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Tumbleweeds Review

Other Critics provided by

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

  • 4.0

    out of 100

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

  • 63

    out of 100

    USA Today Mike Clark

    No, it isn't the slick and unfocused "Anywhere but Here," where mom and daughter choose Beverly Hills. Instead, it's the more modest and in most cases preferable Tumbleweeds.

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  • 75

    out of 100

    Chicago Sun-Times Roger Ebert

    Movies like Tumbleweeds exist in the details, not the outcome. Even a happy ending, we suspect, would be temporary. We don't mind, since the characters have been intriguing to know and easy to care about.

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  • 75

    out of 100

    Chicago Tribune Michael Wilmington

    This smart, hardscrabble, very likable film has a heart and spirit all its own: a rollicking, earthy flair and lusty intelligence.

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  • 91

    out of 100

    Entertainment Weekly Owen Gleiberman

    Rarely have two actresses been so effortless in their intimacy.

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For Families provided by Common Sense Media

Iffy for 13+

Touching look at tough mom-daughter relationship.

What Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that although the mother portrayed in this movie can be irresponsible, viewers never doubt that she loves her daughter and wants her to be happy. Still, because of her poor decisions and erratic lifestyle, Mary Jo does cause instability and emotional trauma in her daughter's life. There also are some scenes with mild violence and sexuality, such as when a couple has a heated, potentially physical argument and when a preteen girl comes home from school to find her mother making out with a strange man. Some strong language, including "f--k" and "goddamn."

  • Families can talk about how Mary Jo and Ava have reversed their roles as mother and daughter. Which scenes illustrate this role reversal? Overall, how have today's children become more precocious and increasingly aware of issues such as sexuality and violence thanks to the influence of the Internet and other media sources?

The good stuff
  • message true0

    Messages: Although she clearly loves her daughter, an irresponsible mother continually uproots the girl in her quest to find a man, run away from her problems or both. The girl is so accustomed to her mom's dysfunctional, sometimes violent, relationships that she has learned to establish an "escape route" in her new bedroom each time they move.

What to watch for
  • violence false2

    Violence: The movie opens with a violent argument between a husband and wife. They yell, curse, and throw dishes at each other. The woman challenges the man to punch her; he threatens her with his fist, but hits the refrigerator instead. While having dinner at a restaurant, a man gets angry at his girlfriend's daughter, threatening to hit her with a book.

  • sex false3

    Sex: A man and woman meet at a bar and then wake up together the next morning in a motel; it's understood that they have had sex. Later, they are shown kissing passionately on the bed when the woman's daughter comes home early from school. A preteen boy and girl are shown kissing. In another scene, the girl begins menstruating; she and her mother talk about visits from her "Aunt Rosie" and goof around with sanitary napkins. Two women make gestures similar to a man masturbating and describe their boss "choking his chicken." A woman is shown in her bra. A woman teaches her preteen daughter how to kiss by practicing on an apple; she asks her daughter if she is French-kissing yet. The scene is played for laughs and illustrates a lighthearted moment between the two.

  • language false3

    Language: Characters, including a preteen girl, use profanity such as "goddamn," "bulls--t," "asshole," "f--king," and "tits." A character shoots "the finger" at someone.

  • consumerism false0

    Consumerism: Not an issue

  • drugsalcoholtobacco false3

    Drinking, drugs and smoking: Characters are shown drinking alcohol. Two women drink shots at a bar. A guilt-ridden man explains that his wife died in a car accident; he was the driver, and he had drunk too much alcohol at a party. A young girl uses an inhaler for her asthma; her friend tries out the inhaler on one occasion.