It’s the start of a new year at Wrigley High for Lola (Miley Cyrus) and her friends. Lola’s two best girlfriends are Janice (Lina Esco) and Emily (Ashley Hinshaw). Lola’s BFF (‘best friend forever’) – but not boyfriend – is Kyle (Douglas Booth). Kyle’s best friend Chad (George Finn) is Lola’s current romantic interest.
A lot happens in the year for Lola and her friends. There are breakups with old boyfriends, misunderstandings, reconciliations, parties, Battle of the Bands and a school trip to Paris. Lola also unexpectedly falls in love with Kyle.
Lola’s mother Anne (Demi Moore) ‘accidentally on purpose’ reads Lola’s diary, which records the events of the year. Anne realises she doesn’t know her daughter as well as she thought, and she confronts Lola. Anne and Lola clash, and Lola moves back in with her father Alan (Thomas Jane). Lola and her mother have to do a lot of thinking about their relationship.
Here we outline any topics, issues and ideas in this movie that might upset children and adolescents, so that you can gauge whether it is appropriate for your child. For example, children and adolescents may react adversely to themes of crime, suicide, drug and alcohol dependence, death, serious illness, family breakdown, separation from a parent, animal cruelty or distress, children as victims, natural disasters and racism.
Teenage relationships and sexual activity; family conflicts; social networking
Here we identify any violence in this movie, and explain how and why it might impact on your child or adolescent. In general, movie violence can make children less sensitive to the use of violence in real life. Alternatively, they may become fearful about the prevalence and likelihood of violence in their own world. In some contexts, it can also teach them to see violence as an acceptable means of conflict resolution.
This movie has scenes that show physical violence and frequent verbal abuse. For example:
- Lola and Chad push and shove each other in a school hallway. Friends have to pull them apart. Later on, Anne reprimands Lola for fighting at school.
- A mother slaps her teenage son across the head with a tea towel.
- In one scene Kyle’s father, who is presented as a bullying control freak, shouts at Kyle and pushes him in an abusive way. He picks up Kyle’s beloved guitar and destroys it by smashing it against furniture.
- Lola and Anne have a loud argument. Anne slaps Lola across the face, and Lola walks out.
Content that may disturb children
In addition to the violent scenes mentioned above, this movie has some scenes that could scare or disturb children under eight years. For example:
- Lola is very upset in one scene and lies on her bed crying.
- In a school biology lesson, the students have to cut up a pig’s heart. The scene shows the pig’s heart on a dish. At one point, a student picks up the pig’s heart and chases another student around the classroom.
Children in this age group might also be disturbed by some of the scenes mentioned above.
Children in this age group are unlikely to be disturbed by anything in this movie.
This movie has frequent overt and implied sexual references and innuendo throughout. For example:
- Lola’s boyfriend tells her that at summer camp he ‘hooked up with’ the camp counsellor. Lola tells her boyfriend that she also hooked up with someone, just to try it.
- When Lola takes off her clothes in front of her mother to have a shower, her mother says, ‘Lola! Is that a Brazilian?’ Then she says, ‘I’m not going to let you be a porn star’.
- After breaking up with Lola, her ex-boyfriend says, ‘Now that you’re giving it up to everyone, I could get some’.
- A friend of Lola’s talks about Lola’s mother having sex with a man she was dating.
- A middle-aged man says, ‘Women don’t just screw’.
- A woman says, ‘Everybody knows that Lucy is a slut’.
- Lola is jealous of another girl’s figure and says she wishes she had a bottom like the other girl’s.
- A teenage boy says to a teenage girl, ‘Wow your sister’s hot!’ The girl says, ‘She’s my stepmother’. The older man sitting next to the girl says, ‘She’s my wife’.
- There’s a reference to ‘sleeping with random sluts’.
- There’s a reference to a high-school girl having sex with high-school boys in the school toilets.
- A mother and daughter are talking about the daughter’s poor academic record. The mother says, ‘The most important thing is you’re pretty. You can get a rich husband’.
- Lola’s mother says, ‘A woman should be able to enjoy sex as much as a man’.
Alcohol, drugs and other substances
This movie has drug references and shows substance use and abuse. For example:
- Adults drinks socially.
- Adults and teenagers, including the main characters, smoke.
- In one scene Kyle’s father accuses Kyle of bringing drugs into his house. He holds up two bags. One looks like it has marijuana in it, and the other looks like it has powder.
- At a party Lola’s grandmother drinks until she passes out on a bed. The next day Lola’s grandmother tells Lola’s mother that she can’t hold her liquor like she used to. At the same party high-school boys and girls drink alcohol and smoke marijuana. The next day when Lola’s mother gets home, she is furious about the party. She asks Lola what she had first, ‘Joints or condoms?’ She holds up a partially smoked joint that had been left on the ground and waits for an explanation from Lola’s grandmother.
- Lola and her parents go to a drug awareness meeting at the high school. It includes information about how cannabis can cause psychological illnesses and shows giant-sized images of shadowy areas on a brain. This represents the damage that cannabis use can do to the brain.
- Kyle writes a song that refers to cocaine.
Nudity and sexual activity
This movie has some partial nudity, suggested nudity and some sensuality. For example:
- Characters kiss passionately in many scenes.
- In several scenes, a teenage girl makes sexy advances towards a young male teacher.
- Lola’s mother is shown in bed with her ex-husband and later with another man.
- One scene shows several teenage girls in a school shower block without many clothes on.
- A teenage girl and boy take suggestive photos of each other.
- Girls wear revealing clothing and dance in a sensuous way.
- Kyle and Lola lie fully dressed on a bed kissing passionately. The scene cuts to an image of the pair lying apparently naked beneath the bedcovers. We learn later that they didn’t have sex but spent their time laughing. Later in the movie a similar scene plays out, but this time they do have sex.
- A boy and girl engage in sexual activity in a school toilet cubical. The scene doesn’t show anything but includes suggestive sounds.
The following products are displayed or used in this movie: iPhones and iPads; Apple computers; mobile phones; and Fender and Gibson guitars.
There is some coarse language in this movie.
Ideas to discuss with your children
LOL is a remake of a French movie. It’s a teenage romance for the digital age, targeting older adolescents. If you have younger children, you might be concerned about the movie’s negative messages and role models (both adult and teenage), as well as its many sexual references, teenage sexual behaviour, drug use and family conflict.
The main positive message from this movie is that you can pretend to be anyone to impress others. But when it comes to love, it’s better to be honest.
This movie could also give you the chance to talk with your children about real-life issues such as:
- whether Lola’s mother was justified in reading Lola’s diary (and the differences between a private diary and anything you put online)
- how teenage girls are presented in the movie and the suggestion that being attractive is more important than being smart because girls can marry a rich husband.