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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Positive Role Models
Characters fight bitterly rather than cooperate.
Violence & Scariness
Bloody fights, child abuse
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Two characters watch a girl changing (offscreen). Bare bottoms
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Some name calling and insults
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
A character tries a cigarette for the first time. Other characters smoke.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this movie has numerous bloody fights that may scare younger kids. Characters smoke and pressure a character into trying a cigarette. The story's main theme is perseverance over adversity. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
The two main actors in this movie did a very convincing job; the problem is that the symbolism probably does not translate across cultures. American viewers, who are used to automobiles as the principal mode of transportation, are unlikely to feel the way that Jian or Guei feel for the bike. Viewers will feel empathy for Guei, because actor Cui plays him as hard-working and as a fundamentally good person. Li Bin was very believable as the immature, self-centered, and dishonest Jian.
To American audiences, Beijing Bicycle may seem like a lot of pointless fights and hand-wringing over a common and easily-replaceable object. To understand the deeper meaning of the bicycle, viewers need to understand that in China, ownership of a bicycle is (or at least was) a sign of prosperity and resourcefulness and is a key mode of transportation. For the film's characters, the bicycle was equivalent to a first love. It filled their desires and needs, and it made them feel more mature and in control.
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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Our Editors Recommend
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