The Adults Review: Navigating Nostalgia And Family Dynamics

Dustin Guy Defa’s The Adults takes a leisurely stroll down the winding paths of family dynamics and nostalgia, weaving a tale that is both heartwarming and bittersweet. With a talented ensemble cast led by Michael Cera, Hannah Gross, and Sophia Lillis, the film immerses us in the complex relationships of siblings grappling with the past, present, and the uncertain future. Read on as I discuss in this The Adults review.

Please note that this The Adults review will be spoiler-free.

The narrative opens with Eric’s (Michael Cera) desire for a short visit home that quickly snowballs into an extended stay. This change sets the stage for a nuanced exploration of familial bonds, as Eric reconnects with his sisters, Rachel (Hannah Gross) and Maggie (Sophia Lillis). The initial moments are delicately constructed, painting a vivid picture of each sibling’s personality and the tensions that underlie their relationships. Eric’s aspiration to prove himself as the town’s premier poker player adds an intriguing layer of personal motivation, intertwining his present actions with his past decisions.

The Good Parts Of The Adults Review

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Cera’s portrayal of Eric strikes a balance between endearing and frustrating. His awkward charm and slouched posture reflect a character trying to find his footing in both the familial and personal realms. The evolution of his relationship with Maggie is one of the film’s highlights, capturing the essence of sibling camaraderie that transcends time. Lillis infuses Maggie with infectious enthusiasm, her attempts to bridge the emotional gap between the siblings bringing genuine warmth to the screen.

Gross, as Rachel, delivers a nuanced performance that adds depth to the film’s emotional core. Her strained interactions with Eric reveal a history of hurt and misunderstanding, and as the narrative unfolds, we witness the layers of their resentment peeling away. However, some of the dialogue exchanges between the siblings occasionally feel stilted, impacting the overall authenticity of their interactions.

The supporting characters play an essential role in shaping the film’s atmosphere. Wavyy Jonez as Dennis and Anoop Desai as Josh contribute moments of levity and bring the small-town setting to life. Dennis’s carefree demeanour and Josh’s deadpan humour offer a refreshing counterbalance to the more introspective moments shared by the siblings.

Defa’s direction successfully captures the essence of nostalgia, employing a blend of vibrant visuals and evocative music. The film’s setting, a quaint town with a nostalgic charm, becomes a character in its own right. The camera work and cinematography effectively convey the familiarity and comfort of home, contrasting with the emotional disarray faced by the characters. The use of handheld shots and intimate close-ups draws the audience into the characters’ world, allowing us to feel their joys and struggles on a personal level.

The Bad Parts Within The Adults Review

The Adults review Cera.

Where The Adults stumbles, however, is in its tonal consistency. The film oscillates between moments of poignancy and instances of comedy, occasionally creating a jarring shift in mood. While this approach can work when executed with finesse, in this case, it occasionally disrupts the immersive experience. Certain comedic elements feel forced, undermining the otherwise organic interactions between the characters.

The climax of the film is a culmination of emotional confrontations and revelations that bring a satisfying resolution to several plot threads. Eric and Rachel’s reconciliation, although heartwarming, feels somewhat rushed given the depth of their issues. The pacing in the latter half of the film could have benefited from a more measured approach, allowing the emotional beats to resonate more powerfully.

Overall Impression Of The Adults 

The Adults presents a compelling exploration of sibling relationships and the weight of nostalgia. The performances, particularly by Cera, Gross, and Lillis, provide the film with emotional depth and resonance. Defa’s direction captures the essence of home and family, but the inconsistent tonal shifts and occasionally stilted dialogue prevent the film from reaching its full potential. With its heart in the right place and moments of genuine connection, The Adults offers a touching story that could have benefited from a more polished execution.

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The Adults Review: Navigating Nostalgia And Family Dynamics
  • Acting - 8/10
  • Cinematography/Visual Effects - 7.5/10
  • Plot/Screenplay - 7/10
  • Setting/Theme - 7/10
  • Watchability - 7/10
  • Rewatchability - 5.5/10
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About Caillou Pettis

Caillou Pettis is a professional film critic and journalist as well as the author of While You Sleep, The Inspiring World of Horror: The Movies That Influenced Generations, and co-author of Out of Time: True Paranormal Encounters. He has been writing in the entertainment industry for over seven and a half years professionally. Throughout the years, he has written articles for publications including Gold Derby, Exclaim!, CBR, Awards Radar, Awards Watch, Flickering Myth, BRWC, Starburst Magazine, Punch Drunk Critics, Mediaversity Reviews, Vinyl Chapters, Northern Transmissions, and Beats Per Minute.