Ode to Joy Parent Guide
A quirky, laughter-filled romantic comedy pushed into a Restricted rating by three sexual expletives and some sexual innuendo.
Parent Movie Review
Charlie (Martin Freeman) has a problem. “Being in a relationship is about being happy,” he gripes, “I can’t do that.” It’s not as if Charlie has psychological issues that prevent him from developing a healthy relationship. Charlie suffers from cataplexy and narcolepsy, related neurological disorders which cause him to lose muscle tone, fall down, and go to sleep involuntarily after feeling strong emotions – in Charlie’s case, joy.
Charlie has developed strategies to cope with his condition: he wears bland shirts so no-one will compliment his wardrobe, he listens to somber music as he walks to work so he won’t be cheered by cute babies or puppies, he recites depressing news stories to himself, and he never, ever falls in love. And then, one day, Francesca (Morena Baccarin) bursts into his life. Entranced by her vitality, Charlie takes a risk and asks her out. He hedges his bets by putting tacks in his socks and getting tickets to a gloomy play, but even that can’t stop the couple from developing a rapport. Flooded with happiness, Charlie collapses and winds up in hospital. Fearing further humiliation, Charlies decides to give up on love forever…but Francesca is a difficult woman to forget.
Ode to Joy is a light-hearted, quirky movie with many of the standard rom-com tropes: a meet-cute, opposites who attract, something to keep the lovers apart, and a goofy side kick (Charlie’s brother, Cooper, played by Jake Lacy). But the barrier keeping the couple apart is extremely unusual and Charlie’s coping strategies seem to automatically preclude happiness or romance. Instead of figuring out the plot twenty minutes ahead, I was left wondering how the story was going to resolve. Suspense in a rom-com is rare and when that is combined with charming performances by all the lead actors, it makes Ode to Joy an eminently watchable film.
Unfortunately, this entertaining production comes with its share of content issues, principally profanity and sexual content. There are several conversations containing sexual innuendo, a scene where a man pantomimes a sexual activity, and another scene involving fully clothed unmarried couples embracing passionately in bed. The film also contains 18 profanities, including three sexual expletives. This trio of sexual expletives is particularly unfortunate because they are the only reason I can see for the R-rating this film received. Were it not for these unfortunate swear words, Ode to Joy would sit comfortably at the high end of a PG-13 rating.
There are positive messages to be found in this production: family loyalty, making the best of your circumstances, and finding the courage to do what you fear. And these messages are embedded in a cheerful, effervescent story that bubbles with laughter. Ode to Joy might not fill audiences with joy, but it will certainly make them chuckle.Directed by Jason Winer. Starring Morena Baccarin, Melissa Rauch, and Martin Freeman.. Running time: 97 minutes. Theatrical release August 9, 2019. Updated August 14, 2019
Watch the trailer for Ode to Joy
Ode to Joy
Rating & Content Info
Why is Ode to Joy rated R? Ode to Joy is rated R by the MPAA for some language and sexual references.
Violence: A man falls over at a wedding; mention is made of injuries suffered by someone else. A woman yells and rips pages out of a book. A man puts tacks in his sock to cause pain and prevent himself from feeling happy. A man pushes his brother.
Sexual Content: A man is asked if he’s gay or is a eunuch. A man describes falling asleep during a sexual encounter and waking up naked surrounded by paramedics. An actor in a play mentions a prostitute and a specific sexual act. A woman says she’s sexually attracted to a specific celebrity. A woman jokes about getting super-sized implants after a mastectomy. There is a coded reference to sex in a massage parlor. A man complains about waiting for a sexual relationship and mentions masturbation with a slang term. A man uses a slang term to describe sexual frustration. A man pantomimes a sexual activity on two occasions. A man and woman kiss on a couple of occasions. A woman shows her underwear to her boyfriend. A woman climbs on top of her boyfriend and kisses him passionately. There is mention of male sexual arousal but with no detail. A slang phrase for sex is used.
Profanity: There are approximately 18 profanities in this movie, including three sexual expletives, seven scatological terms, five anatomical words, eight terms of deity and a few vulgar terms.
Alcohol / Drug Use: A main character drinks a beer in a bar. Adults drink wine and beer in a social setting. A man and woman drink wine out of the bottle. A person reminisces about being given a joint by a 12 year old sibling. A character mentions someone getting drunk.
Page last updated August 14, 2019
Ode to Joy Parents' Guide
Charlie encourages Cooper to date Francesca. Why does he do that? Do you think that’s fair to Cooper? What would you do in Charlie’s place?
Narcolepsy is one of many sleep disorders. Do you have trouble getting a full night of restful sleep? Check here to see if you might be dealing with a sleep disorder.
Loved this movie? Try these books…
Looking for more quirky love stories? Check out Alexander McCall Smith’s novel My Italian Bulldozer. Recently dumped by his girlfriend, Paul Stuart heads for Italy to soothe his broken heart. When his car rental falls through, he winds up driving a bulldozer instead.
In The Rosie Project, author Graeme Simsion introduces readers to Don Tillman, a socially award genetics professor who sets out to find the perfect partner. But the road to true love rarely works out the way we expect.
And for offbeat love stories in a different cultural milieu, check out Farahad Zama’s The Marriage Bureau for Rich People. Warmhearted and full of laughter, this is a clean read.
Related home video titles:
Ode to Joy isn’t the only film to use a medical condition as a way to keep lovers apart. In Five Feet Apart, two teens fall in love but can’t touch each other because they have cystic fibrosis. A Walk to Remember features teens whose romance is affected by a serious illness.
If enjoy Martin Freeman’s performance in this movie, you will want to watch him as Bilbo Baggins in The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journeyand the rest of the film trilogy.