Atomic Blonde

Movie review by
Jeffrey M. Anderson, Common Sense Media
Atomic Blonde Movie Poster Image
Powerful woman at core of stylish, very violent spy story.
  • R
  • 2017
  • 115 minutes

Parents say

age 17+
Based on 14 reviews

Kids say

age 14+
Based on 8 reviews

A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

The main message seems to be not to trust anybody -- and that spies can never get close to anyone.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Lorraine isn't wholly admirable, given that she kills without consequence and lies, but she's certainly a strong female character who more than holds her own against her opponents -- and in comparison to similar male characters in other movies. Some diversity in supporting cast.

Violence

Violence is extremely intense and frequent, albeit unrealistic. Guns and shooting. Multiple stabbings. Blood sprays and spurts. Ambushes, tons of fights (some brutal). Punching, kicking, bashing with blunt objects. Car chases and crashes. A man is stabbed in the face with a set of keys; they dangle from his cheek, tingling. Drowning. Strangling.

Sex

Several brief scenes of partial nudity (a woman is shown topless; her bare bottom is also seen). A man wakes up naked in bed with three naked women. Two characters have fairly intense sex, with naked bottoms and grinding.

Language

Many uses of "f--k" and "f---ing." Also "c--t," "c--ksucker," "pr--ks," "s--t," "damn," "ass," "crap," "hell," "bollocks," and "buggered." 

Consumerism

Stolichnaya vodka featured regularly. Jack Daniels, too.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Main character regularly drinks Stolichnaya vodka, but she never seems drunk. She also takes pills (for pain?) in one scene. Another character favors Jack Daniels but also never seems drunk. Characters smoke regularly.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Atomic Blonde is a spy film set in the late '80s and that it's intensely violent, with lots and lots of fighting. It's similar to John Wick but with a woman (Charlize Theron) as the main character. Teens may well be interested, but be ready for mature content of every stripe. Characters shoot and stab each other, blood spurts and sprays, and there are dead bodies, car chases/crashes, people getting strangled and bashed with blunt objects, and much more. There's brief but repeated partial nudity (a woman's bare breasts and bottom are seen), a man is shown in bed with three women, and two women have fairly graphic sex. Language includes "f--k," "c--ksucker," and "s--t." Stolichnaya vodka is featured prominently, and the main character drinks it frequently, though she never seems drunk. There's also frequent smoking. While the main character is unquestionably equal to her male counterparts, she also kills without consequence and lies, making her a complicated (at best!) role model.

Wondering if Atomic Blonde is OK for your kids?

Set preferences and get age-appropriate recommendations with Common Sense Media Plus. Join now

Continue reading Show less

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byStevie111 July 27, 2017

Well done action film with more story than expected

Atomic Blonde is a terrific action movie that has its own original style. It has an interesting story and I just enjoyed the way it was done. Charlize Theron di... Continue reading
Adult Written byUgzilla February 4, 2020

Adult movies are for adults, imo

Fun show, despite the weakness mentioned by others - average plot, etc.
Nudity, foul language, drugs, smoking, sex scenes are rather graphic, and same-sex sex... Continue reading
Teen, 16 years old Written byia3 August 14, 2019

Graphic yet entertaining

Very graphic and mature, although it is realistic and nothing older teens don’t already know. Very violent, though, so not recommended for the light hearted.
Teen, 14 years old Written byanonshaalbprybg July 18, 2019

Rather violent but definitely tolerable

Quite violent with blood shown frequently and many fight scenes, but most teens should be able to handle it. There is a graphic sex scene though.

What's the story?

In ATOMIC BLONDE, bruised MI6 agent Lorraine Broughton (Charlize Theron) meets with her superiors to tell the story of her most recent mission. It's 1989 in Berlin, just before the wall comes down, and a secret agent has been caught and killed. He had a list with the names and sensitive information of every MI6 agent; it has presumably been stolen by the killer. Lorraine is sent to Berlin to meet with David Percival (James McAvoy) and find the list. There are many complications, including the presence of a man called Spyglass (Eddie Marsan) who has memorized the list, as well as a mysterious woman (Sofia Boutella) who seems to be following Lorraine. And perhaps even Percival can't be trusted. There are many fights and chases, but the question remains: Who's the double agent who's been leaking MI6 information?

Is it any good?

Theron fights, punches, kicks, and shoots her way through this beautifully choreographed, narratively complex, but slightly sluggish action movie from one of the makers of John Wick. Former stuntman David Leitch produced and co-directed (without credit) that Keanu Reeves film; given that it and Atomic Blonde are the same kind of nonstop, action-based stories, it's hard not to compare them. But when you do, this film comes up a little short. While John Wick was tightly constructed, visually playful, and stripped down to the point of existentialism, Atomic Blonde runs a bit too long, hits some slow patches, and requires quite a bit of work to follow.

Nevertheless, it stands head and shoulders above most shaky-cam action movies with its gorgeous fight footage. A scuffle involving a yellow garden hose is amazing. Another sequence, in which Lorraine must whisk away a wounded Spyglass and defend him from armed attackers, takes place in extremely long takes with combatants working from all kinds of angles, with all kinds of props, getting realistically exhausted as the fight rages on. It's also heartening to see Theron taking punches, collecting bruises, and still getting back up on her feet. She's no Wonder Woman, but she's still pretty awesome.

Talk to your kids about ...

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love action and thrills

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

See how we rate

Streaming options powered by JustWatch

About these links

Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization, earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes when you use our links to make a purchase. Thank you for your support.

Read more

Our ratings are based on child development best practices. We display the minimum age for which content is developmentally appropriate. The star rating reflects overall quality.

Learn how we rate