Suncoast parents guide

Suncoast Parent Guide

If you have an overpowering desire to sob in the theater, this weepy coming-of-age film is a safe bet.

Overall C-

Hulu: A teenager meets an eccentric activist while helping her mother move her brother into a specialized medical facility. (This film is streaming on Disney+ outside of the USA.)

Release date February 9, 2024

Violence A
Sexual Content D
Profanity D
Substance Use D

Why is Suncoast rated R? The MPAA rated Suncoast R for teen drug and alcohol use, language and some sexual references.

Run Time: 109 minutes

Parent Movie Review

For most of her life, Doris (Nico Parker) has cared for her brother Max (Cree Kawa), who has struggled with a stubborn brain tumor since childhood. In recent years the tumor has taken his sight and speech before metastasizing to other areas. Accepting that there are no more treatment options, their mother Kristine (Laura Linney) has decided to move Max into hospice care at the Suncoast.

Despite the impending loss of her brother, Doris feels somewhat relieved. Now that her demanding and frequently difficult mother is sleeping at Suncoast to be with Max, Doris finally has a chance to have a normal childhood – or, at least a footloose and fancy-free adolescence.

Doris’s general cheer at finally finding friends is somewhat smothered by one of them: Paul (Woody Harrelson), an old widower, who warns her that this is no vacation, and she’ll regret not spending more time with Max while she can. Torn between what she should do, what she wants, and what she feels she deserves, Doris discovers that her new found sense of freedom comes with some big drawbacks – particularly increased friction with her mother. Soon the two of them are arguing with the only family they have left.

Suncoast isn’t ever going to be a popcorn movie, folks. Difficult stories about death, parenting, and adolescence are not famously cheery, and this is certainly no exception. Doris is trapped in terrible circumstances which she cannot change. As she flails about seeking a sense of individuality, her problems only grow. You can’t help but feel for the kid.

This story offers a harrowing look at grief and family, but it comes with some structural issues. Specifically, it feels as if the script swallowed a coming-of-age movie and keeps regurgitating tropes one by one when the grief plot needs a break. The movie’s generally not as bad as that makes it sound, but if I can push the simile further, sometimes those hiccups start to feel a little more like retches, and the balance between the themes tips over into the morass of teen melodrama. Ironically, although it’s about teenagers, this film is not particularly appropriate for teens – drug use, sexual situations, and generally inadvisable or inappropriate behaviour are frequent occurrences.

I’m not someone who goes looking for heartbreaking family dramas, but if you have an overpowering desire to sob during a movie, Suncoast is a pretty good bet. Powerhouse performances from Nico Parker and Laura Linney give this film a pretty strong punch, and having Woody Harrelson around doesn’t hurt. You’ll just going to have to put up with every bog-standard bit of adolescent coming-of-age misbehavior to get there.

Directed by Laura Chinn. Starring Nico Parker, Laura Linney, Woody Harrelson. Running time: 109 minutes. Theatrical release February 9, 2024. Updated

Watch the trailer for Suncoast

Rating & Content Info

Why is Suncoast rated R? Suncoast is rated R by the MPAA for teen drug and alcohol use, language and some sexual references.

Violence: None.
Sexual Content: There are frequent discussions of sex between teenagers, who are also seen playing strip drinking games.
Profanity: There are 13 sexual expletives, 16 scatological curses, and frequent use of mild profanities and terms of deity in the script.
Alcohol / Drug Use: Teen characters are seen drinking, smoking marijuana, and taking MDMA and as well as abusing prescription medication. Adult characters are occasionally seen smoking tobacco.

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Related home video titles:

Other teens in tricky spots can be found in The Fallout, The Perks of Being a Wallflower, Words on Bathroom Walls, Fear of Rain, The Fault in Our Stars, and Spontaneous.