • None.
  • None.
  • At least 3 "s" words, 2 slang terms for sex ("laid"), 3 slang terms for breasts ("boobs"), 6 damns (2 used in a dual fashion and also meaning "dam"), 1 ass and 9 uses of "Oh my God," 2 each of "G-damn," "God" and "Oh God" and 1 use each of "Jesus," "Oh Jesus" and "Christ" as exclamations.
  • Ann defends her stepdad, saying that he's not gay like her mom has said. Adele then comments that saying that someone is "light in the loafers" isn't the same thing.
  • We see a photo of Ann's best hometown friend, Mary, in her underwear.
  • Adele suddenly asks Ann, "You're not having sex with anybody, are you?" Ann can't believe she's asked this and then asks, "What do you mean, am I having sex with anyone?"
  • We see Ann in a small, but not particularly revealing bikini.
  • Later we see some "Baywatch" type actresses in their standard low-cut/high-cut one-piece bathing suits.
  • Benny tells Ann that her "boobs" are getting bigger. She tells him not to be gross and he replies that "boobs aren't gross, boobs are beautiful" and the two giggle about this (he also mentioned some hometown girls whose breasts have also grown).
  • Benny then asks Ann if she has a boyfriend and if she goes to bed with him. She jokingly replies that she does and that they do it "three or four times a day." She then asks him, "What about you Benny, are you getting laid?" When he identifies his hometown girlfriend, Ann asks, "You put the wood to Susie Goodman?" He replies, "Three, sometimes four times a day." They then giggle about this.
  • Adele talks about her date with Ann and mentions that she and her date did something that grownups do in bed, but not something that everyone does, especially in Bay City. Ann then wants to know if it's something that her stepfather or her real father did, but Adele prefers to remain vague and says that they shouldn't talk about it right then. Even so, it's obviously implied that she had sex with this man (she didn't get home until early in the morning after the date).
  • During a family fight, Adele's brother (or brother-in-law) comments to her, "I know you need to get laid back in Beverly Hills."
  • Ann, during an acting audition, restates some of what her mom nebulously stated (listed above) about her sexual encounter with a man and what adults do in bed.
  • A boy from school calls Ann and tells her that he really likes her and wants to kiss her. After some reluctance, she invites him over. Thus he arrives at their apartment (Ann's mom isn't home) and after a moment Ann says, "Why don't you take off your clothes?" He then awkwardly strips down to his boxers and after another moment she says, "Take them off and bring them to me." He walks up to her and they kiss and then hug (he's still in his boxers), but we don't see anything else happen (and thus don't know if anything else happens between them).
  • Adele shows a bit of cleavage.
  • As Ann tries to persuade her mom to go to Las Vegas with a man she's met, she adds, "I'm not even asking you to sleep with him."
  • Adele smokes what look like small cigars around eight times, while a few other characters, including Ann's hometown best friend, smoke cigarettes once.
  • The movie has plenty of moments where Ann and her mother don't get along in a "typical" mother/teenage daughter fashion.
  • We learn that Adele has left her husband, but we don't know if they're divorced, separated, or exactly what their status is.
  • Ann recalls hearing her parents fighting one Christmas Eve when she was four, with her father then leaving and never returning.
  • Ann and her mom get into a fight in the car on their way to L.A. and Adele makes Ann get out of the car and then drives away, out of sight (but then does return).
  • Ann gets mad at her mom when she decides at the last moment not to attend a party.
  • Ann and her mom have a fight in front of a police officer.
  • We hear that a family member had a stroke and that another was killed in an accident (and Adele and Ann attend the funeral). Later, Adele and her brother get into a heated verbal fight.
  • Adele and Ann get into a fight in front of the teenager's friends. Later, during an audition, Adele sneaks in and hears Ann mocking her mother and her behavior and lifestyle (although she says that it wasn't rehearsed and apologizes for it).
  • Ann calls her biological father to talk to him for the first time since he left long ago. He's taken aback by her sudden call and essentially doesn't want anything to do with her and she hangs up in tears.
  • In several scenes Ann and her mom argue/fight about what college she'll attend.
  • Adele and Ann's mother/daughter relationship.
  • Ann's biological father not wanting anything to do with her.
  • We see some young guys on the street shoving each other.
  • Adele sees some kid scratching the length of her Mercedes (leaving a deep and long gouge mark along it).
  • Adele slaps her brother (or brother-in-law) after he makes a disparaging remark about her.

  • Reviewed November 4, 1999 / Posted November 12, 1999

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