By Monique Jones,
Common Sense Media Reviewer
Common Sense Media Reviewers
Meaningful teen drama has gun violence, language.
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Teenagers' internal lives are worthy of exploration. A high level of integrity can help you make decisions that benefit you and others. Having integrity can influence your desire not to harm others. It takes courage to fight for justice. Storyline offers commentary on difference in how White men and men of color are treated by society and law enforcement in the U.S.
Positive Role Models
Krista is a fun-loving girl who excels in high school acting class. After a devastating moment, she seeks justice to help those who are hurt -- and to gain closure for herself. She puts her life on the line to achieve justice, and her integrity helps her gain courage to see her goal through. Diverse representations in the cast.
Violence & Scariness
Shooting, including scenes with shooting practice/maintenance and murder. Joke about shooting a mother-in-law; mention of violent criminal activity. A character punches a wall; another character hits a table with their foot. A character is choked.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Mention of having "company over," as in a person coming over for sex. A brief scene with two characters asleep after sex. Kissing. A character asking another if they want to "f--k."
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Swear words/phrases include "ass," "f--k," "f--k you," "f--king," "a--hole," "d--k," "bitching," "bitch," "f--k off," "f--k me," "motherf----r," "bulls--t," "p---ies," "sissy," and "hells yeah."
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Smoking cigarettes; a bong. Mentions of vaping and smoking.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Beast Beast is a drama about three teens (Shirley Chen, Jose Angeles, and Will Madden) in a small town whose lives interact in a traumatic way. It has many scenes with smoking and a bong and strong language (including "f--k," "d--k," and more). Characters kiss, and sex is implied. The film has a strong focus on guns, including scenes with shooting and murder. Other violence, such as choking, is shown. But the movie also promotes integrity and courage, especially in the interests of fighting for justice, and the cast includes diverse representations.
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Where to Watch
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What's the Story?
BEAST BEAST follows three teenagers from the same town whose lives are changed by one of the teen's irreversible actions. Krista (Shirley Chen) is her school's leading actress and is popular with everyone, including Nito (Jose Angeles), a wayward teen who develops a relationship with Krista. But Nito hangs out with a crowd that leads him to a life-altering moment with Adam (Will Madden), who was once friends with Krista and wants to make it big on the internet with his gun maintenance videos.
Is It Any Good?
This drama starts out quietly, but it slowly simmers until it's at a full boil of angst and trauma related to issues affecting teens today. Danny Madden wrote and directed Beast Beast, which is a heartfelt, timely drama that brings together various social problems facing young people -- gun culture, online popularity, and veiled racism -- into a creative, haunting film. And stars Chen, Angeles, and Madden give standout performances as Krista, Nito, and Adam.
The film is notable for casting Chen and Angeles, both actors of color, as teen romantic leads Krista and Nito; unfortunately, that's still unusual enough to warrant a mention. And it goes further by examining the allure of the online cult of personality and rampant American gun culture in Adam, who devolves from wanting to teach responsible gun ownership and maintenance to being willing to do anything -- and use anything -- to find online success. His turn from troubled teen to villain is frightening, but, sadly, it's expected after we see his violent streak increase the more he gets ridiculed by viewers. It makes his trajectory even more heartrending. The fact that Adam gets the success he craves through violent actions, without being arrested, is a jab at how White men, young and old, are often treated as if they're above the law, while people of color, like Nito, can get arrested even when they're trying to do the right thing. Krista's journey for justice cements her as the heroine of her real life, not just on the stage, and many viewers will want to live vicariously through her. Overall, Beast Beast is a film that will move viewers of all ages.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about the violence in Beast Beast. How did gun violence impact the characters in the film?
How does social media's cult of personality negatively influence teenagers like Adam in Beast Beast?
Nito makes friends that get him into trouble. Why is it important to make friends who empower you instead of lead you toward making poor decisions?
Is Krista's fight for justice admirable? Is there something you would have done differently? Do you think she demonstrates courage and/or integrity?
How do America's gun culture and racial culture affect how Adam is or isn't disciplined?
- In theaters: April 13, 2021
- On DVD or streaming: May 4, 2021
- Cast: Shirley Chen, Will Madden, Jose Angeles
- Director: Danny Madden
- Studio: Vanishing Angle
- Genre: Drama
- Topics: High School
- Character Strengths: Courage, Integrity
- Run time: 86 minutes
- MPAA rating: NR
- Last updated: February 12, 2023
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.
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