Boulevard

Movie review by
Jeffrey M. Anderson, Common Sense Media
Boulevard Movie Poster Image
Powerful Robin Williams performance in coming-out story.
  • R
  • 2015
  • 88 minutes

Parents say

age 18+
Based on 2 reviews

Kids say

age 15+
Based on 1 review

A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

Shows the value of standing up for yourself, making painful-but-necessary life changes, and finding your self-respect. The main character makes some painful mistakes but eventually learns from them.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Though the main character eventually makes a positive transformation, he goes through several negative, painful stages (lying, cheating, etc.) before finding the strength he needs.

Violence

A man punches, slaps, and kicks two people; this results in a bloody nose for one and a black eye for the other. Angry threats. Cops violently arrest a man. A character in the hospital is said to have had a heart attack.

Sex

A character picks up a prostitute; his naked bottom is shown (also the vague hint of his genitals). Brief discussion of oral sex. Images of prostitutes on the street. The prostitute is shown with another customer in his room.

Language

Strong bursts of language in a few scenes include several uses of "f--k," "f---t," "s--t," "a--hole," "twat," "hell," "bitch," "goddamn," and "d--k."

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

A secondary character is said to have taken a drug overdose. Some cigarette smoking. Wine at dinner.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Boulevard -- a drama about a closeted gay man -- features Robin Williams' final live-action performance. Though it's a coming-out story, the character goes through some very dark experiences, making it appropriate only for older teens and adults. Things get violent when an angry pimp beats up two characters, inflicting a bloody nose and a black eye; there's also some additional arguing, threatening, and brief violence. Language is sporadic but strong, with heavy uses of "f--k" and "f----t," as well as other terms. No sex is shown, but male prostitution is part of the story, and the main prostitute undresses, showing his bottom and the vague hint of his genitals. A character is said to have taken a drug overdose, and there's some social drinking and occasional cigarette smoking.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byelleng1 September 21, 2015

Sorry Robin

Had no problem with the subject matter. The movie was just so bad. My sister and I watched it and almost said at the same time (and not to be cruel) it'... Continue reading
Adult Written byDouglas S. September 21, 2017

the film's writer

I wrote the movie Boulevard. I am responding to elleng1's review. No, Robin was not depressed because of the movie. Your review is cruel, pointless, and... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written byMoviereviewawesome9 July 12, 2015

Boulevard

For the last robin Williams movie I didn't feel that it was so appropriate for kids for teens 15+

What's the story?

Nolan Mack (Robin Williams) is a mild-mannered banker, living a quiet life with his longtime wife, Joy (Kathy Baker), and occasionally visiting with his best friend, Winston (Bob Odenkirk). Nolan's father is dying in the hospital; while driving home after one visit, Nolan spots a young prostitute, Leo (Roberto Aguire). He pays the young man and spends time with him; they don't have sex, but Nolan is clearly smitten. He begins to come to terms with the fact that he's gay, but as Nolan tries to bring Leo into his life, he finds himself instead drawn further into Leo's seedy world -- one of violent pimps, drugs, and other dark things. Nolan must find the courage to realize what he really wants in his life and go after it.

Is it any good?

Even if the movie stumbles over a few clunky plot turns, Williams' final live-action performance is a powerful one, still and deep, calling on limitless reserves of pain and longing. Dito Montiel directs, and -- typical of his work -- his rich characters and realistic atmosphere outweigh his storytelling. In some of his films, the balance tips the wrong way, but in BOULEVARD, it works. And that's mainly thanks to Williams, in his most soul-searching mode.

As Nolan's wise wife, Baker is terrific; she knows something is up based on the slightest irregularity in Nolan's routine. And Odenkirk is a breath of fresh air as a best friend who doesn't suffer foolishness gladly. Scenes with a scary pimp threatening Leo and Nolan feel hysterical and fake, and moments when Nolan frantically tries to keep his secret life under wraps are fraught with awkward coincidence. But Williams never strikes a false note, and it's a strong farewell to a great actor.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the nature of a coming-out story. What does it mean to "come out"? Does the term only apply to gay characters? What do these kinds of stories teach us?

  • How did the violence in Boulevard affect you? How frequent was it? How intense was it? Do you think it was necessary to the story?

  • How does the movie portray prostitution? Is it glamorized? Do you feel sympathy for the prostitute character?

  • Does this movie use stereotypes? If so, how? If not, what would the stereotypes in a "coming out" story look like?

Movie details

For kids who love dramas

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