Jules Parent Guide
Quirky and gloriously absurd, this film is a small treasure.
Parent Movie Review
Milton (Ben Kingsley) is slowly fading into old age. The forgetful widower lives alone, makes repetitive presentations to town council, and relies on his daughter for practical help. When he calls 911 to report a spaceship crash in his backyard, he’s accused of making crank calls and told to go back to bed.
Milton, however, is telling the truth and is surprised to find himself hosting an alien in his home. The small, faintly luminous humanoid (Jade Quon) has intense dark eyes, a fondness for apples, and a habit of drawing cat pictures. When Sandy (Harriet Sansom Harris) and Joyce (Jane Curtin) discover Milton’s other-worldly visitor, Sandy names the alien Jules and the friends work together to keep the extra-terrestrial safe and provide the necessary supplies for repairing the flying saucer. What they don’t know is that the National Security Council is trying to find the spaceship and the net is drawing ever more tightly around Milton’s home…
Jules is a quirky little film that made me laugh until I cried. Whether it will do the same for you, I can’t say. Like all offbeat movies, this story is viewer-specific and will entertain some, bore others, and outrage yet more (cat-lovers be warned). It’s easy for directors to lose their way with films like this and end up with something pretentious or self-conscious but Jules is gloriously absurd. The combination of ridiculousness and pathos works together to create a film that feels grounded in human emotion and reality – a real feat considering the lunacy of the goings-on.
I should point out that this movie isn’t non-stop laughs. There’s real heartache here. Milton is becoming aware of his cognitive deficits and is terrified of dementia, although he never refers to it by name. He’s also lonely, but unwilling to admit it, even to himself. Sandy cheerfully smiles through her own challenges, determinedly trying to forge stronger bonds within her community. Joyce has subsided begrudgingly into old age, hanging on to her memories of a more adventurous youth. As the three seniors work together, they accept each other’s vulnerabilities and make hard decisions about life and death, family and loss. These aren’t giggly subjects: they’re raw and painful.
Thankfully, Jules has a cast with the ability to deliver complex, nuanced emotions. Ben Kingsley, Jane Curtin, and Harriet Sansom Harris are stars for a reason, and they deliver deep emotion and perfect comic timing. Jade Quon also nails it with her performance as the alien: completely mute, her character’s emotions are communicated solely through her penetrating eyes.
This film also does fairly well on content issues. Most violence occurs off screen, although references to an exploding head and cat roadkill might be off-putting for some viewers. A bit of profanity is the only other issue but the PG-13 rating is fair. I’m not sure if teens will be interested in this production, but it’s unlikely to upset them. As for more mature audiences, Jules is a small treasure; a touching tale filled with love for its human characters, a work of absurdity that illuminates people at their vulnerable best. It’s wacky, sad, hopeful, and bittersweet – it’s disarmingly, heartwarmingly human.Directed by Gavin Steckler. Starring Ben Kingsley, Jane Curtin, Harriet Sansom Harris, Jade Quon. Running time: 90 minutes. Theatrical release August 11, 2023. Updated August 9, 2023
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Rating & Content Info
Why is Jules rated PG-13? Jules is rated PG-13 by the MPAA for strong language
Violence: People half-heartedly threaten to kill each other. A person steals from a homeowner. A man attacks an elderly woman. A person’s head explodes: it occurs off screen but some blood is seen on another character’s clothes. People collect roadkill. A person suggests that someone kill their pet.
Sexual Content: There’s mention of a lesbian relationship. A character wears a t-shirt with a lesbian joke on it. A woman mentions lovers but without any detail. There’s mention of a prescription that causes “sexual feelings” as a side effect.
Profanity: The script contains a couple of sexual expletives, five terms of deity, and three minor profanities.
Alcohol / Drug Use: None noted.
Page last updated August 9, 2023
Jules Parents' Guide
Why do you think Milton and his friends help the alien? What would you do if you found an alien in your backyard?
What do you think Milton is going to do at the end of the movie? Why?
Related home video titles:
Thoughtful films about aliens which will interest mature audiences include Arrival, Nope, and Close Encounters of the Third Kind. A boy befriends an alien in The Iron Giant. An alien hides out in the suburbs in E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial.