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Blue Story

Movie review by
Danny Brogan, Common Sense Media
Blue Story Movie Poster Image
Violent, shocking British urban drama about teen gangs.
  • NR
  • 2019
  • 91 minutes

Parents say

No reviews yetAdd your rating

Kids say

age 11+
Based on 1 review

A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

Central to plot is desperation of never-ending cycle of gang violence. Rather than glamorizing gang lifestyle, movie tries to explain why so many teens fall into it. Characters are violent, ruthless, angry, often motivated by revenge, pride, jealousy. Some try to avoid gang life but are eventually sucked into it, causing friendships to fall apart.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Even characters who try to stay out of gang culture are eventually drawn in, whether through family pressure or revenge. Male characters often treat female characters as just someone to have sex with, although Timmy is respectful, caring toward girlfriend Leah. Characters involved in gang violence are all people of color. One character eventually finds his way out of gang lifestyle, becomes a mentor to teens from similar background. Spoiler alert: Character chooses to end his life rather than live in a wheelchair.

Violence

Graphic violence throughout. Characters are shot, stabbed, punched, slapped, kicked, hit with bats -- all resulting in much blood, sometimes death. Character hit in head with brick; another bangs head on floor -- both end up in pools of blood. A character's arm is broken. A van is deliberately set on fire with someone trapped inside. Guns are held to people's heads. Character waves large machete. Character ends up in wheelchair after being stabbed. Suicide by overdose of pills. Real-life footage of street violence with knives, bats.

Sex

Teens discuss sex. Two teens fall in love, lose their virginity to each other -- both are implied to be naked but are covered by sheet; they use a condom. In more graphic sex scene, two characters have sex on a sofa, are shown topless/in a bra. Nude photos are sent via mobile phone and then shared without permission, although audience doesn't actually see them. Characters dance suggestively.

Language

Regular use of "f--k," "f--king," "bitch," "s--t," "p---y," "p---yhole," "pr--k," "d--khead," "pissing," "slag," and "ho." "Gay" is used in a derogatory fashion between friends. Sexual references. The "N" word can be heard on various music tracks played in the movie.

Consumerism

References to Nike trainers, Netflix, Game of Thrones, and Star Wars.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Characters regularly smoke pot, with one in particular constantly seen with joint in hand. Teens drink at a party.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Blue Story is a violent drama about London gangs. It's very violent: Characters are stabbed, shot, hit with bats, punched, and kicked. In some of the more shocking scenes, a character is hit in the head with a brick and later trapped inside a van when it's deliberately set on fire. Another character's arm is broken when someone jumps on it. (Spoiler alert: A character who's left paralyzed after being stabbed chooses to end their life via overdose.) The movie is intercut with real footage of gang fights, including some with knives. There are two teen sex scenes, one of which is between an established couple and another that's more casual (includes bare chests). There's some objectification of women: In one scene, a character convinces a girl to send him sexual photos of herself, which he then shows his friends. Strong language is used throughout -- including words of a sexual and homophobic nature, such as "f--k," "p---y," and "ho." Teens regularly smoke pot and drink. There are few positive messages from the movie; rather, it's used to shine a light on a growing social problem.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say

There aren't any reviews yet. Be the first to review this title.

Teen, 15 years old Written bydavidodj December 27, 2019

Good story

It really demonstrates how gang violence can change your life forever or even end it and that we should pick the right choice and it also infers knife crime is... Continue reading

What's the story?

BLUE STORY tells the story of two childhood friends whose relationship is wrecked by a turf war. Friends since school, Timmy (Stephen Odubola) and Marco (Micheal Ward) have successfully managed to avoid the gang violence taking place in the streets around them. But as they grow older, the fact that they grew up in different neighborhoods causes a rift between them, and a set of tragic events is put in motion.

Is it any good?

A tough watch, this film doesn't hide from the destructive violence that it's shining a light on. The fact that the violence involves teens -- some of whom start Blue Story as innocents -- only adds to the shock and despair. Rather than glamorize it, director and writer Andrew Onwubolu (also known as Rapman) shows how easily teens can be drawn into gang life, no matter how reluctantly. The filmmaker actually appears sporadically throughout the movie, breaking the fourth wall and rapping directly to viewers. It's a technique that risks distracting audiences, but it's handled with aplomb and helps fill in gaps within the narrative. Odubola and Ward are great as the best friends who become warring enemies, and though it's a familiar path in storytelling -- think Greek tragedy or Shakespeare -- there's a genuine sadness as you see their relationship deteriorate beyond repair. A twist in the final act feels forced, and there's no happy ending. But, as is reflected in real life, this story rarely does. 

The release of Blue Story in the U.K. was surrounded by controversy after a fight broke out between machete-carrying teens at a theater showing the movie. It was subsequently banned from some theaters -- a decision that was widely criticized. Thankfully, after some pressure, theaters changed their mind, as Blue Story is a movie that should be seen, no matter how tough.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the violence in Blue Story. Did it feel realistic? Do you think it was necessary to the narrative? What's the impact of media violence on kids?

  • Discuss the characters of Timmy and Marco. How did they change as the movie developed? What were their motivations? Did you have sympathy for either of them?

  • How are women portrayed in the movie? Did you find it problematic?

  • What do you think the movie is trying to say? What can we do to try to  prevent gang violence?

  • Discuss the scene where sexual photos are sent via mobile phone. How do you think the girl in the movie would have felt knowing photos of her were being shared? What are the risks of "sexting"?

Movie details

Themes & Topics

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