Common Sense Note
Parents need to know that Men, Women & Children is a timely relationship drama that explores the ways -- many of them unhealthy -- that social media, the Internet, and technology as a whole can affect teens and adults. Director Jason Reitman delves into all sorts of sordid and unsavory issues, from adultery and eating disorders to exhibitionist subscription sites, paid escorts, and pornography. The movie portrays teens having sex (including losing their virginity), sexting, having a miscarriage, posting inappropriate photos of themselves online -- and parents who use hook-up sites and exploit and impersonate their children on social media. Although there's graphic sexual content and frequent strong language (including "f--k," "s--t," and more), parents may want to watch it with their mature high schoolers to see, if only so they can talk afterward about the many important and relevant issues it references.
Implied masturbation while watching Internet porn (videos show topless/very scantily clad women). Discussion of fetish porn. A mother takes sexy photos of her teen daughter and posts them online for paid subscribers. Another dresses somewhat suggestively as part of an online alter ego. Teens sext each other (graphic words). Dissatisfying first times (girls keep their bras on, the guys are shirtless -- one uses a condom, one doesn't). Casual adultery between married adults who meet online, including graphic "dirty talk" (but no graphic nudity). A married man has sex with a paid escort (more explicit sex talk, plus partial nudity showing the woman's breasts and her bottom in a thong). Two couples (one teen, one adult) have sweet romances with hand holding, kissing/making out, and embracing.
A mother slaps her daughter for being disrespectful; a girl harms herself by not eating; a teenager has a miscarriage (she's shown unconscious, with blood running down her leg); a teenage boy overdoses on prescription pills and has to be hospitalized. After an angry football player throws something at Tim that instead hits Brandy in the head, Tim beats him pretty severely (some facial bleeding/lacerations). Additional verbal/cyberbullying. A teen character attempts suicide (he doesn't succeed). Teens and adults discuss 9/11.
Strong language frequently used by teens (and occasionally adults) in speech and texts. Words include "f--k," "motherf--ker," "s--t," "a--hole," "bitch," "d--k," "p--sy," "c--k," "retarded," "t--ty," "douchebag," "f-g," and more.
The main message is that, taken to an extreme, online communication and social media can be addictive and unhealthy. Nothing should supplant authentic interaction between people; technology should enrich, not harm, real-life interactions. The movie warns about many dangers but also makes it clear that parents and teens need to talk openly and honestly about safety protocols, trust, and privacy. Themes addressed include infidelity, dishonesty, and manipulation -- as well as love, connection, and new beginnings.
Featured brands include electronics like Apple, Samsung, and Dell (cell phones, computers), cars like Mercedes and Dodge Ram, the game Words with Friends, and Woodbridge wine. Mall scenes show Vicoria's Secret and Hot Topic bags, plus other retail shops. Social media sites Facebook, Tumblr, and Ashley Madison (a dating site for people looking to have affairs) are prominently featured in the movie, as is the MMORPG Guild Wars.
Drugs / Tobacco /
Teens drink when hanging out at one another's houses. Adults drink wine and beer socially, mostly at bars and restaurants; one sips from a flask during a high school football game. A teen character takes prescription pills, presumably anti-depressants, which play a role in a suicide attempt.