Parents' Guide to

Black Mass

By S. Jhoanna Robledo, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 18+

Depp terrifies as dangerously violent real-life gangster.

Movie R 2015 122 minutes
Black Mass Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 17+

Based on 5 parent reviews

age 18+

Violent true crime drama isnt for kids

Very good crime drama is worth watcing.It has some brutal scenes of violent and it shows some drug use but is okay.Recomendet only for adults and mature teens
age 16+

Interesting Character study but could use more drama.

There are 200+ F words, a brief cocaine snorting in a bathroom. A man is pumched in the head repeatedly until his face and the window next to him is bloody. About 4 scenes with car shootings. Most are brief but blood splats ontobthe windows. One is more drawn out and has the victim hey shot in body shoulder and hand before being finished off outside the car with a rifle woth fair amount of blood throughout the scene. Another is offscren but we see the aftermath. A prostitute is strangled in an abandoned house. A man is beaten until his head is very bloody and is then strangled by is noose. Two men are shot in the head with brief blood spurts from behind. The cahracters are well developed with clear arcs and the performances; especially Depp's, are excellent. Its not as long as most gangster epics but thier could have been more tension with the FBI searching for foul play and The italian mob trying to get to the bottom of why they are getting destroyed.

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (5 ):
Kids say (4 ):

The story of James "Whitey" Bulger -- mobster-turned-FBI-informant-turned-fugitive -- is the stuff of great fiction; Black Mass nearly does this rich material justice, but not quite. First, the good stuff: Told in a bracing history-revisited fashion bolstered by close-up "interviews," the film feels like it's allowing audiences into the backstage of a criminal investigation that most aren't privy to -- an effective means to lure viewers in. And the actors don't disappoint; as an ensemble, they're like a finely tuned machine (or, if you prefer, gang) that knows how to move with precision, led by a Depp so intense he could make you quake with his stare (though his over-the-top makeup is a bit distracting).

If only the movie dug as deep as it does wide. There's a Cliffs Notes-version feel to the Bulger we see here, and not much time is spent on getting to know what motivates him -- nor what he was like when he was finally captured. Nonetheless, Black Mass thrills.

Movie Details

Inclusion information powered by

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.

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