What We Wanted parents guide

What We Wanted Parent Guide

This melancholy relationship movie feels lacks any kind of plot development or, frankly, any reason why you would want to watch it.

Overall D

Netflix: Alice and Niklas are desperate to become parents, but they haven't been able to conceive. Taking a holiday in Sardinia in the hopes that it will help them relax, they meet an Austrian family who only make matters more difficult.

Release date November 11, 2020

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

Why is What We Wanted rated TV-MA? The MPAA rated What We Wanted TV-MA

Run Time: 93 minutes

Parent Movie Review

Alice (Lavinia Wilson) and Niklas (Elyas M’Barek) need a vacation. They’re in the middle of building a house and have failed to conceive again. So they take off for Sardinia in the hopes that a sunny vacation will help them get their relationship back on track. On arrival, they find the cabin next to theirs is occupied by a family that seems to have everything they want – namely, two children. But the vacation proves to be less restful than the couple had hoped, and soon they find themselves arguing and struggling to get along.

As the TV-MA rating should indicate, this is not a movie for younger audiences. As with a lot of European films, there’s a pretty casual attitude towards nudity, and there are a number of scenes with casual female toplessness. As a drama centered on a couple’s desire to have children, there are also a number of candid sexual conversations, and one actual sex scene. Spice that up with a little illegal drug use, profanity, and a suicide attempt, and you have a recipe for a really awkward family movie night.

To make things worse, this movie is inescapably dull. While Alice and Niklas are certainly sympathetic, at least at the beginning, they’re also boring. The plot wanders aimlessly around their Italian resort, blissfully unconcerned with the audience as it reheats the same relationship conflict over and over. If things changed meaningfully along the way, we might feel like there’s a story here – but they don’t. Nothing especially dramatic happens until the last 20 minutes or so, at which point it was far too late to get me to care. And if you need another reason not to watch, the movie is in German with subtitles.

I tend to like the foreign films that come across my desk, since it’s refreshing to see how different cultures view cinema and storytelling, but What We Wanted isn’t what I wanted. I wasn’t looking for 90 minutes of nothing, all of which feels vaguely like the intro to a rom-com that just forgets to be funny or develop a plot. This is the flavored soda water of film – it’s identifiable as a liquid, but undoubtedly one of the most boring things you can do with a liquid.

I can’t recommend this movie except perhaps as a soporific. I might as well have taken a nap and written a review of a half-remembered fever dream. Even as I sit here, details are slipping mercifully from my mind, leaving only a slightly oily residue which I’m sure will be gone by this evening. Or at least, it had better be. No one likes an oily brain.

Directed by Ulrike Kofler. Starring Lavinia Wilson, Elyas M'Barek, and Anna Unterberger. Running time: 93 minutes. Theatrical release November 11, 2020. Updated

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What We Wanted
Rating & Content Info

Why is What We Wanted rated TV-MA? What We Wanted is rated TV-MA by the MPAA

Violence: There is a depiction of an attempted suicide by drug overdose.
Sexual Content: There are several scenes portraying female toplessness. There is one fairly graphic sex scene between a married couple. There are references to miscarriage and abortion.
Profanity:   There are five uses of extreme profanity and nine scatological curses. There are infrequent mild profanities and terms of deity.
Alcohol / Drug Use: Individuals are frequently shown drinking wine or beer with dinner. Two adult characters are seen smoking marijuana.

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