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Someday This Pain Will Be Useful to You Review

Other Critics provided by

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

  • 2.0

    out of 100

    Generally unfavorable reviews
    based on a weighted average of all
    critic review scores.

  • 30

    out of 100

    Village Voice

    These 2-D characters might as well be wearing T-shirts that say things like "Predatory College Professor" and "Self-Obsessed Father" on them.

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  • 30

    out of 100

    The New York Times Neil Genzlinger

    Someday This Pain Will Be Useful to You, a film based on Peter Cameron's novel, is several kinds of excruciating.

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For Families provided by Common Sense Media

OK for kids 15+

Listless coming-of-age drama about teen's ho-hum "problems."

What Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Someday This Pain Will Be Useful to You is a coming-of-age tale about a recent high school graduate who doesn't know what to do with his life. Everyone's pushing for him to go to college; he's not interested, but he also doesn't know what does interest him. Expect some drinking (including by underage characters) and one scene featuring high school students getting high. There's also discussion of sex and sexual orientation and occasional swearing (including "f--k," "s--t," and more).

  • Families can talk about whether James is a realistic character. Does he seem like a real teen? Are his dilemmas relatable? How does he compare to other movie teens?
  • How does the movie portray drinking and drug use? Are there realistic consequences?
  • What life advice does James' grandmother give him? Is it useful/helpful?

The good stuff
  • message true2

    Messages: The film says that it's OK -- in fact, it's pretty normal -- for teens to be uncertain about what to do with their lives. James, the main character, spends the entire film agonizing about his lack of direction, until he finally realizes that his feelings are totally normal.

  • rolemodels true0

    Role models: James is surrounded by well-meaning but ultimately self-centered people, including a vain dad who's mostly distracted by his young girlfriend, a mother who dramatically ends her third marriage during the honeymoon, and an older sister who's involved with a married college professor. It's no wonder that James is clueless about what to do with his life, since nobody in his family seems to have it figured out either.

What to watch for
  • violence false1

    Violence: Some arguments, and one teen gets into a minor scuffle with classmates.

  • sex false2

    Sex: Some discussion about sex, including a father who's very curious about his son's sexual orientation.

  • language false4

    Language: Occasional swearing includes "f--k," "s--t," "prick," "crap," etc.

  • consumerism false1

    Consumerism: A few characters use Apple laptops.

  • drugsalcoholtobacco false3

    Drinking, drugs and smoking: People, including a teen, drink wine at a party. High school students smoke pot in a hotel room while on an overnight school trip.