Puggo - Jar Jar’s Yoda said:
Whether this is “abuse” is debatable – there are those who think that any sex between an adult and a minor is abuse, whether consensual or not, and regardless of who was the pursuer. There are those who think it is a grey area (probably most think that, including me). And, there are those who think the law should be a lot more permissive.
However, I found the movie’s dealing with this issue to be manipulative (to the viewer). By making the characters seem SO different in age, and by making the parents SO approving and hands off - while being portrayed as highly educated and enlightened, it made me wonder exactly what the movie’s message was supposed to be. The guy was a guest in the parents’ home, and was pretty rude and aggressive. And he was doing their son. It is very, very strange that they didn’t even question whether it was “ok”, or whether their son was even ok with it. Is the message that this is how parents should be? Is that really good?
Other similarly-themed stories include the parents being livid - or at the very least worrying, regardless of whether or not the story sympathizes with the protagonists.
Concern about the messaging of the movie sounds reasonable.
I think we all have a sense that it could be more inappropriate if the ages were farther apart, and especially if the protagonist were younger. Kevin Spacey was accused of abuse of a 14 year old when he was 24. I saw him routinely called a pedophile. His “I’m a gay American” statement outraged many people, not only for trying to deflect from what he did, but for playing into a stereotype of gay men being especially interested in minors.
Even if the relationship in the movie were portrayed in such a way that there was not a scintilla of taking advantage, the concern about parental approval/encouragement seems valid. It would be weird to see a father delighted about a 24 year old man being involved with his 17 year old daughter.
This debate touches on something bigger, I think. And that’s to what extent a movie is serving as some sort of propaganda (for lack of a better word) or merely telling a story where we can judge the characters and actions but still enjoy the movie for what it is. It’s difficult because movies push a certain point of view. If you think a behavior (such as approving parent, or adults involved with minors) is entirely wrong but in the context of the movie you’re supposed to find it wonderful, how do you not have a problem with the film itself?
I have no views on this movie except I haven’t seen it and probably won’t.