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Parents' Guide to

American Hustle

By S. Jhoanna Robledo, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 16+

Mesmerizing mature drama with just a bit of sex, violence.

Movie R 2013 138 minutes
American Hustle Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 15+

Based on 16 parent reviews

age 16+

I Question the Assertion of Positive Messages

American Hustle is a big budget major release film and benefits from some of the biggest stars around including Christian Bale, Amy Adams, Bradly Cooper, Jeremy Renner, Robert De Niro, and Jennifer Lawrence. While I personally enjoyed the film I take issue with Common Sense's suggestion that it contains positive messages. These characters are con artists, criminals, crooked politicians, and dirty federal agents. The plot is fun with its twists and turns, but at least for me, the victories or failures of characters failed to have the emotional impact they could have. I didn't really care what happened to any of them, including actors I love in other things, being a huge fan of Bradly Cooper, Christian Bale, and Jennifer Lawrence. The infidelity is also a problem I feel Common Sense did not adequately address. I'm not opposed to infidelity as a story element but I don't feel this movie did a good enough job of showing it as immoral. In conclusion, I enjoy the film, which is well acted, directed, and written. However, I don't come away from it feeling very positive about the state of humanity. Early in the film Irving says "That's not the way the world works. Not black and white, a whole lot of gray." This movie definitely chooses to focus on the gray, which makes for interesting story but conflicts clear positive messages.
2 people found this helpful.
age 17+

There is nudity

We started this show due to Common Sense Media’s statement of no nudity or strong sexual content. The first episode shows a stripper scene and full rear nudity and side breast. While it was a brief scene, it was not one we were expecting. The nudity content should be updated to truly reflect the scene.

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (16 ):
Kids say (26 ):

American Hustle immerses you in its pounding intensity from the very beginning, and it only accelerates from there. The moment we see Christian Bale's paunchy swindler create his intricate comb-over, we know we're in Wonderland territory. Nothing will be as it seems. And what comes next is a joy of non-linear storytelling, conjuring a world that still seems familiar despite being set decades ago. It's bold and operatic and unafraid. The ensemble is fantastic, led by Bale who leaves any vanity at the door to churn out a performance filled with layers. He's criminal and loving and admirable, even in the worst circumstances. Adams is stunning -- there's no other character like her Sydney. You root for them both, as well as Irving's nutty wife, and the politician, Mayor Carmine Pollito, who gets caught in the dragnet.

Just when you think the movie can't get any better, American Hustle pulls another brilliant sleight of hand, sending the plot careening in a new mind-bending direction. You'll find yourself holding your breath often, and not because the characters are pulling some feat-of-physicality stunt. The subjects are grand and complicated, and the story has the makings of a classic heist film. But, at the heart of it all -- and this is what makes it so memorable and insightful -- is a quest for love and partnership.

Movie Details

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