Blow

  • Review Date: June 25, 2003
  • Rated: R
  • Genre: Drama
  • Release Year: 2003
  • Running Time: 119 minutes

Common Sense Media says

Uneven drug trade story has explicit drug use.
  • Review Date: June 25, 2003
  • Rated: R
  • Genre: Drama
  • Release Year: 2003
  • Running Time: 119 minutes

Age(i)

2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17

Quality(i)

 

What parents need to know

Positive messages
Not applicable
Violence

Less than you might expect given the subject matter. In one scene, George is brutally beaten by gunmen working for his former partner. Drug abuse leads George to a near-fatal collapse.

Sex

Brief casual nudity in a poolside scene. Sexual excess of the disco era is alluded to but not seen.

Language

Regular use of strong profanity.

Consumerism
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

The movie is set at a time when cocaine use was widespread and held in some circles to be socially acceptable.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that young George watches his parents fight about money. His relationship with his mother remains difficult throughout the movie; she turns him in to the police and disowns him. His first girlfriend dies of cancer. George is heartbroken at the loss of his own daughter after he's sent to prison. Drug abuse leads George to a near-fatal collapse. Like Traffic, the movie's premise is that the drug trade is impossible to stop because of America's demand for drugs. Regular use of strong profanity. The movie is set at a time when cocaine use was widespread and held in some circles to be socially acceptable. Brief casual nudity in a poolside scene. Sexual excess of the disco era is alluded to but not seen. In one scene, George is brutally beaten by gunmen working for his former partner.

Parents say

Kids say

What's the story?

BLOW explores a time in recent history when changing social norms seemed to offer a tidal wave of commercial opportunity for someone inclined to take advantage of the situation. As played by Johnny Depp, George is less a villain than a young go-getter at the wrong time and place. He finds it easy to ignore the evils of a trade that offers him enormous amounts of money, a chance to exercise his wits, and a constant adrenaline rush from making up the rules as he goes along. In the funniest scene, George condescendingly tells a federal judge that he doesn't feel that what he did--importing and selling marijuana in the early 1970s--was a crime, quoting Bob Dylan to bolster his case. (You can see on the judge's face that she's adding months to his sentence with every word he says.)

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

Borrowing more than a bit from GoodFellas and Boogie Nights, Blow works better as a character study than as a history of America's obsession with drugs, a subject on which the script presumes viewers will already have some perspective.

Depp is excellent as usual, and there are some very moving scenes near the end of the movie with George's father (Ray Liotta) and his own young daughter, who turns her back on him. Parents will need to fill in the blanks and discuss with their teens the larger cultural issues associated with the importing of cocaine and marijuana.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the larger cultural issues associated with the importing of cocaine and marijuana.

Movie details

Theatrical release date:February 4, 2003
DVD release date:February 4, 2003
Cast:Johnny Depp, Penelope Cruz, Ray Liotta
Director:Ted Demme
Studio:New Line
Genre:Drama
Run time:119 minutes
MPAA rating:R
MPAA explanation:pervasive drug content and language, some violence and sexuality

This review of Blow was written by

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

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

Find out more

Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

Find out more

Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

Find out more

About our buy links

When you use our links to make a purchase, Common Sense Media earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes. As a nonprofit organization, these funds help us continue providing independent, ad-free services for educators, families, and kids while the price you pay remains the same. Thank you for your support.
Read more

See more about how we rate and review.

What parents and kids say

See all user reviews

Share your thoughts with other parents and kids Write a user review

A safe community is important to us. Please observe our guidelines

Adult Written bymisledvampire April 9, 2008
AGENot rated for age
QUALITY
 

Great Movie!

I first watched this movie when i was 13. I fell in love! This is a great movie, that shows what drugs can do to a person and the people that care about them. I think that anyone and everyone should see this movie. It makes you laugh and it makes you cry. Wonderful movie!
Teen, 15 years old Written byFutureMrs.JohnnyDepp November 1, 2010
AGE
15
QUALITY
 

Good for teens!

Wow. What a great movie! It really got me interested in learning more about George Jung. I'm 15, just seeing it for the first time. It was such a great movie. It was very informative and I think most teenagers would enjoy this one! One of my favorites for sure. Also, once again, Johnny Depp does not disappoint!
Kid, 12 years old February 21, 2012
AGE
15
QUALITY
 

Watch it :)

Blow is a brilliant film for anyone mature enough to know to not take drugs. The reason I put Positive messages is because: *Spoiler Warning* George does go to jail in the end of the film and his wife divorces him. He can't see his daughter either. all because of drugs. *End* The film is very good and excellent for any Johnny Depp or Penelope Cruz fan who is mature enough to see it.
What other families should know
Great messages

Poll

Did our review help you make an informed decision about this product?

Digital Compass