Blow

Movie review by
M. Faust, Common Sense Media
Blow Movie Poster Image
Uneven drug trade story has explicit drug use.
  • R
  • 2003
  • 119 minutes

Parents say

age 17+
Based on 3 reviews

Kids say

age 15+
Based on 4 reviews

A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages
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
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

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

What 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.

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User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written bywonder dove November 10, 2012

Excellent true story...

True story about George Jung (Johnny Depp) and his experience with selling cocaine. Georges' wish had always been to have money and to never be poor. He gr... Continue reading
Adult Written bymisledvampire April 9, 2008

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... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written bylena delibalta March 8, 2018

Nice movie. Really good.

Too much drug dealing and not a movie for children. The cast was really good and so was the plot. Very nice.
Teen, 17 years old Written byMovieAddictionz December 22, 2016

Must-watch drama based on drug trade.

Only thing to worry about is the drugs, pretty much pervasive drug content throughout the movie. Also, there's some strong language in this movie and slang... Continue reading

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?

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. It's 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.

Talk to your kids about ...

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

Movie details

  • In theaters: February 4, 2003
  • On DVD or streaming: 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
  • Last updated: September 20, 2019

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