Midnight Sun Parent Guide
This highly contrived romance is engineered to pull tears from teens.
Parent Movie Review
Highly contrived and engineered to pull tears from teens, Midnight Sun adequately accomplishes this goal with no violence and few profanities – but there is a great deal of kissing, cuddling and near-skinny-dipping under the moonlight.
Working with a well-used template, Katie (Bella Thorne) is a high school senior imprisoned in her home by xeroderma pigmentosum, a rare disease that makes any exposure to sun lethal. When she finally meets Charlie (Patrick Schwarzenegger), the young man she’s been swooning over for the many years as he’s passed by her bedroom window, a romance ignites and pulls Katie out of her darkened shelter.
Katie’s father, Jack (Rob Riggle), having already suffered the loss of his wife when his daughter was a little child, is understandably protective and concerned about letting his girl out of his sight. Entirely homeschooled, he has limited her evening adventures to playing her guitar at the commuter train station in their small Washington town and spending time with her childhood friend Morgan (Quinn Shephard). Now the 18-year-old wants an extension to her 10 PM curfew (she’s possibly the most compliant adolescent ever put to film). Reluctantly, he agrees to allow her to attend a graduation party.
The event happens at a classmate’s home that’s full of teens, red cups (a friend brings in a keg of beer) and dark corner make-outs. Fortunately Charlie turns down the liquor in spite the peer pressure to party hard. (We’ll learn his backstory later in the movie, which provides a small, positive lesson to mitigate the scenes of drinking.) He also declines the overt attention of the host, Zoe (Tiera Skovbye), and demonstrates his complete devotion to Katie.
From this point, the love struck pair continue to date on what seems to be a nightly basis. Their relationship is depicted in a montage of moments with Katie jumping into Charlie’s truck and passionately kissing him. But for all the canoodling and a late night swim in their underwear, what’s missing is an important item of truth: Charlie still isn’t aware of Katie’s serious illness. Her ability to remember what time the sun rises in Northern Washington becomes increasingly impaired as well.
These two lovers’ physical attraction is more than evident. Perhaps Jack’s protective nature would be better used to have an open discussion with them about sexual expectations – especially as we’re led to believe (with great difficulty) that Katie hasn’t even had a face-to-face conversation with a boy up to this point. But, unlike other teen trysts (Fault In Our Stars and Everything, Everything) it isn’t directly implied that they have sex – even if they are doing everything possible to get to that point.
Midnight Sun walks a path so predictable that it’s almost more surprising that there isn’t a twist to this sad tale of romance. For adults, this may make for a tedious plod to a tepid conclusion. For teens, especially those young enough not to have been exposed to the many Boy In The Plastic Bubble variants (like Bubble Boy) prior to this one, Katie’s journey may be a novel watch.Directed by Scott Speer. Starring Bella Thorne, Patrick Schwarzenegger, Rob Riggle. Running time: 92 minutes. Theatrical release March 23, 2018. Updated June 25, 2020
Rating & Content Info
Why is Midnight Sun rated PG-13? Midnight Sun is rated PG-13 by the MPAA for some teen partying and sensuality.
Violence: A young adult exceeds the speed limit while driving during a medical emergency.
Sexual Content: An unmarried, young adult male and female strip down to their underwear and have a late night “swim” that includes some shots above and below water of them embracing and kissing. Other scenes have the pair kissing passionately in a vehicle and lying together on the beach late at night. Another male/female couple begin a relationship and are seen kissing passionately in a car.
Profanity: Infrequent profanities include terms of deity and other mild curses.
Alcohol / Drug Use: Young adult teens are seen drinking heavily at a party, including playing drinking games. A young man brings in a keg of beer. When pressured by friends, a young man declines alcohol – we later learn of his motivation to make this choice.
Page last updated June 25, 2020
Midnight Sun Parents' Guide
Xeroderma pigmentosum, or XP, is a rare disease that really does result in dangerous consequences if those afflicted are exposed to even very small amounts of sun (as depicted in this film).
What are some obvious questions that have been overlooked to create additional “drama” in this movie? What socializing opportunities should have been available to Katie, in spite of her disease?
Katie makes a difficult choice near the end of this movie. If you’ve seen it, what decision would you have made? Do you feel her actions are responsible? What consequences of her choice have been left out of the movie?
The most recent home video release of Midnight Sun movie is June 19, 2018. Here are some details…
Home Video Notes: Midnight Sun
Release Date: 19 June 2018
Midnight Sun releases to home video (Blu-ray/DVD/Digital) with the following extras:
- Midnight Sun: An Inside Look – Featurette