Our Friend parents guide

Our Friend Parent Guide

This is a gut-wrenching tale of premature death and friendship but at least it's well told.

Overall C

Digital on Demand: After Nicole is diagnosed with cancer, her husband and kids struggle to keep their lives together. But then their best friend shows up...

Release date January 22, 2021

Violence B-
Sexual Content C+
Profanity D
Substance Use C

Why is Our Friend rated R? The MPAA rated Our Friend R for language

Run Time: 124 minutes

Parent Movie Review

There are two ways to view Our Friend. You can see it as a moving story of love, friendship, and unfathomable kindness or as a frightening illustration of the capriciousness of fate. Think of it as an emotional Rorschach test: when you watch this movie do you see inspiration or despair?

The story opens in New Orleans with happy newlyweds – Matt Teague (Casey Affleck) , a talented journalist, and Nicole (Dakota Johnson), a kind-hearted, empathetic actress. The two meet Dane (Jason Segel), a wannabe comedian, and they all become fast friends. For the next decade or so, they weave in and out of each other’s lives, with Dane living on Matt and Nicole’s couch for a while. When Nicole is diagnosed with cancer, Dane comes to their Alabama home to help for a few days, and winds up staying for a year.

Our Friend is an emotionally grueling film to watch. Although the movie thankfully spares us scenes of bodily fluids and open wounds, it shows the horrific toll the disease takes on Nicole and everyone who loves her, especially her children. This is a film that will have you making anxious donations to cancer research…just in case.

It’s not just Nicole’s disease that rips at your heartstrings. Dane has his own challenges with mental health and rootlessness and I was left wondering if there’s a point at which friendship crosses into co-dependency. Don’t get me wrong here: I’m not criticizing anyone’s choices; I am just concerned. That said, Dane’s self-sacrificial care for the Teagues stands in stark contrast to their fair-weather friends who initially inundate the family with casseroles before drifting away from the harsh realities of cancer. Even in the face of illness and impending demise, small betrayals still sting.

I’m not sure what attracts viewers to gut-wrenching stories about premature death – especially ones that are based on real people. Movies like this make my stomach knot up and usually rob me of several hours of sleep as I try to purge scenes of suffering and heartbreak from my brain. But if this is your kind of film, you’ll be pleased to know that it’s well made. The acting is solid and the production values are good – although I’m not a fan of the way the film cuts back and forth along its timeline.

If, for some reason, you are considering watching Our Friend with teens, you should know that the R rating is fair, given the movie’s 18 sexual expletives, scenes of alcohol consumption, and non-explicit sexual content. But, to be honest, these issues fade in comparison with the movie’s fear factor – the over-riding question, “What if this happens to me?”

Directed by Gabriela Cowperthwaite. Starring Dakota Johnson, Casey Affleck, and Jason Segel. Running time: 124 minutes. Theatrical release January 22, 2021. Updated

Watch the trailer for Our Friend

Our Friend
Rating & Content Info

Why is Our Friend rated R? Our Friend is rated R by the MPAA for language

Violence: There’s a brief mention of a shooting that kills children. A man faints. People talk about putting down a dog with cancer. A person mentions a past plan to kill herself. A child’s arm gets burned in an accident with an iron. A main character throws wine bottles on the floor and they shatter. A woman hits and pushes adults.
Sexual Content: A man and woman kiss in the shower; her back and his chest are visible. A person talks about phone sex. There are conversations about extramarital affairs. A man is seen sitting on the toilet. A husband and wife are shown embracing in bed.
Profanity: There are over four dozen profanities in the movie, including 18 sexual expletives (one written), ten scatological curses, and over 15 terms of deity. There are also minor curse words and a variety of crude anatomical expressions.
Alcohol / Drug Use: A minor character smokes a cigarette. Main characters drink beer and other alcoholic beverages at social events. A main character takes prescription drugs frequently. A man drinks alcohol while he’s upset.

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Our Friend Parents' Guide

This movie is based on a true story, which is told by Michael Teague in his award-winning article:

Esquire: The Friend: Love Is Not a Big Enough Word

If you’re interested in funding cancer research, you can consider the following organizations:

American Cancer Society

Canadian Cancer Society

Cancer Research UK

Home Video

Related home video titles:

Real life movies about cancer include I Still Believe, Clouds and All My Life.

Fictional couples confront cancer in A Walk to Remember and Life in a Year.

Movies about friendship in difficult times include The Perks of Being a Wallflower, The Upside, The Boy in the Striped Pajamas.