A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Violence & Scariness
Characters use a gun, cut their skin with a knife, and a character is beaten and another is killed. Tense scenes, injuries and death.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Very explicit sexual references including insults.
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Extremely strong language.
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Drinking, smoking, drug use by teens and kids.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this movie includes extremely strong language and very explicit sexual references, including sexual epithets. A character is called "faggot" and insulted because his fathers are gay. Middle schoolers are challenged to French kiss and others are dared to take off their clothes. There is a bare tush and implied nudity. Characters use a gun, cut their skin with a knife, and a character is beaten and another is killed. Teens and younger kids drink, smoke, and use drugs, and one who declines is insulted and pressured. The movie's themes include vigilante justice and there is a painful reference to suicide. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
MEAN CREEK never makes it all the way from idea to story, but the talented young performers give their characters subtlety and depth far in excess of the script. The screenplay emphasizes the obvious and the characters are too obviously created to fit into neat categories across the range of perspectives. The car they drive to the river has an "honor student" bumper sticker on it. The bully pecking order from Marty's older brother down to Sam is as carefully calibrated as a slide rule. After-school-special level dialogue hangs heavily in the air after it is spoken.
But each member of the cast is remarkable, utterly genuine, transcending the limits of the screenplay, benefiting from sensitive direction. Peck bravely lets us share the kids' mixture of impatience and pity toward George. Culkin provides another touchingly open and brave performance. Mechlowicz is exceptionally impressive, with real leading man potential (more than making up for appearing in the awful Eurotrip). The cinematography is superb, showing us the contrast between the placid surroundings and the explosive emotions. But it is the cast that makes this trip up the creek worthwhile.
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Our Editors Recommend
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