OK for kids 13+
Mix of comedy and tragedy in Mexican dad-daughter tale.
What Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Instructions Not Included -- which is primarily in Spanish with English subtitles, though some scenes are played in English -- is a blend of very funny and very sad. Viewers can expect everything from sexual farce and antic slapstick comedy (a stuntman falling from great heights and repeatedly slamming into a brick wall) to the profound love between a father and his little girl. Before he knows he has a daughter, the main character is a confirmed ladies' man; his sexual dalliances are comic and without nudity, though there's a smattering of cleavage, a few male "butt" shots, and lots of rolling around in bed. There are also fart jokes, a dog peeing on camera, occasional swearing ("f--k," "bulls--t," "damn"), and sexual references ("knocks her up," "damn cheap condoms," "you did it with your sister?"). A central character is a lesbian involved in a mature, loving relationship. Fear is a recurring theme (a little boy's fear of threatening wolves is played in flashback throughout; he's also shown at the mercy of a scorpion and being thrown over a cliff, though no one is severely injured during these episodes). Spoiler alert: During the final sequence, the movie takes a tragic turn that may be too disturbing for some, with the death of a major character.
- Families can discuss how facing fear is an important theme in Instructions Not Included. Did watching any of it trigger thoughts of your own fears? How can you best deal with things that you're afraid of?
- Some films are thought to "manipulate the audience's feelings." What does this mean? What do you think the filmmakers want viewers to take away from this particular movie?
- How does the movie portray sex/sexual relationships? There's a lot of sexual humor; does that affect the impact of the content?
- This movie is a combination of many different film types/genres. What are they? What elements did you like best? What will you remember most?
The good stuff
Messages: Depicts how parenthood can bring life-changing positives and joys for even the most incorrigible of characters. Demonstrates how unselfishness, unconditional love, and finding beauty in individual moments all contribute to a rich, meaningful life. Coping with fear (both imagined and real) is a central theme.
Role models: A dad and a mom start out as irresponsible, self-involved semi-adults, but they become unselfish, devoted, and mature parents as they bond with their young daughter. In flashback, the hero's well-meaning but misguided older father subjects his young son to assorted terrors in order to "tame his fear"; the events profoundly affect the little boy.
What to watch for
Violence: There's an incredibly sad death that may upset younger/more sensitive viewers. Slapstick action in multiple sequences. The lead character is a comically inept stunt man who jumps from great heights, smashes repeatedly into a brick wall, is shot in the bottom, appears to be set on fire, and more. On a few occasions, the audience is led to believe that he hasn't survived a stunt, but he soon recovers. A toddler has two close calls: at the edge of a swimming pool and on a wild motorcycle escape with her father. Frequent shots of imagined snarling wolves and one encounter with a scorpion represent the lead adult character's difficulty in dealing with fear -- those scenes are set up early by an unwittingly cruel father who places his son in jeopardy (pushing him from a high cliff, facing wild animals) in order to make him fearless. A little girl is bullied by her peers.
Sex: There's no actual sex or nudity, but expect lots of sexual innuendo, farcical bed-hopping, and many meant-to-be-funny shots of large breasts and male butts. The adult main character starts out as a playboy; a long sequence early in the movie follows his passionate but fast-paced and funny sexual foreplay from one bed to another with assorted voluptuous sex partners, sometimes more than one at a time.
Language: Occasional swearing and sexual language (mostly in Spanish with English subtitles) includes words/phrases like "f--k," "s--t," "bulls--t," "crap," "hell," "damn," "boobs," "knocks her up," "busting my balls," "oh God" (as an exclamation), etc. Also fart jokes/sounds.
Consumerism: Aero Costa Rica, Johnny Bravo.
Drinking, drugs and smoking: An adult character smokes.
Fan Reviews provided by
Instructions..... by michellee2752
I was disappointed to see this movie was mostly Spanish with English subtitles. I walked out and got my money refunded. Cannot keep up with subtitles as I have cataracts, and my 11 yr. old step son found it difficult to keep up with the subtitles.
If we live in America, all movies should be in English.
Definitely a rental to watch w the girlfriend by Al Gore the Minotaur
This was a ok movie but just not worth my time and money it takes to go to the movie theater now a days.
It is a little long for what it is delivering but was well directed and well though through.
I never really felt connect to the actors though and the whole thing just felt a little off.
It is worth watching, but at home on a rainy day, not at a high end movie theater for 13$ plus parking, plus snacks etc.
Instructions not Included by Film Critic
Pleasant surprise. One of the best movies I have seen in a long time! Well-written script, excellent well-acted cast, incredible scenery and cinematography, and a surprising twist to pull this movie together. I was not expecting the depth this movie explores with regards to relationships and life. Wonderful use of bilingual culture.
Really good movie by Dallas1girl
I've never heard abut this movie before. My husband pick it. We went first day it can out. This movie was Great! The only thing is subtitle .... I understood it well , my husband had to read subtitle, which he didn't mind at all . He also enjoy the movie too . We both recommend this movie.
Magnifico! by mayanotary
Por fin una pelicula que en verdad vale la pena...... Eugenio Dervez es un genio de la comedia Mexicana y ahora a provado que como productor y actor es excelente..... me encanto y volvere a ir a ver cualquiera de sus peliculas de ahora en adelante..... Me facino!!!!!
por favor.... mas peliculas excelentes como esta.
An Oscar in the making. by sylger
An incredibly well done movie. One minute you are laughing, the next you are crying. It definitely should be in the top 5 of the year. An Oscar potential. Although it has some adult themes, it is mouthing that the whole family can enjoy. The storyline is well thought out and has a very surprising end. Don't miss it!
OMG, I loved this movie by LadyofIB
First let me say that the most Spanish I know is from 7th grade asking if Susanna is in the library and pass the bread and butter. So there I was on a Sunday afternoon with nothing to do so I drove to the theater and picked the movie by what time it started. This one had a title in English and I'm glad it did or I am sure I would have picked something else. I got my popcorn and diet coke and walked into the movie and noticed right away that it was all Spanish. Oh well, I'll try and make it out, it did have subtitles so I figured what the heck. This movie is one I will always remember. It is more of a "chick flick" but at the end of it there was not a dry eye in the house INCLUDING the men. The main character was so good that even if I didn't read the words exactly I could tell what he was portraying by his expressions and body language. In fact, I kind of forgot I was reading subtitles. The actress that plays the daughter is a future STAR. She has IT. Go see this movie!!!