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Rafi is a 37-year-old recently divorced career woman who has no intention of getting into another relationship. Dave is a 23-year-old fresh-out-of-college painter.
It's love at first sight.
Helping Rafi heal from a broken heart is her therapist, Lisa, who encourages this new fling despite the 14-year age gap, severe background differences and probability that it won’t last. “It might even do you some good,” Lisa says. “Enjoy your life a little bit—you deserve this.” And all is well until one “small” detail is accidentally revealed: Dave is Lisa’s son. Things soon get messy as Mom wrestles with keeping this revelation a secret from the couple while remaining true to her client and trying to protect her son.
Lisa cares for her son and wants to keep him from making a life-altering mistake, even though she’s described by both Dave and Rafi as a controlling, manipulative mother. “You have my total support in whatever you do,” she eventually tells Dave. She also cares for Rafi both as a client and as a person, often encouraging her with kind words. Dave’s friend, Morris, takes care of his buddy during a time of need. The two often look out for each other.
Rafi encourages Dave to pursue his dreams as a full-time painter and even connects him with his first buyer. Her belief in his abilities also helps Lisa accept her son’s decision to be an artist.
Despite Dave offering to give Rafi the baby she desperately wants, she turns him down, acknowledging that it would change his life forever. “It’s not right,” she explains. “The fact that you’re willing shows how deep your love goes—that’s the gift I’m taking.” (Read my "Conclusion" for more on this shallow “positivity”; see "Sexual Content" for a discussion of how her turning down his baby offer doesn't stop the two from sleeping together for nonprocreational reasons.)
Dave is Jewish; Rafi is not. Therein lies the problem with their relationship—at least according to Lisa, who believes “religion is paramount in a person’s life.” “I don’t want my son to give up on his faith so early,” she says. Dave’s response is to jokingly ask his mom if he’ll “incur the wrath of God” by dating a non-Jew. The couple's religious differences prompt several conversations about the emotional benefits of raising children in a faith-based family, which Rafi acknowledges and in fact wants for her own children someday.
Lisa’s husband asks if Rafi is Catholic or Presbyterian, to which she says it doesn’t matter “where the love of Christ is concerned.” After a model has sex with Dave, she asks him whether he believes in Jesus Christ, and he later makes a joke about observing the Sabbath. When Rafi’s friends ask him whether he cares about his kids being Jewish or not, he replies, “I care if they’re happy.” A parent says, “God bless my daughter.”
Dave and Rafi’s relationship is heavily, if not entirely, based on sex. They’re often seen in bed together or disrobing each other as a prelude to sex. They kiss passionately and make out in several scenes. We see sexual movements during one encounter, and we later hear the couple’s moans. Even more graphic are the play-by-play details Rafi gives Lisa, which include comments about orgasms, organs, frequency, locations, satisfaction, etc. (And yes, the awkwardness of Rafi unknowingly telling her lover’s mother these details is played to the hilt—especially comments about Dave’s penis.)
Women wear low-cut tops, and Lisa even makes a comment about Rafi’s cleavage showing. But the movie doesn't stop at cleavage. Side breast nudity is briefly seen when a girl breezes around an apartment in a loosely tied robe. Rafi and various models are shown in their bras. Rafi sports a bikini.
Several comments are exchanged about people “getting down” each other’s pants. This includes Rafi’s gay friends talking about Dave, whom they overtly hit on. Lisa hands a book to Rafi entitled Lesbians and the Kabbalah: A Match Made in Heaven. Girls dance seductively at a club. When Dave hurriedly tidies up before Rafi enters his room, she asks if he is hiding porno.
More than once, Dave imagines his grandmother hitting herself over the head with a frying pan. Morris, who has an odd fixation with pelting former dates with whipped cream pies, is shown acting on his impulses. As a result, he gets chased by a girl’s guy friends.
Crude or Profane Language
The f-word pops out twice, while the s-word is heard almost 20 times. God’s name is misused 10 times, half of which are in combination with “d--n.” Jesus’ name gets profaned half-a-dozen times. About a dozen other mild profanities are heard, many of which occur on the soundtrack.
Drug and Alcohol Content
Rafi appears to be drunk after a night out. Indeed, wine is consumed on virtually every date and at every meal in the movie. Various alcoholic drinks are shown at a dance club. And when people aren’t drinking wine or hard liquor, they’re downing beers. On his first date with Rafi, Dave buys a six-pack, then declares, “I like beer” while they share it. He goes on to explain that his family doesn’t drink because of their faith, though he says they’ll “occasionally have a sip of wine on the Sabbath.” (They’re later shown drinking a red varietal when Rafi brings over a bottle to have with dinner.) Merlot and “40s” (malt liquor) both get a mention. A bellhop smokes a cigarette. Morris gives a cat beer.
Other Negative Elements
Both Rafi and Dave lie to Lisa about the age of their newfound love interest (before the therapist connects the dots). Lisa, in turn, doesn’t tell the “whole truth” to either when she keeps her knowledge of their relationship a secret. (She does, however, later apologize for crossing ethical and professional boundaries.) On their initial date, Dave trespasses to show Rafi some secluded gardens.
The movie seems to go out of its way to present the reckless, live-it-up days of youth as preferable to fully accepting adulthood. For instance, one sequence splits its scenes between shots of Dave being seduced by a drunk model at a Lower East Side dance club and Rafi enduring a stuffy date at a boring, upscale Manhattan restaurant. [Spoiler Warning] In the end, there’s a sadness when the grown-up world wins out for Rafi, while Dave’s future looks bright—and wild and crazy, of course.
Early on in Prime, Dave offers his take on when a couple can be declared “officially dating”: “It’s when, you know ... you’re staying the night at least three times a week, seeing each other pee.” And later, when Rafi tells Lisa that Dave has slept with two other women before, the recent divorcee comments, “I know ... can you believe that’s it?”
These and other telling lines set the tone for this sexually permissive story full of bed-hopping and noncommitment. In some regards, there is a sweetness to Dave and Rafi. In an incidental way, both want to help each other along at their stage of life. Both are somewhat willing to overlook differences for the sake of love. But as Lisa tells her son, “Love is not always enough ... not when you’re talking about marriage and children.”
That’s some hard-to-swallow yet truthful advice. Unfortunately, it often gets lost amidst Prime’s distorted definition of what love really is. The day after she’s had sex with Dave, Rafi says of her lover, “He gives me more of what I really need than anyone else has.” When they have a fight and call the relationship off, she tells him, “You’re in no place to give me what I need.” And somewhere in between these comments, Dave squelches his mom’s concern about the couple’s fundamental differences by arguing, “I’m just happy, which makes it hard to harp on age or religion or anything else.”
So for both Rafi and Dave, love is about taking, not giving. It’s about what you can do for me. Putting someone else’s desires before mine? Heeding caution, wisdom and solid counsel? Fugghetaboutit!
Other Belief Systems
Readability Age Range
Uma Thurman as Rafi Gardet; Meryl Streep as Lisa Metzger; Bryan Greenberg as Dave Bloomberg; Jon Abraham as Morris; Jerry Adler as Sam
Ben Younger ( )