A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Stay true to your passions and your roots. Money isn't everything. Listen to your heart.
Positive Role Models
Sidney and Dre are both dedicated friends who support each other through highs and lows. Dre is successful, but learns to value his love of hip-hop over money. Sidney is similarly thriving in her career and shows strong professional ethics. Both are kind and caring, though do cheat on their partners as they figure out their attraction for each other.
The main cast are all Black, and the production team also shows Black representation, including director Rick Famuyiwa and screenwriter Michael Elliot. However, there is a "joke" where a character is asked what they're doing driving a cab as their "English is too good." The lead female characters show women as intelligent, strong, and successful. On the flip side, there are some sexist tropes, including men being described as simple and women as more complicated. Also reference to someone being "wife material," and some sexist derogatory language.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Suggestive dancing. Sex toy shown in non-sexual context. Mention of breasts, "booty," and strippers. Character seen topless from behind. Kissing. Implication that sex has taken place -- with characters shown naked beneath the sheets afterwards. A character says they would "tap that" in reference to someone.
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Language includes a use of "f--k," "s--t," "ass," "damn," the "N" word, "bitch," "hell," "bulls--t," and "son of a bitch." Also disrespectful sexist terms such as "tramp" and "ho."
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Products & Purchases
Los Angeles Times mentioned. Pepsi can in background of shot. Reference to Reese's Pieces and Ketel One Vodka.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Characters are shown drinking alcohol on occasion, resulting in mild drunkenness at a party. Also some smoking of cigarettes and mention of smoking drugs.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Brown Sugar is a warm romantic comedy with some strong language including sexist terms and the "N" word. The story centers around two childhood friends, Sidney (Sanaa Lathan) and Dre (Taye Diggs), who question the status of their relationship when they both meet long-term partners. The language is occasional but, in addition to the "N" word, does include "f--k" and "s--t," as well as terms like "ho" and "tramp." There is drinking to the point of mild intoxication at a party and a reference to smoking drugs. There are also affairs and mention of divorce. But the movie is mostly upbeat and populated with positive characters. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
It's pretty formulaic stuff, but the performances from both leads and the supporting characters -- particularly Queen Latifah and Yasiin Bey (aka Mos Def) -- elevate this romcom above the usual fare. Brown Sugar follows a familiar trajectory but sidesteps a lot of the stereotypes you might expect. For example, Nicole Ari Parker's "other woman" is not the unlikable caricature she might have been painted elsewhere. Here she's given depth and complexity, and there's truth and poignancy to conversations that may have induced eye rolls in other hands.
The interweaving of hip-hop elements also sets it apart, though is mixed in its success. The opening montage of artists sets the scene for the characters' passion, and at one point Sidney compares losing her friend to a new wife to losing hip-hop to the mainstream. But other weaving in of the subject can feel clunky. However, it remains a strong link between the two characters and a connection that feels raw and real in a warm and enjoyable movie that celebrates pursuing your dreams, as much as romantic love.
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.