No Hard Feelings Parent Guide
With a premise based on a transactional sexual relationship, this film also overloads on profanity, alcohol use, and a scene of violence in the nude.
Parent Movie Review
What would you do to save your house? The answer for Maddie Barker (Jennifer Lawrence) is “anything”. Rising property values in Long Island make it impossible for Maddie to pay the taxes on her Montauk house so the city has just seized her car – a big problem since she moonlights as an Uber driver. As her desperation mounts, Maddie sees an online ad that might give her a way out.
Laird and Allison Becker (Matthew Broderick and Laura Benanti) are looking for a solution to their son’s social isolation. Nineteen-year-old Percy (Andrew Barth Feldman) doesn’t hang out with friends, drink alcohol, or date. He’s headed to Princeton in the fall and his parents are afraid that his lack of interpersonal experience will see him flounder as a freshman. These helicopter parents go into overdrive, posting an ad offering a car to the young woman who can get their son out of his shell and into her bed.
It’s a strange offer – the parents I know don’t pay for sex for their teens – but Maddie is convinced this is her best option and persuades the Beckers that she can help their son fit into the young adult world. Looking forward to a quick payday, Maddie heads off to seduce Percy and drive off into the sunset in a Buick…
Promoted as a sex comedy, No Hard Feelings is a very creepy movie. Maddie is 32 years old and is trying to persuade a 19-year-old to have sex with her. It’s horrifying to watch her stalk, manipulate and try to coerce this young man – who is often frightened or confused by her aggressive sexual behavior. If the genders were reversed, I can only imagine the outrage at the idea of an older man manipulating a young woman in such a fashion. This is a predatory relationship; not a funny one.
Given that the plot is based on transactional sex, it’s not surprising that the movie abounds in negative content. There are frequent make out scenes and several views of rear male buttock nudity. There’s also an extended scene combining full frontal female nudity with physical combat, including punching and shoving. Seeing a naked woman get hit in the groin doesn’t register high on my laugh-o-meter. The movie really doesn’t get any better: there’s attempted sex, more violence, some vandalism, reckless driving, excessive alcohol consumption, and over five dozen sexual expletives, along with other profanity.
I cannot recommend this movie, but I will give credit where it’s due: the story provides a more nuanced look at objectification than I expected. It’s obvious that Maddie is commodified – the Beckers buy her body to meet their twisted parenting goals. It’s a difficult decision for Maddie, but she’s convinced that her late mother would never want her to lose the house. (Frankly, I’d rather see my daughter sell a house than sell her body, but apparently that didn’t occur to the screenwriters.) Once Maddie steels herself to have meaningless sex with Percy, she is startled to discover that this guy wants to “get to know her” before he sleeps with her. As Maddie spends time with Percy, she discovers a young man who is dorky but also talented, sweet and genuine. When she begins to see him as more than just her path to a car, she finds it increasingly difficult to manipulate him and is forced into some painful self-assessment. The movie might have a cynical premise, but it follows a trajectory of growth and comes to an unexpectedly warmhearted conclusion. It’s not enough to make for a good film, but it does provide a silver lining.Directed by Gene Stupnitsky. Starring Jennifer Lawrence, Natalie Morales, Matthew Broderick. Running time: 103 minutes. Theatrical release June 23, 2023. Updated June 23, 2023
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No Hard Feelings
Rating & Content Info
Why is No Hard Feelings rated R? No Hard Feelings is rated R by the MPAA for sexual content, language, some graphic nudity and brief drug use
Violence: A woman is sprayed in the face with mace. A man accidentally punches a woman in the throat. There are two scenes of people holding on to the hood of a car while it is in motion. A driver races to beat a train at a crossing. A character’s hoodie catches fire. A person vandalizes a car and drives it into a tree, causing a tree branch to fall on it. A naked woman fights with three people; the fight involves punching, shoving, and hits to the crotch. This scene involves full frontal nudity for the woman and although dim light somewhat obscures some anatomical detail it’s still obvious. An angry woman kicks a hole in a door.
Sexual Content: Transactional sex is a basis of the plot. A woman agrees to have sex with a man in exchange for a car. There are frequent discussions of sex and being “horny”. A woman stalks a man and tries to seduce him. There is some crude sexual innuendo. A woman gyrates her hips and asks a man to smack her backside. A woman removes her clothes and urges a man to go skinny dipping with her (her bare back is visible) There are several scenes of men and women kissing, making out, and being in bed together (with an attempt at sex). A man’s erect penis, covered with a novelty item, is briefly visible at the edge of the screen. There are several scenes (some very lengthy) involving rear male buttock nudity. A man is seen walking around in nothing but his underwear. There’s mention of a teenager having sex with a school teacher, who later goes to prison. A woman wears a plunging neckline, exposing significant cleavage.
Profanity: The script contains over five dozen sexual expletives (and a sexual hand gesture), 13 terms of deity, eight scatological curses, six crude anatomical expressions, and a couple of minor profanities. There’s brief reference to female sexual anatomy.
Alcohol / Drug Use: Main characters frequently drink alcohol and a woman encourages a man to drink alcohol even though he is 19, which is underage in the jurisdiction. Main characters drink heavily and sometimes get drunk. An adult smokes a cigarette and later smokes marijuana.
Page last updated June 23, 2023
No Hard Feelings Parents' Guide
Why does Maddie change her mind about her relationship with Percy? What does she learn about him? What does she see in herself as she spends time with him? How does sharing their vulnerabilities with each other help both Maddie and Percy?
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If you want more teen-friendly movies about growing up and undertaking serious self-assessment, you can try Darby and the Dead, What’s Love Got to Do With It?, A Week Away, Chang Can Dunk, and Hello, Goodbye, and Everything in Between. A police dog stars in Rescued by Ruby.