ATL

Movie review by
Cynthia Fuchs, Common Sense Media
ATL Movie Poster Image
Morally grounded kids in the hood come of age.
  • PG-13
  • 2006
  • 105 minutes

Parents say

age 10+
Based on 3 reviews

Kids say

age 14+
Based on 5 reviews

A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

Living in a poor neighborhood, orphaned 17-year-old looks after his little brother, bonds (and briefly fights) with his friends through roller skating, pursues his ambition to draw comics; the primary villain (a drug dealer) intimidates the community and eventually shoots one of his workers.

Violence

Menacing gangster appears throughout; brief discussion of parents killed in car crash; brief violence erupts near the end: a boy is beaten by thugs who steal his money and drugs he's supposed to sell; a dealer shoots a boy for vengeance (shooting offscreen, but the result -- his family worrying in the hospital -- makes clear he's injured).

Sex

Kids make out in background shots at school; a romantic, nonexplicit sex scene (not explicit, facial close-ups, tenderness); frequent images of girls' bottoms, tight clothing, bikinis, and cleavage; sexual slang.

Language

One f-word, over ten s-words, one b-word, frequent use of "ass" and "damn," slang for sexual activity and genitalia ("titty,"booty," "cuddy"), at least two uses of the n-word; some hip-hop songs on soundtrack also include brief language.

Consumerism

Golden Crisp cereal.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

High schoolers drink at parties; villain smokes cigars; brief cigarette smoking in background; a couple of characters sell drugs (and one adult considers this might be a good income for the household, before his nephew argues against it);

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this movie includes frequent allusions to sexuality and young people testing limits of authority. A 14-year-old character skips school and sells drugs: subsequently, he's suspended from school, chastised by his brother and uncle, beated by a group of older guys, and shot by his drug dealer employer (shooting takes place off screen and boy does not die). Girls wear revealing clothes, their bottoms featured in several "booty" shots. We hear that two boys lost their parents in a car accident.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byTeykia April 11, 2009

Great movie

I saw it on tv and they cut out almost all the inepropiate content.If you dont want your child seeing all of that watch it on tv and stop complaining,gosh!
Adult Written byegrammy April 9, 2008

Antwon Fisher wrote the story.......

I took 4 grandkids. 2 country kids and 2 suburb kids. It is a terrific look at city life, esp Atlanta. All country and suburb kids should go. Our kids have... Continue reading
Kid, 9 years old April 9, 2008
Teen, 15 years old Written bymayatp2 April 9, 2008

What's the story?

17-year old Rashad (Tip "T.I." Harris) and his 14-year-old brother Ant (Evan Ross Naess), are orphaned and living with their Uncle George (Mykelti Williamson). Rashad works with George cleaning office buildings at night, trying to put away enough money to ensure Ant gets out of the hood and goes to college. But Ant resents his big brother's rule-making and sees a flashier role model in Marcus (Big Boi), who rolls up equipped with fine rims and pitbulls. Rashad works hard, focuses on his gift for comic-book drawing, and becomes infatuated with a pretty girl (Lauren London). Rashad's friend Esquire (Jackie Long) is also dedicated to getting out: he attends private school on a scholarship, works at the golf course, and pursues a college recommendation letter from local CEO John Garnett (Keith David). Though Garnett has a huge house, he's not quite figured out how to be a progressive father figure, to a mentee like Esquire or his own child. In this, he's similar to George, who's also struggling to look after his nephews. While Rashad sees George as missing the point of parenting, it turns out that both miss the slide Ant makes into Marcus' sphere, until Ant's discovered dealing marijuana at school.

Is it any good?

Engaging, bright, and energetic, ATL follows a conventional coming-of-age plot, while also complicating the usual tale of kids coming up in the hood. Rashad's voiceover provides a central-ish point of view, though the film cuts all over the place, including life lessons for his friends and family as well.

While the movie shows a range of ambitions and self-performances, by kids and adults, it doesn't judge them, but considerers how they come to see options. Certainly, Rashad's art gets the most play, but all of them create their own identities through the work they do and the relationships they forge. Sometimes too earnest, mostly complicated, and always generous, ATL never loses sight of this truth, that the kids' experiences and decisions have contexts.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about Rashad's fears of commitment and abandonment, owing to the loss of his parents. How does his relationship with his younger brother eventually teach the value of taking responsibility and being honest?

Movie details

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