Concerned about social media, AI, and screen time?
Subscribe to our newsletter and get the best out of media and tech.
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Offers plenty to talk about, if no real answers. Themes are related to women's power -- and how men relate to that power -- as well as the point at which creative license crosses a line and the concept of nature itself being in charge.
Positive Role Models
In the movie's first half, a major character is a female film director, although she's not particularly admirable. She isn't really seen doing any work, and she indulges in problematic behavior (drinking, illicit sex, etc.).
Violence & Scariness
A man tackles a pregnant woman and throws her down on the floor; she's hurt and needs the hospital. Character hit on the head with a blunt object; blood on his face. Strong arguing, bickering. Shouting. Car crash. Dialogue about a person dying. Other suggested violence.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Violence & Scariness in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Sex, Romance & Nudity
A married man kisses a woman who's not his wife and initiates sex. Woman moans, but sex is interrupted. Two people kiss; one starts to strip. Woman without underwear on; her naked bottom is seen. More kissing. Graphic sex-related talk.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Sex, Romance & Nudity in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Extremely strong language includes constant use of "f--k," "bulls--t," "s--t," "p---y," "a--hole," "bitch," and "d--k," plus "swear to God" and "Jesus Christ."
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Language in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Characters drink heavily (wine, whiskey, etc.) and get staggering drunk. Characters smoke pot/get stoned. Character rolls a joint. Cigarette smoking.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Drinking, Drugs & Smoking in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Black Bear is a drama in two parts. The first charts the disastrous interactions between a film director (Aubrey Plaza) and a married couple, and the second is about the last day of a chaotic film shoot. Characters smoke pot and get high, smoke cigarettes, and drink to staggering (literally) excess. Language is constant and extremely strong, with countless uses of "f--k," "s--t," "bitch," and more. A man throws a pregnant woman to the floor and injures her, and a man is bashed on the head, with some blood shown. There's a car crash, tense bickering, shouting, a description of a person dying, and other suggested violence. In addition to graphic sex-related talk, a married man initiates sex with another woman; the scene includes kissing and moaning, but they're eventually interrupted. A woman kisses and starts to strip for another man; her naked bottom is seen. Overall it's a very mature but brainy, puzzling movie that's constantly intriguing and has powerful, emotional performances. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
A split-personality meta-movie for film fans with a bit more contextual knowledge than average, this drama is filled with intriguing ideas, as well as thoughtful characters and potent performances. Lawrence Michael Levine's Black Bear is a puzzle that challenges viewers to determine what the two halves have to do with one another, what it all means (if anything), and how the bear fits into it. It's the kind of movie that uses the word "solipsism." The movie's first half is mostly a talky soap opera, tense, as characters react to each other's dialogue with agitation and defiance. But it's filmed with intimacy and flow, and it's as emotional as it is brainy.
The second half, while presumably happening in "reality," is far soapier, with more outsized emotions and erratic behaviors, combined with the chaos of a film shoot that's slowly going off the rails. (Terms like "the martini" are used, which may tickle viewers with insider experience.) All of this allows the actors -- especially Plaza -- plenty of space to explore and find amazing edges and curves for their performances. Black Bear wrestles with themes of creativity and male and female power, including a discussion of how the world has gone downhill after the "erosion of traditional gender roles," but perhaps its ultimate point is that, no matter how smart we think we are, nature is in charge.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.