Amores Perros

Movie review by
Andrea Beach, Common Sense Media
Amores Perros Movie Poster Image
Gripping but gory subtitled drama isn't for the squeamish.
  • R
  • 2000
  • 154 minutes

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The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

Love causes tremendous suffering. Love between family members, even parents and children, can go horribly wrong. You can dream and make all the plans you like, but fate will intervene and put something in your way so that all your hopes and dreams were for nothing. We are also what we've lost, not just what we have now: Our past experiences will always be a big part of who we are.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Each character is easy to sympathize with in some way, but they each do wrong, too. Some wrongs are fairly minor, like becoming jealous and starting an argument, but most are cruel and criminal.


Lots and lots of blood, and some gore, from dog fighting. Dogs shown attacking each other, growling, yelping, and crying in pain; a few children are present at the dog fights. A violent car crash is the central event and is shown several times with injured and dead victims, lots of blood, and cries of pain. Blood and some light gore from injuries to people, including several gunshots and beatings. A man shoots a dog at point-blank range. Armed robbery with yelling and brandishing guns. Kidnapping. Beatings with blunt objects and kicking. A stabbing in the stomach. A high-speed car chase with guns fired and lots of blood shown two or three times. Several bloody, dead bodies of dogs after they were attacked by another dog; the dead dogs are burned. A kidnapping victim is tied up and gagged. A gun held right against a man's head; the victim is terrified. Several kicks in the crotch. Sex and violence linked once in a sequence that cuts frequently between a sex scene and a man being kidnapped and beaten. A pet dog gets stuck under the floorboards of an apartment for many days; its whining and scratching are heard.


One sex scene briefly shows an older teen's bare breasts, thrusting, and kissing with tongue. Simulated sex scene with clothes on shows groping, tongues, and thrusting. Another shows kissing and a hand reaching up a skirt and thrusting. Older teens or young adults use profanity to talk about having sex with a fat woman. A teen, married but still in school, talks briefly about an unwanted pregnancy and abortion. Sex and violence linked once in a sequence that cuts frequently between a sex scene and a man being kidnapped and beaten.


Language almost nonstop for the first half of the movie, and translated from Spanish:  "f--k," "bulls--t," "bastards," "s--t," "motherf----r," "ass," "homo," "f--got," "a--hole," and many variations of each. The title of the movie is translated as "Love's a Bitch."


Cans of Modelo beer briefly seen. Incidental food and beverage products briefly seen. Some stores like corner groceries, drugstores, banks, and others in the background on city-street locations.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Lots of plastic cups, cans, and bottles of alcohol shown at dog fights; children are present. Several characters smoke cigarettes, sometimes in close-ups; lots of people smoking in the background. An adult has milk with a clear alcoholic beverage in it. A drunk grandmother ignores a crying baby and takes another sip of her drink. A man offers rum several times. A teen asks his brother for a joint and they hint at dealing drugs.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Amores Perros is an Oscar-nominated movie from 2000 in Spanish with English subtitles. Lots of bloody violence and some gore mean it's not for the faint of heart. It's especially not for animal lovers:  A dog-fighting ring is a major plot element, and violent, bloody dog fights are shown, as are the bloody bodies of injured and dead dogs. People are shot and beaten a lot, too, and the central event is a horrific car crash. Lots of blood, injuries, gunshots, a stabbing, kidnappings, and beatings show blood and injuries. One sex scene shows a teen's bare breasts; several sex scenes show thrusting, groping, and kissing with tongue. Sex and violence are paired by cutting back and forth between a sex scene and a man being kidnapped and beaten bloody. Several characters smoke, and there's a lot of background smoking. Lots of drinking is shown at the dog fights, and a few children are at the fights, too. A woman drinks and ignores a crying infant. A man offers rum several times to someone he has kidnapped and tied up. Almost nonstop profanity in the first half of the movie, translated from Spanish, includes "f--k," "s--t," "a--hole," "f--got," and more. The title is translated as "Love's a Bitch."

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What's the story?

In AMORES PERROS, a terrible car crash changes the lives and loves of a large cast of characters. Octavio (Gael Garcia Bernal) is in love with his sister-in-law and comes up with a horrible way to make enough money to leave town with her. Top supermodel Valeria (Goya Toledo) has to put her career on hold when her leg's badly broken, which puts a huge strain on her relationship with her lover right after they've moved in together. Ex-con and killer-for-hire El Chivo (Emilio Echevarria) lives in squalor while caring for a small pack of dogs. After 20 years, is it too late for him to reach out to his daughter, who thinks he's dead?

Is it any good?

Acclaimed director Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu's first feature, nominated for Best Foreign Language Film in 2001, is as gripping and thought-provoking as it is harsh and hard to watch. He takes an unblinking, cynical look at the ways love can hit you like a head-on collision and leave you as emotionally wounded as the victims of his literal car crash are damaged physically. Violence, blood, and gore abound, against both humans and dogs. But the compelling characters and top-notch acting make the film well worth viewing, if only for mature viewers who can handle the strong content and who aren't at all squeamish.

The now-familiar structure of starting with the crash, going back through events leading up to it, and then moving forward to follow its impact on the large cast, works well here. It manages to build and maintain suspense while keeping the viewer engaged in trying to put the puzzle pieces together. Overall, Amores Perros raises a lot of questions about love and how it treats us, how we treat dogs, how or if we recover when fate deals us a blow, and many more questions worth thinking about.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the violence in Amores Perros. Is there a reason for it here? What about the dog fights? Is it too much? Are your emotions the same whether the victims are animals or people?

  • How much sex is OK in movies? Do the sex scenes make a point, or are they just for entertainment?

  • Is the profanity realistic? Why is there such a big difference between how much profanity is in the first half and how much is in the second?

Movie details

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