Kiss and Cry Parent Review
Based on Carley Allison's story, this movie offers a refreshing view of the potential of adolescence and offers powerful examples of compassion, perseverance, and optimism.
Figure skating is all about overcoming incredible odds. With the huge number of young people lacing up to have a shot at Olympic fame, it takes a person with determination that’s at least as strong as her legs. Carley Allison (played by Sarah Fisher), a young woman from Ontario, Canada, fits that description. Working to gain a place on Canada’s national team, she is gaining momentum. Then she begins to experience a severe shortage of breath. What is originally thought to be asthma turns out to be something far worse. Carley is suffering from a rare form of cancer (melanoma), and has a tumor that is blocking her trachea.
Chemotherapy requires Carley to hang up her skates, yet her resolve to return to the sport never falters. After nine months of treatment, she comes back to the blades and shows even more promise than before. But, sadly, Carley’s challenge with the dreaded disease is not yet over. A year and a half after her initial diagnosis the high school senior finds herself facing Clear Cell Sarcoma in her lungs.
When Carley isn’t skating she turns to her other favorite hobby—singing. Building up a YouTube following, her talented vocal abilities are all the more amazing considering she has undergone a tracheotomy and now has limited lung capacity. Yet her desire to sing out loud and clear inspires many of her peers and a growing worldwide audience. Meanwhile her parents (Sergio DiZio and Chantal Kreviazuk) and compassionate boyfriend John (Luke Bilyk) continue to surround her with love and support. It’s a team effort that teaches powerful examples of compassion, perseverance, and optimism.
There are only a few content issues parents will want to consider before sharing this movie with their teens. Watching Carley (in a noteworthy performance by Fisher) deteriorate and deal with the side effects of chemotherapy and the ravages of cancer may be scary and disturbing for young children. The treatments cause her to vomit (which is depicted) and lose her hair. A particularly nerve wracking incident involving the replacement of her tracheotomy dressing is also justifiably distressing. Some blood and medical procedures are shown. Other concerns included are a few mild sexual remarks and a short rendezvous of passionate kissing between Carley and John in an empty classroom. Finally, during one of the few moments Carley succumbs to the difficulties of her condition she tells “Cancer” how she really feels with the use of a sexual expletive.
Kiss and Cry is a refreshing view of the potential of adolescence during a time when cinema far too frequently portrays teens as depressed and/or narcissistic. For families going through similar struggles, this emotional roller coaster may be too much of a ride. Yet even for those dealing with a myriad of other challenges, Carley’s “chose to smile” attitude offers plenty of fuel to power up your own hope and fortitude.Directed by Sean Cisterna. Starring Sarah Fisher, Luke Bilyk, Sergio Di Zio. Running time: 95 minutes. Theatrical release February 4, 2017. Updated February 6, 2017
Get details on profanity, sex and violence in Kiss and Cry here.
Kiss and Cry Parents Guide
How does Carley deal with her setbacks? What role do her musical talents play in helping her cope mentally? What outlets for stress do you have available if you are struggling with a difficult situation?
How does Carley’s boyfriend demonstrate compassion and true love? How can we do likewise even if those we love are not dealing with the tremendous burden Carley is carrying?
When Carley is first diagnosed, one of her close friends doesn’t know how to deal with the news. If you had a serious illness, how would you want your friends to react? What might this teach us about how we should respond to others in difficult situations?
Carley doesn’t choose to have cancer, but there are things about her situation that she can make choices about. How does she decide to face her diagnosis and the challenges of her treatment? How does her optimism and hope affect those around her?
In the script, Carley mentions the Kiss and Cry area, where skaters wait to hear their scores after competitions. How has her battle with cancer been similar to entering a competition? How has she scored in her fight? What times has she celebrated with kisses? And when has she felt like crying? As she comes through this experience, why do you think she feels it is more important to number the times you enter, rather than to count your wins or losses? How could you apply this idea to your life?