Story

The Coopers are a dysfunctional family who don’t really like spending time together, but on Christmas Eve they still get together to celebrate. Love the Coopers follows the family members in the lead-up to their Christmas celebration.

Charlotte (Diane Keaton) and Sam (John Goodman) are considering divorce now that their children are grown up. They’ve realised that they might not love each other anymore. Hank (Ed Helms) has lost his job and is struggling to find a new one. Bucky (Alan Arkin) befriends Ruby (Amanda Seyfried), a waitress at his local diner because he’s lonely. Emma (Marisa Tomei) is jealous of her sister Charlotte and is caught shoplifting. Eleanor (Olivia Wilde) decides to bring home a man she has just met because she’s afraid that her parents will disapprove of her if she doesn’t have a boyfriend.

When four generations of the family come together, unexpected things happen. They discover things that change their family dynamics and strengthen their relationships forever.

Themes

Family breakdown; marriage and divorce; suicide attempt; adultery; unemployment; grief and loss

Violence

Love the Coopers has some violence. For example:

  • A bully punches Charlie in the face and he gets a bruise.
  • Bo throws mashed potatoes at his parents when they’re yelling at each other.
     

Content that may disturb children

Under 5
In addition to the violent scenes mentioned above, Love the Coopers has some scenes that could scare or disturb children under five years. For example:

  • Parents often yell at each other, and Charlotte and Sam talk about getting a divorce.
  • Bucky has a stroke and briefly appears to be dead before being rushed to hospital.

From 5-8
In addition to the violent scenes and scary visual images mentioned above, Love the Coopers has some scenes that could scare or disturb children in this age group. For example:

  • Hank talks about losing his job and not having enough money to buy Christmas presents for his children. This might be scary and difficult for some children.
  • Eleanor talks about how her baby sister died of a weak heart.
  • Aunt Fishy has dementia and often forgets where she is and who people are.
  • Bucky notices a scar on Ruby’s wrist. It looks like she has self-harmed or attempted suicide, but this is never talked about.

From 8-13
Some children in this age group might also be scared or disturbed by some of the scenes mentioned above.

Over 13
Some younger children in this age group might be disturbed by some of the scenes mentioned above.

Sexual references

Love the Coopers has some sexual references. For example:

  • The word ‘orgasm’ is mentioned.
  • A little boy says, ‘I’ll show you mine if you show me yours’. A little girl then lifts up her dress and shows him her underwear.
  • Characters talk about adultery and Eleanor being ‘the other woman’.
  • Charlie tells himself not to stare at a girl’s breasts.
  • Charlotte and Sam talk about their first time having sex.
  • The doctor pats Eleanor’s bottom.

Alcohol, drugs and other substances

Love the Coopers shows some use of substances. For example:

  • Adults drink in social situations and in bars. They also drink to console themselves.
  • There is a flashback showing a woman passing out from drinking too much alcohol.
  • A teenage neighbour talks about smoking pot, and Charlotte and Sam reminisce about when they smoked pot.
     

Nudity and sexual activity

Love the Coopers shows some sexual activity. For example:

  • Charlie and Lauren, who are teenagers, kiss passionately several times.
  • Other couples kiss.

Product placement

The following products are displayed or used in Love the Coopers: TGI Fridays, McDonald’s and iPhones.

Coarse language

There is some coarse language in Love the Coopers.

Ideas to discuss with your children

Love the Coopers is a rather clichéd Christmas comedy about learning to love and accept your family. Because of its adult themes, sexual references and coarse language, we don’t recommend this movie for children under 12 years, and we also recommend parental guidance for children aged 12-14 years.

The main messages from this movie are that both Christmas and families don’t have to be perfect and that sometimes it takes effort to keep a family together – but it’s worth it. The movie emphasises the importance of honesty and open communication, as well as unconditional acceptance of people and their flaws. 

Love the Coopers also explores the nature of divorce, adultery, loneliness and depression.

This movie could give you the chance to talk with your children about the real-life consequences of shoplifting, divorce, dementia and unemployment.