Tell Me When Parent Guide
This movie's structural issues blunt its otherwise interesting message.
Parent Movie Review
Will (Jesus Zavala) is a young, hardworking, finance professional with a promising career ahead of him in L.A. After an important promotion, Will’s grandfather, Pepe Gustavo (Jose Carlos Ruiz) passes away, leaving a notebook behind with a list of places for Will to visit in Mexico City. Determined to live life to the fullest and connect with his Mexican heritage, Will sets off for Mexico City. There he meets a family friend’s granddaughter, Dani (Ximena Romo), who shows him how to step outside his comfort zone and expand his horizons.
This movie is a struggle to review because the entire film, and my opinion of it, hinges on the last five minutes of runtime, and I don’t want to spoil it for anyone. I would argue that this is meant to be a comedy (not really a romantic comedy) and maybe a bit of a coming-of-age story. There are a few decent laughs, and some astute observations about life and growing up, but not much romance. The lack of a clear genre creates a muddled second act where the audience can get a little lost. I felt like the plot was just meandering around with no real purpose up until the very end.
On that note, I found the story’s major conflict misogynistic. Basically, Will gets upset because Dani rejects his advances. He accuses her of playing with his emotions because she was his friend. Let’s be clear, Will: When women are being nice that doesn’t mean they want sex! Women do not owe anyone sex! Sometimes women just want to be friends with people! As you can imagine, I was sitting here, angry and ready to write a scathing review – that is, until the very end of the movie. As mentioned before, I won’t spoil it, but the ending completely subverts the misogyny in a surprisingly satisfying way. I feel like there’s a fantastic feminist analysis of this movie that could be done, especially considering how the writers set up familiar tropes so that the audience thinks they know how it will end, before tearing those expectations apart.
That said, I don’t know if those last five minutes are worth the ninety-two preceding them. Most of the film is boring and meandering. There are some surrealist moments that don’t quite seem to fit the tone, and Will is not a very likable main character. The dubs are ok, but not great, so I do recommend watching with subtitles if you don’t speak Spanish.
This is not a movie for kids, due to high amounts of profanity and pervasive alcohol consumption, and because the story would probably be boring and unrelatable to a young audience. I’m not going to say you should completely avoid Tell Me When, because it’s really not that bad, but I also can’t give it a strong recommendation. If you’re a feminist film student it might be worth a watch for analytical reasons, but for most audiences I can’t see it being a hit.Directed by Gerardo Gatica. Starring Jesus Zavala, Ximena Romo, Veronica Castro. Running time: 97 minutes. Theatrical release April 23, 2021. Updated April 23, 2021
Watch the trailer for Tell Me When
Tell Me When
Rating & Content Info
Why is Tell Me When rated TV-MA? Tell Me When is rated TV-MA by the MPAA
Violence: A woman slaps a man in the face twice.
Sexual Content: A man and woman kiss. A man is given advice to have sex with a woman a couple times, though he never follows that advice. Euphemisms such as “get laid” are used.
Profanity: Extreme, moderate, and mild profanity is used throughout the film, including over 10 uses of a sexual expletive and a crude hand gesture. Terms of deity are also used throughout.
Alcohol / Drug Use: A woman is seen smoking a vape pen. Adults drink throughout the movie, both at restaurants and at home. Most of the drinking is social, though in one scene a man turns to beer when he is emotionally distraught. A man becomes drunk after taking shots of mezcal. An actress smokes a (presumably) fake cigarette in a play.
Page last updated April 23, 2021
Tell Me When Parents' GuideWhat does the ending of the movie teach us about relationships, consent, and the “friend zone”? How is Dani referred to by some of the other characters after she rejects Will? Is that fair to her?
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Movies often overlap the categories of friend and romantic partner. In The Map of Tiny Perfect Things, Mark wants a more serious relationship than does Margaret. But they’re trapped in a time loop so there’s plenty of time to work out their differences. Julianne and Michael have always been best buds but when Julianne learns that her friend is getting married, she realizes that she loves him. In My Best Friend’s Wedding, she has to figure out what to do next.