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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
The film doesn't aim to convey positive messages. The majority of the story is about people doing bad things for selfish gain.
Positive Role Models
Detective Cam Harris is the only clear role model, the only person who realizes that Sue Buttons' story about her missing husband is false and follows clues to the truth, despite it leading to her death. Other characters do bad things for selfish reasons. On plus side, movie offers truly meaningful representation in the sense that no character is perfect or fits into an expected/accepted mold. No one is overtly defined by race, gender, sexuality, etc.; all are flawed, unique individuals.
Violence & Scariness
People are held at gunpoint/knifepoint. Also bodily harm, violent breaking and entering, robbing, destroying property, kidnapping, slapping, torture, murder.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Flirtation, brief simulated sex, partial nudity (bare breast), sex toys.
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Strong language includes "f--k," "f--king," "a--holes," "ass," "s--t," "bitches," "dumbass," "pisshole," etc. Ableist slurs like "crazy." Exclamatory uses of words/phrases including "oh my God," "Jesus Christ," "goddammit," and "Jesus."
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Products & Purchases
Nancy drinks Fiji water as she drives to Sue's house. Sue buys a Vizio TV after destroying her previous television.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Brief cigarette smoking and drinking by adults.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Breaking News in Yuba County is director Tate Taylor's dark comedy about Sue Buttons (Allison Janney), a sad woman who uses her husband's death to gain sympathy by staging his kidnapping. Characters smoke, drink, and swear ("f--k," "s--t," and more), and there's a scene of simulated sex and some sexual flirtation, as well as a bare breast. Violence -- including people being held at gunpoint/knifepoint, breaking and entering, property destruction, torture, and even murder -- becomes a bigger part of the film's climactic scenes, which might surprise viewers after the comedic earlier parts. The film finds much of its humor in analyzing psychological drives. The all-star cast also includes Mila Kunis, Awkwafina, Regina Hall, Wanda Sykes, Juliette Lewis, Samira Wiley, Ellen Barkin, and Jimmi Simpson. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
Tate Taylor's crime comedy harkens back to a time when Hollywood focused on entertaining, oddball films with unique stories and stacked casts. And this one is definitely full of heavy hitters, including Janney, Hall, Awkwafina, Wiley, Barkin, and Sykes, as well as stellar character actors like Collins, Simpson, Sim, Matherne, Lowell, and Everett. The result is a delightful film that imagines what a woman pushed to the edge would do to get back at her husband and her community. The script, by Black writer Amanda Idoko, proves that she has an imagination -- it also counters the unspoken idea that Black writers can be celebrated in Hollywood only if they write Black trauma. With a story that's as far away from racial trauma as Clue -- a similarly quirky film full of fun and moxie --Idoko shows that Black writers can and should be given the chance to write whatever they choose.
Also important is how Breaking News in Yuba County doesn't make a big deal out of the cast's gender, racial, and sexual diversity. It offers truly meaningful representation in the sense that no character is perfect or fits into an expected/accepted mold. Because no character is overtly defined by their race or other social factors, the characterizations get to shine, allowing viewers to see characters as flawed, unique individuals. A film that has an effortlessly diverse cast playing characters who exist outside of historical biopic or civil rights drama is something we need more of in Hollywood: It will help audiences broaden their ideas of what types of characters can exist on-screen.
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.
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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