Considering Love and Other Magic parents guide

Considering Love and Other Magic Parent Review

This Canadian-made film contrasts painful emotions with a fanciful storyline, creating a teen-appropriate film about the tragedy of suicide.

Overall B+

While coping with the grief of her younger brother’s suicide, 17-year-old Jessie Wilson (Maddie Phillips) takes on a tutoring job with an unusual student. Tommy (Ryan Grantham) claims to be the trapped-in-time, fictional creation of an aging author (Sheila McCarthy) who penned his story in 1952. Whether he's real or imagined, helping Tommy seems to be helping Jessie.

Violence C+
Sexual Content A-
Profanity B
Substance Use A-

Considering Love and Other Magic is rated Not Rated

Movie Review

Two major events have shaped the life of 17-year-old Jessie Wilson (Maddie Phillips). The first occurred just before her eighth birthday when she slipped from a third story balcony (not seen on screen). Miraculously, she survived the fall with only minor injury. Sadly, the same can’t be said for the second incident: the recent suicide of her younger brother (Tristan Mackid). (This isn’t shown either, but coming to terms with the tragic death of the twelve-year-old is the prevailing theme of this movie.)

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Struggling with significant psychological damage, Jessie attends counseling, but balks at taking her prescribed medication. Her mother (Nancy Sorel) retreats into the past, trying to relive happier times. And her father (Darcy Fehr) stoically attempts to deal with the messy aftermath—like removing the large blood satin left on the carpet of his son’s bedroom.

Although none of them are coping with their grief particularly well, Jessie’s school friends (one played by Rory J. Saper) hope that accepting a tutoring opportunity may help her to find some healing. However, her student presents a new set of problems. Tommy Faber (Ryan Grantham) claims to be the fictional creation of Veronica Guest (Sheila McCarthy), an aging author who penned his story in 1952. Forever fourteen, Tommy knows he would cease to exist if ever he should leave her old mansion. After Jessie explains the strange nature of her job, her pals are left wondering if the whole experience is just a figment of the traumatized teen’s imagination.

Pretend or not, spending time with Tommy seems to be helping Jessie to work through her feelings of heartache, isolation, rebellion, blame and guilt. In contrast to these heavy emotions, the light scenario of the stuck-in-time, housebound boy allows the script to explore the private sorrow that often accompanies the passing of a loved one. This fanciful approach also makes the film more sharable with teen audiences.

Parents should be aware that details of the suicide are briefly mentioned (cut wrists) and a few dark moments of obsessive behavior are depicted (Jessie sentimentally sniffs the dirty rug and purposefully cuts her finger with a knife). Despite the bitterness of the loss, this Canadian-made movie does its best to offer some sweet solace: When considering the state of troubled souls, the power of love and friendship may be all that is needed to work real magic.

Directed by Dave Schultz. Starring Maddie Phillips, Ryan Grantham, Sheila McCarthy, Rory J. Saper. Running time: 93 minutes. Updated

Get details on profanity, sex and violence in Considering Love and Other Magic here.

Considering Love and Other Magic Parents Guide

In reference to the death of her brother Jessie states, “When it’s suicide, everyone assumes you messed up.” Why does she feel judged by those around her? Do you think people are really that critical of her and her family? What are some ways you could help a friend or loved one who is experiencing similar feelings?

As Jessie tries to accept the her brother death, she keeps remembering her fall from the balcony. Why do you think these two events have become linked in her mind? What kind of feelings does she seem to be experiencing when she considers her miraculous survival and her brother’s tragic loss? Is it fair to compare these two experiences?

What other characters are dealing with grief in this film? How does sharing their various stories help each of them with the healing process?

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