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The Half of It | 2020 | PG-13 | – 3.3.4

content-ratingsWhy is “The Half of It” rated PG-13? The MPAA rating has been assigned for “brief language and teen drinking.” The Kids-In-Mind.com evaluation includes several kissing scenes between teen boys and girls and two teen girls, and several discussions of sexuality, discussions of the death of a woman, several arguments, teen boys bully a teen girl in a few scenes, and some strong language. Read our parents’ guide below for details on sexual content, violence & strong language.”


In this twist on the “Cyrano de Bergerac” tale, a Chinese-American teen (Leah Lewis) and her impoverished widowed father (Collin Chou) are social outcasts in an all-white town. Male classmates often shout racial slurs at her and feeling life is unbearable, she agrees to write a young man’s (Daniel Diemer) love letters for $50, not counting on falling in love with the boy’s intended girlfriend (Alexxis Lemire). Also with Enrique Murciano, Wolfgang Novogratz and Becky Ann Baker. Directed by Alice Wu. Several lines of dialogue are spoken in Mandarin with English subtitles and a few lines are spoken in Italian with English subtitles. [Running Time: 1:43]

The Half of It SEX/NUDITY 3

 – A teen boy and a teen girl kiss in close-up for several seconds. A teen boy grabs a teen girl and tries to kiss her, but she backs away suddenly, as another girl sees the kiss and rushes away; the first girl calls after her, and the boy realizes the first girl is in love with the other girl and tells her it’s a sin and she’ll go to hell. A teen girl grabs another teen girl and romantically kisses her for several seconds and the second girl smiles. A teen boy grabs and kisses a teen girl for several seconds. A teen boy kisses a teen girl on the cheek.
 A teen boy takes a teen girl home and lays her on his bed, clothed; in the morning, another young woman enters the room and finds the first girl, who says she was just dropping off books and is not dating the teen boy.
 A headline on an article on a teen boy’s computer reads, “How to Know If You Are Gay,” and when the boy leaves the room, his mother sees the article and looks startled. A teen girl tells a female classmate that she has thought about being different. A teen girl agrees to write a series of love letters for a teen boy addressed to another teen girl; both the first girl and the boy fall in love with the second girl. A teen boy says, “I’m in love with her” to a female classmate. In a diner, a teen boy loudly tells a teen girl, “I don’t want to be just friends,” and she says “OK.” A teen boy tells a female friend that he kissed another girl and that they held hands. A teen boy tells a female classmate he knows that she is in love with him (she is not). A teen boy slowly puts a garbage bag into a trashcan in an alley and a male voice off screen calls out, “Are you marrying the garbage out there?”
 A teen girl wears a miniskirt that ends at mid-thighs. A teen girl at a hot spring removes her top and we see her bra straps and bare shoulders from the back; she tries but fails to pull off the long-sleeved top of another teen girl who struggles, shouting, “No!” and the camera cuts away and comes back to show the girls floating on their backs; the first girl now wears an opaque blouse that is puffed out with air and the other girl wears a long sleeved top and underwear that reveal bare legs to the top of the thighs and a portion of the underwear crotch. On a TV screen, a woman facing away from the camera lowers her dress to reveal a bare shoulder and bra strap.


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The Half of It VIOLENCE/GORE 3

 – A young woman becomes angry and walks past a young man, slaps his face, and then stalks out as a church congregation shouts, gasps, and the people push and shove one another. A woman hits her son on the arm with her large purse and he grunts. A teen girl’s father sprays a teen boy on the sidewalk with the kitchen dish hose from the second floor window and the boy shouts and runs away. A man chases a teen girl away from wall graffiti (an arrow) and the camera cuts to the wall repainted gray. A football player is hit on the helmet with a football and is uninjured.
 A teen girl rides her bike to school while teen boys drive by and shout racial slurs (please see the Language category for more details). A man says that after his wife died, he fell into a dark hole for a long time. A faceless paper human figure with four arms and four legs tears itself in half lengthwise as a voice-over says, “The gods tore us in two.” A teacher says, “We are the source of our own hell.” A teacher finds out that a female student is writing essays for classmates for pay and berates the girl. In a church scene, a preacher says, “Satan causes us to question our lives, our very faith in God.” In two church services, a pastor sitting at the back of the platform while a younger man preaches shouts about immoral people being like “outside dogs.” A teen girl plays piano at a school talent show, teen boys in the audience snicker loudly, and one boy shouts, “Next!” A church choir sings a hymn and a young man recites part of a Bible passage (“Love is patient…”), then asks a young woman in the congregation to marry him and she nods in agreement, but another young woman in the organ loft shouts, “No” and then states that she wrote all of the first young man’s high school papers for him, causing the congregation to gasp. A young man in church rises and says that he has learned that he should accept the many ways of love that exist. A woman tells her son that she still loves him if he is gay and he says he is not. Two teen girls argue briefly. A teen boy and a teen girl argue several times. Teen boys and teen girls shriek and giggle in a dark theater. A very large family of adults and teens shouts loudly and laugh at a dinner table.
 A teen boy spins the tires of a pickup truck in the mud and shouts “Whoop!” as several teen girls cheer. A teen girl at a party leans forward out of the frame, wretches and sounds like she is vomiting off-screen (we do not see anything). A man snores loudly.


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The Half of It LANGUAGE 4

 – 4 scatological terms, 3 anatomical terms, 8 mild obscenities, name-calling (“#nerdalert” texted to dozens of cell phones about a student, weird, stupid, idiot, moron, insane, screwy, dumb, silly, wussy, strange, odd, putz, haters, god-fearing [sarcastic], heathen, some girl, downer, trite, Nazi, Romeo, Chugga Chugga Chu Chu, Chugga Chugga, Chinese Girl), exclamations (what the…, boom, argh, ugh, huh, whoop, shhhh), 12 religious exclamations (e.g. OMG, Oh God, God, Thank God, Do you believe in God? I don’t believe in God, What does God think? God fears the teachers’ union). | profanity glossary |


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The Half of It SUBSTANCE USE

 – A high school party includes many underage boys and girls holding plastic cups and beer bottles (no one drinks), a teen boy pours what he says are bourbon and rye into plastic cups (no one drinks), a teen girl says that she has been drinking (she does not sound drunk) and a teen boy takes her home, and a teen boy chugs a can of an unknown beverage. A teen girl awakens in the morning after a party and swallows two white tablets that are likely aspirin.


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The Half of It DISCUSSION TOPICS

 – Closeted homosexuality, homophobia, racism, unrequited love, longing, breaking rules, being true to yourself, conformity, immigrants, friendship, love, philosophy, education, communication, emojis, literary and cinematic allusions, abstract art, understanding, acceptance.

The Half of It MESSAGE

 – Friendship, love, and understanding are difficult to find, but worth seeking them out.

CAVEATS

Be aware that while we do our best to avoid spoilers it is impossible to disguise all details and some may reveal crucial plot elements.

We've gone through several editorial changes since we started covering films in 1992 and older reviews are not as complete & accurate as recent ones; we plan to revisit and correct older reviews as resources and time permits.

Our ratings and reviews are based on the theatrically-released versions of films; on video there are often Unrated, Special, Director's Cut or Extended versions, (usually accurately labelled but sometimes mislabeled) released that contain additional content, which we did not review.


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