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People Like Us

Released

Latest Home Video

Oct 02, 2012

MPAA Rating:

PG-13


Run Time:

115

Director

Alex Kurtzman

Cast

Chris Pine

Elizabeth Banks

Michelle Pfeiffer

Olivia Wilde

Studio

2012 Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

Official Website >>

Still shot from the movie: People Like Us.

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Reviewed by

Overall C+
ViolenceB-
SexC
LanguageD
Drugs/AlcoholD
Run Time115

Making the Grades

In a recent post, an advice columnist replied to a young person who discovered his father’s infidelity. She wrote, “This is your parents’ business, not yours.—It’s best forgiven and forgotten by you.”

I have to disagree. Marital cheating impacts more than the adults involved and if ever there were an argument against being unfaithful, People Like Us is it.

Record producer Jerry Harper may be resting peacefully in his grave, but his life decisions continue to haunt those he left behind. Among the damaged mourners are his wife Lillian (Michelle Pfeiffer) and his estranged son Sam (Chris Pine). Inheriting his father’s extensive record collection seems like poor compensation for the young, fast-talking businessman who grew up with a distracted, distant dad. He was at least hoping for some cold, hard cash to help bail him out of his crushing debt. Instead his dad’s lawyer (Philip Baker Hall) hands Sam a shaving kit filled with wads of $100 bills and a note from his father instructing him to take the money to some kid he’s never heard of.

It turns out Sam has a sister.

Frankie (Elizabeth Banks), he discovers, is a struggling single mother with a precocious 11-year-old son named Josh (Michael Hall D’Addario) who just blew up the school’s swimming pool. Unsure how to introduce himself, Sam avoids that little nugget of truth. But this family’s penchant for lying hasn’t led to anything good in the past, nor will it now.

This adult drama may be one of the first films to explore infidelity from the point of view of the children and isn’t always pretty. Secrets, emotional avoidance and abandonment are the foundations this family is built on. Moving beyond them is painful and sometimes overplayed with sentiment. Whlle the characters’ growth is admirable, many of the activities they engage in aren’t.

Discovering his father’s medicinal marijuana, Sam deals with his disappointment by smoking the drug and consuming copious amounts of his dad’s liquor (in an extended scene). Later, in what is meant to be a bonding moment, Sam and his mother share another joint. Dealing with her own emotional distress, Frankie turns to her downstairs neighbor (Mark Duplass) for some quick, casual sex. And along with several sexually-charged comments about his babysitter (Gabriela Milla), Josh spouts off with a strong sexual expletive then takes his frustrations out on a classmate by pummeling him in the face with a textbook.

Based loosely on the life experiences of Director Alex Kurtzman ( Star Trek, Transformers, Mission Impossible III), this script follows a family whose dysfunctional history seems destined to be repeated unless they chose to leave the past behind.

Discussion Ideas After The Movie

Teaching ideas and topics to discuss about People Like Us.

Why has lying become such an ingrained part of this family that Sam’s mom even hides her cookies? How does dishonesty hurt their ability to be emotionally present for one another? How does the father’s infidelity individually impact everyone involved?

Is the depiction of Josh realistic? Why do some children in single parent homes take on more adult roles? What support does Frankie get from her neighbors? How does Frankie’s self-esteem impact the way she sees her possibilities for the future? Why do we often carry childhood disappointments with us into adulthood? What substances and activities does Frankie use to deal with her past?

What age demographic is this film aimed at? Do adults at some point have to leave behind the negative aspects of their past in order to create a better future? Is their past something Sam and Frankie should be able to move on from? How can they use their newfound relationship to help them? What role might Sam’s mother play in their relationship?

Trailers & Clips

Canadian Movie Ratings

BC
SK
PG Coarse Language, Drug Use, Violence.
AB PG Coarse Language, Substance Abuse.
MB PG Language May Offend, Mature Theme.
ON 14A Language May Offend, Substance Abuse, Tobacco Use.
QC G
NB
NS
NL
PE
Not Rated

Canadian Home Video Rating: PG

Watch @ Home

Details on home video releases of People Like Us...

Home Video Notes: People Like Us

Release Date: 2 October 2012

People Like Us releases to home vide3o (Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack) with the following bonus extras:

- Number One With A Bullet: The Story Behind People Like Us

- Taco Talk

- Deleted Scenes

- Bloopers

- Audio Commentaries—With Director Alex Kurtzman, and Writer Jody Lambert and Director Alex Kurtzman, and Actors Chris Pine and Elizabeth Banks

- Select Scene Commentary—With Director Alex Kurtzman And Actress Michelle Pfeiffe

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Dr. Ken Morris Ed.D., LCPC, LCAC says: Oct. 21, 2012

As a Christian, a Licensed Clinical Counselor, a Licensed Clinical Addictions, I have numerous views on this film, some that are compatible with the above reviewer, some not.  Although children that are impressionable and those that see Hollywood’s portrayal of life as something to be admired and looked up to, then it would not be beneficial to take those children to this movie. These children are more than likely to be younger. A guideline might be around the age of 12 and under. Older children that have a good sense of reality and the fact that reality isn’t always of good character, this movie could be used as a lesson for things not to emulate in life. Good parents and Christian parents sometimes want to avoid exposing their children to movies that have less than good morals portrayed. And although I certainly agree with this stance with many movies and certainly those of a graphic nature, in this movies case we don’t have that to deal with. This movie is supposedly a moderately accurate portrayal of real life events, just like events that are at times told of in the Bible. God uses bad character to teach us all, and parents can do the same with this movie. All I’m saying is avoidance is not always a solution to training our children. Sometimes exposure is. Running in fear is not always the solution. This is a movie that can certainly teach and with some older mature teenagers that may be of some benefit.  This movie certainly shows some of the effects of bad character…..couldn’t that be a good teacher to our young people if parents have enough savvy and openness to discuss it with their children.

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