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People Like Us Review

Movies.com Critics

2.0

Dave White Profile

Rigging the crying game. Read full review

3.0

Grae Drake Profile

Warm fuzzy slippers for your eyes. Read full review

Other Critics provided by Metacritic.com

Critics scores range from 0 to 100, with higher scores indicating more favorable reviews.

  • 3.0
    49

    out of 100

    Metascore®
    Mixed or average reviews
    based on a weighted average of all
    critic review scores.

  • 40

    out of 100

    Wall Street Journal Joe Morgenstern

    Going on too long seems to be the disease of the week; it's certainly what brings this movie down, though the going on here stems from a surfeit of implausible plot that suffocates the main characters and the excellent actors who play them.

    Read Full Review

  • 50

    out of 100

    USA Today Claudia Puig

    The movie's soap opera quality undermines its efforts to tell a family saga with much believability.

    Read Full Review

  • 58

    out of 100

    Entertainment Weekly Owen Gleiberman

    People Like Us demonstrates how a drama can be heartfelt and bogus at the same time.

    Read Full Review

  • 70

    out of 100

    The Hollywood Reporter Todd McCarthy

    As overcranked as it is -- the film is directed as if it were an action drama, with two or three times more cuts than necessary -- People Like Us has a persuasive emotional pull at its heart that's hard to deny.

    Read Full Review

  • See all People Like Us reviews at Metacritic.com

For Families provided by Common Sense Media

OK for kids 14+

Sentimental drama is well acted but too mature for tweens.

What Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that People Like Us is a drama that tackles mature themes, including adultery, abandonment, and the loss of a father. Starring two actors who are popular with both teens and adults (Star Trek's Chris Pine and The Hunger Games' Elizabeth Banks), the story follows two long-lost half siblings who discover each other after their father's death. Strong language includes a couple of "f--k"s (one of which is said by an 11-year-old), and a kid punches a classmate and blows up his pool as a joke. A single mother has a quickie with a friend (no nudity), and two adults kiss a few times. An alcoholic mentions her past struggles with substance abuse and promiscuity, and a dead man's many flaws (infidelity, lying, leaving a child behind) are discussed over and over again. Blended families may bristle at the way a man and his wife dealt with his child from an extramarital relationship.

  • Families can talk about how People Like Us portrays parent-child issues. Which parent and child have/had the healthiest relationship? How are parents and kids typically depicted in the media?
  • Does Josh seem like a believable 11-year-old? How does the movie depict tween angst? What are the consequences of his acting out at school?
  • It seems like many movies are about misguided adults who become better people by getting to know a kid. Do you think there are enough multi-generational stories in movies?

The good stuff
  • message true3

    Messages: Even though it's quite a sad story at first, People Like Us does have positive messages about the power of family, particularly brother-sister relationships. Siblings, the movie emphasizes, are the only people in the world who know what it's like to grow up with the same parent(s). Blended families should know that, in the film, a wife forced her husband to ignore the child he had from an extramarital affair; as a result, a half brother and sister grow up not knowing each other. Sam's journey is one of redemption, reconciliation, and forgiveness.

  • rolemodels true2

    Role models: People Like Us is filled with flawed characters who still have something to offer viewers. Sam is a slightly unethical compulsive liar who eventually becomes a caring brother and loving uncle. Frankie is a former alcoholic who isn't sure how to manage her son, but she realizes by the end that what's important is being there for him.

What to watch for
  • violence false2

    Violence: Frankie beats up Sam and gives him a pretty obvious bruise on the eyebrow. Sam's mother slaps him after he misses his father's funeral. Josh punches a classmate and breaks his nose and also pours sodium in the pool, which causes a dangerous explosion.

  • sex false3

    Sex: Frankie has a quickie with her friend. They keep most of their clothes on but grunt and moan for the few seconds of the scene. Sam and Hannah kiss a few times. At one point, before she realizes they're brother and sister, Frankie attempts to kiss Sam.

  • language false4

    Language: A couple of "f--k"s -- one said by an 11-year-old -- as well as "s--t," "bulls--t," "Jesus Christ" (as an exclamation), "damn," "d--k," "prick," "ass," "a--hole," "hell," "oh my God," and more.

  • consumerism false3

    Consumerism: Sam's iPhone makes several appearances. Other brands include Starbucks, Converse, Virgin America, Volkswagen Jetta, Entenmann's cookies, Los Angeles Times, and Minute Maid. A host of famous New Wave and classic rock artists are also mentioned: Elvis Costello, Joy Division, The Clash, Gang of Four, Television, Joni Mitchell, the Faces, etc.

  • drugsalcoholtobacco false3

    Drinking, drugs and smoking: One of the main characters is an alcoholic who's sober but discusses her past struggles with substance abuse. She's also a bartender, which sounds a bit unhealthy, but she's shown mixing and serving drinks (never having one), and she smokes a lot.

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