Instant family movie review - Aussieboyreviews


Instant Family is heartwarming, entertaining and funny comedy-drama, but there are some serious themes, too. The plot is based on the adoption story of co-writer and director Sean Anders, and it’s a brilliant family-themed movie!


A married couple, Pete and Ellie Wagner, decide to adopt teenaged Lizzy and her preteen siblings. Their life begins to get troubled when they face the challenges of fostering children.

Movie Images

Movie details

Director: Sean Anders
Cast: Mark Wahlberg, Rose Byrne, Isabela Moner, Gustavo Escobar, Julianna Gamiz, Octavia Spencer, Tig Notaro, Tom Segura, Margo Martindale
Writer: Sean Anders, John Morris
Release Date (Australia): 10 January 2019
Runtime: 118 minutes/1h 58m
Genre: Comedy, Drama
Country: USA
Language: English, Spanish


Themes (PG)

The film contains thematic content relating to adoption and family disputes, as well as references to child abuse and neglect, drug addiction and a man sending nude photos to a teenage girl.

Violence (PG)

The film contains depictions of violence in the form of people being kicked and slapped, as well as injury detail in the form of nosebleeds and a child accidentally dropping a nail gun and shooting a nail into his foot.

Coarse Language (M)

The film contains a singular use of the word “f**k”, in addition to use of the words “s**t”, “bitch”, “ass”, “d**k”, “whore”, “douche” and “hell”.

Drug Use (PG)

The film contains a verbal reference to building a “meth lab” and frequent verbal references to substance abuse and drug addiction.

Sex (PG)

The film contains verbal references to masturbation.

mpaa rating

PG-13 (for thematic elements, sexual material, language and some drug references)

Aussie boy's thoughts

Instant Family is simply Sean Anders co-writing and directing his feel-good story of adoption and family; the entire film is mesmerising, hilarious, heartfelt and just leaves you in a really bright mood. The thing is, there are obviously viewers who are gonna get offended because they feel this movie romanticises the difficult process. In reality, it does show the hard times and the great times in an effective upbeat way.

As always, Mark Wahlberg and Rose Byrne are simply brilliant in staging a married couple who decide to adopt a teenager and her younger siblings. On the other hand, the child actors are unnoticeably exceptional! They kind of seem forgotten as a cast who perfectly portray a family, with lots of happiness, but other feelings and tough emotions.

Whilst being a film relating to themes around the foster care and adoption system, there’s definitely and predictable some other tough thematic elements and references throughout. This movie is absolutely astonishing at exploring the difficult themes, but in other serious moments, the film is still able to provide comedy relief. In the end, Instant Family touches down on the light-hearted perspective of some heavy stuff, which leaves it as moving.

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