Greener Grass Parent Guide
There’s a very specific line between “comedically tragic” and “nightmarishly comic” and that’s where this flick’s good jokes land.
Parent Movie Review
Jill (Jocelyn DeBoer) lives in a lovely little community with her perfect husband Nick (Beck Bennett) and their adorable son Julian (Julian Hillard). Their neighbors, Lisa (Dawn Luebbe) and Dennis (Neil Casey), are good friends, and their children play on the same soccer team. Jill likes Lisa so much she gives her Madison, her newborn daughter. But if you think that’s strange, fasten your seatbelt….
This is a deeply weird movie, which means I thoroughly enjoyed it. Think The Truman Show meets The Twilight Zone. The film deliberately cultivates its unsettling atmosphere, which is steeped in passive aggression and outright hostility with just a sprinkling of horror. The characters are straight from central casting in the Uncanny Valley: aliens trying to be human or very alien humans? We’re not sure, but the result is that it gets very, very creepy. I swear that I’ve had nightmares that looked exactly like this movie, down to the little golf carts everyone drives instead of cars.
The comedy is a little flat at times, but I will say that some of the gags made me laugh out loud. There’s a very specific line between “comedically tragic” and “nightmarishly comic” and that’s where this flick’s good jokes land. The rest tend to fall into outright comedy, which is less effective given the tone. A few scenes also land a little too firmly in the “nightmarish” camp, including the one in which a character removes her braces with a pair of pliers. As someone who’s recently had to drag himself to the orthodontist, this was a particularly unpleasant moment.
So, you ask, does this David Lynch-lite type movie qualify as appropriate family viewing? That definitely depends on your family’s values and entertainment standards. The profanity is a little more than I expected, with three sexual expletives mixed in with fairly mild and infrequent swearing. Greener Grass is also not suitable for children, for a couple of reasons. First, it’s a slow and creepy thriller, and second, kids are unlikely to get the jokes about the utter existential horror of social suburbia. Elementary school simply doesn’t really prepare you for the nightmarish dread of playing “keeping up with the Joneses”.
This film is hard to recommend to a broad audience, but if you like quirky, dark, offbeat movies, you’ll enjoy Greener Grass. Between the brutal satire of suburban social drama and the bizarre comedy, there’s a good heart that comes from being a passion project - the two female leads wrote and directed the film, and they clearly cared how it turned out. You can also tell they had almost as much fun making it as I did watching it.Directed by Jocelyn DeBoer & Dawn Luebbe. Starring Jocelyn DeBoer, Dawn Luebbe, D'Arcy Carden. Running time: 95 minutes. Theatrical release October 18, 2019. Updated October 16, 2019
Watch the trailer for Greener Grass
Rating & Content Info
Why is Greener Grass rated Not Rated? Greener Grass is rated Not Rated by the MPAA
Violence: A small amount of blood is shown.
Sexual Content: There is a brief and non-explicit discussion about sex.
Profanity: There are three uses of extreme profanity, two uses of moderate profanity, and occasional use of mild profanity and terms of deity.
Alcohol / Drug Use: None. A child is briefly shown with a cigarette, which is promptly taken away.
Page last updated October 16, 2019
Greener Grass Parents' Guide
Tying your value to your material possessions or your children’s achievements is unhealthy for everyone involved. Why do you think Jill and Lisa are so dependent on this value system? Do you think it makes either of them happy? Do you think the possessions cause happiness, or does their joy come from seeing that they have more than someone else?
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