About My Father Parent Guide
It's impossible to get invested in a story where the characters compete to be the most annoying stereotypes.
Parent Movie Review
Sebastian (Sebastian Maniscalco) is determined to propose to Ellie (Leslie Bibb), the free-spirited artist who has taught him to relax, try new things, and find joy in life. He plans to give Ellie his grandmother’s ring, but his father, Salvo (Robert De Niro), will only pass on the ring after he’s met Ellie’s parents and can see for himself that there’s no “rot” in the family tree.
Ellie is jubilant when her parents invite Sebastian to join the family at their country club summer home for the July 4th weekend. She urges Sebastian to bring his father along and, despite his deep misgivings, Sebastian agrees. Salvo also has misgivings, but he’s not concerned about his ability to get along; he’s worried about what Sebastian will give up in order to fit in.
I’ll keep this short: if you’ve seen the trailer, you’ve basically seen the movie. It boasts a painfully cliched script, filled with an interminable series of stereotypes, cultural clashes, minor cruelties, and social missteps. None of the characters feel real – except for Ellie whose drive to prove herself as an independent artist seems genuine. The characters are so flat and so endlessly annoying that it’s hard to care about what happens to them. Frankly, I would have been just as happy if aliens had appeared and abducted everyone fifteen minutes into the runtime. Anything that brought this lazy, tedious movie to an end earlier would have been a big win.
The script might be annoying but it has kept negative content well within a PG-13 rating (not that I can imagine any teenager on this planet who would want to watch it). Violence is minimal and sexual content is limited to occasional innuendo and an extended shot of male buttock nudity in a sports context. There are just over two dozen profanities in the film and multiple scenes of social drinking and smoking. As PG-13 movies go, it could be worse. (It could also be a heckuva lot better but mediocrity seems to be the goal here.)
If none of these issues deter you, there are a few good moments in the movie. It provides some messages about bridging differences and learning to get along. The film’s primary theme is the strength that comes from family – even when those families are less than perfect. Sebastian repeats his father’s favorite saying, “Family isn’t the most important thing: it’s the only thing.” As dysfunctional as both families may be, they are a reminder that even when well intentioned parents make mistakes, they can still give their children a legacy of love and belonging.
Directed by Laura Terruso. Starring Robert De Niro, Sebastian Maniscalco, Kim Cattrall. Running time: 89 minutes. Theatrical release May 26, 2023. Updated June 8, 2023
Watch the trailer for About My Father
About My Father
Rating & Content Info
Why is About My Father rated PG-13? About My Father is rated PG-13 by the MPAA for suggestive material, language and partial nudity
Violence: A pet is killed off screen and part of its body is seen as it is buried. There is a brief clip of wartime violence.
Sexual Content: There is an extended scene of male buttock nudity. Jokes are made about his genitals. There are several moments of sexual innuendo. A man is hit in the groin with a tennis ball.
Profanity: The script contains about two dozen profanities, primarily terms of deity and crude anatomical terms. There are also a handful of minor profanities and a scatological curse.
Alcohol / Drug Use: Main characters smoke cigars together and blow smoke rings at each other. Adults drink alcohol in several social situations. A character’s drug use is mentioned and he jokes about switching to prescription drug use. There is a brief flashback to college students getting drunk.
Page last updated June 8, 2023
About My Father Parents' Guide
What is Salvo afraid of? Do you think his fears are realistic? Why is Sebastian nervous about having his father around? What kind of judgments does her fear? Why is Ellie angry with her parents? What motivates their behavior?