Looks That Kill Parent Guide
Mixing a dark comedy with a teen weepy doesn't work well - and adding a pro-euthanasia message is even more problematic.
Parent Movie Review
“Do you know what it’s like to watch someone die? To have that image burned in your head over and over?” This anguish is the critical denominator of Max Richards’ life. The teenager, who is played by Brandon Flynn, has such incredible good looks that everyone who sees his face dies. Everyone, that is, except for his parents, who are somehow immune to his lethal appearance. Desperate to protect him and everyone else, they have moved to small town Massachusetts, where he home schools and does cross stitch in his spare time. Any encounter with people necessitates wrapping his face in gauze bandages to shield everyone from his killer countenance,
The only social interaction the reclusive teen enjoys is hanging out and playing video games with his best friend, Dan (Ki Hong Lee), who is convinced that Max needs to meet girls. Dan maneuvers Max into a dinner date, which goes so badly that Max winds up on the edge of a bridge, hoping to end it all. And then he meets Alex (Julia Goldani Telles). Alex matter-of-factly gets him off the bridge, introduces him to elderly friends at the senior’s home, and sits with him (fully clothed) in a bathtub full of candy while they share their life stories. Max finds himself falling in love with her, but Alex has a secret that she’s not prepared to share…
Looks That Kill is a strange combination of dark comedy and teen weepy romance. It has a wry, tongue-in-cheek tone and goes for dry humor over uproarious laughter. Or at least it tries to – the jokes don’t always land and the movie’s mood often feels forced. I’m a big fan of quirky, dark comedies, but this one often feels more awkward than funny. And that awkwardness doesn’t mesh well with the sicky/weepy teen romantic drama that makes up the plot. Trying to blend a sardonic comedy and a touching romance disproves the “opposites attract” adage – putting these two together simply creates tonal confusion.
The movie’s schizophrenic vibe is less likely to concern parents than is the content. There are three dozen profanities and some crude sexual comments as well as scenes of teens smoking and getting drunk. But the biggest concern for parents will be the plot’s full-throated endorsement of euthanasia. Max is encouraged on more than one occasion to use his face to provide a quick, happy ending for people who are terminally ill. The film romanticizes “mercy killings” without bothering to examine palliative care, hospices, or any other options for dying patients. Whether you see assisted dying as a merciful end to suffering or an arrogant exercise in playing God, you will likely be annoyed by the story’s cavalier treatment of such a complex and emotionally charged issue. It’s certainly a poor introduction to the issue for younger viewers who would benefit from a discussion of multiple perspectives and an acknowledgment of the moral and ethical complexities involved.
Looks That Kill isn’t unrelievedly bad – it contains positive messages about seeing people as they really are, accepting yourself, and facing adversity with courage and humor. The young actors are vulnerable and charming and do their best to sell the story, unsatisfying as it is. Sadly, this movie might look good on the surface, but it’s not worth killing an hour and a half to watch.Directed by Kellen Moore. Starring Brandon Flynn, Julia Goldani Telles, Ki Hong Lee. Running time: 92 minutes. Theatrical release June 19, 2020. Updated August 31, 2020
Watch the trailer for Looks That Kill
Looks That Kill
Rating & Content Info
Why is Looks That Kill rated Not Rated? Looks That Kill is rated Not Rated by the MPAA
Violence: Characters play a video game where avatars fight. Teens have a fight that involves pushing and shoving. A main character has his face pushed into a table. A main character has nosebleeds on a couple of occasions. A main character inadvertently causes the death of a teen. A character is encouraged to commit “mercy killings”. A main character stands on a bridge, planning to kill himself. A teen hits himself in the face with a brick: he’s shown with bloody gauze on his nose.
Sexual Content: Teen characters joke about a sex shop and the goods sold there: one of them buys some items from the store. A major character jokes about a sexual act we can’t describe on a family website. A minor character makes crude sexual comments. A teenage boy and girl kiss on a few occasions. Someone mentions “dirty” romance novels.
Profanity: There are approximately three dozen profanities, including twenty scatological curses. Other swear words include anatomical slang, terms of deity, and minor profanities.
Alcohol / Drug Use: Teenagers drink large amounts of vodka in a movie theater and get drunk. A teenager smokes cigarettes.
Page last updated August 31, 2020
Looks That Kill Parents' Guide
Euthanasia, physician assisted suicide, assisted dying – whatever term you use, the issue remains controversial. What do you think about helping the terminally ill end their lives? Do you see it as a merciful act or as playing God?
The Economist: The case for and against assisted dying
Verywellhealth: Overview of Physician Assisted Suicide Arguments
The most recent home video release of Looks That Kill movie is June 19, 2020. Here are some details…
Related home video titles:
Fans of offbeat dark comedies with a quirky vibe will likely enjoy Hunt for the Wilderpeople. This New Zealand production tells the story of a rebellious foster child who winds up on the run in the wilderness.
The cult classic Napoleon Dynamite also nails the quirky comedy genre with its story of a high school misfit who finds his niche.
If it’s teen weepies that you like, there’s plenty to choose from. A Walk to Remember puts bad boy Landon in the school play with church girl Jamie. He surprises everyone by falling in love with her – but Jamie has a secret. Five Feet Apart features two teens with cystic fibrosis who are attracted to one another but who can’t get within five feet of each other lest they inadvertently share dangerous bacteria. In Midnight Sun, a beautiful teenage girl suffers from a rare disease that makes exposure to sunlight dangerous. When she meets a handsome boy one evening, the two embark on a whirlwind romance – but he doesn’t know about her medical condition. Everything, Everything is about a teenage girl with a rare immune disorder that has her trapped in her house for her own protection. But then a handsome boy moves in next door..