Parents' Guide to

Charm City Kings

By Lynnette Nicholas, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 15+

Powerful drama highlights the power of choices; violence.

Movie R 2022 125 minutes
Charm City Kings Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 13+

Based on 1 parent review

age 13+

Parents say 13+

The movie does have a few scenes including doing drugs, gang violence, homicide and inappropriate language. I do believe that teenagers from as young as 13 years old need to watch this as it teaches many important life lessons that they'll need to understand throughout they're later teens

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (1 ):
Kids say (1 ):

This moving drama allows strong Black men to be both tough and vulnerable, and it offers space for disenfranchised inner-city kids to be innocent, wild, and free. It provides a non-judgemental glimpse into the real lives of Black kids, letting them make mistakes and have flaws, yet giving them the opportunity to decide to start over -- as seen most clearly in the character of Mouse (played with great subtlety and nuance by Winston). Charm City Kings is a candid look at the subculture of Black riding crews, showing how the freedom that accompanies "riding free"/without inhibition helps those who often feel trapped by systemic oppression. The film captures the softer side of the inner city in an empathetic way. Many of its nuances are intended for voices too often left out of mainstream narratives. Though not perfect, Kings deliberately serves as a form of agency for marginalized voices.

Under Soto's direction, and with a detailed script by Barry Jenkins (Moonlight, If Beale Street Could Talk), the movie gives the frailty of Black boyhood a human face. As Blax, Mill does a wonderful job of showing that you can be imperfect and still be a mentor for others, while William Catlett's Detective Rivers shows the benefits of walking the straight and narrow path. Donielle T. Hansley Jr. is fearless in the role of Lamont. His character personifies the narrow margins that many disenfranchised people have to negotiate: sink or swim, fight to survive and get money -- or die. And Kezii Curtis' Sweartagod is the perfect homage to Black boy joy and innocence. His portrayal of a happy, sensitive, fun sidekick is the perfect complement to the movie's adverturous trio of friends. This film will resonate with anyone who wants to get a genuine glimpse inside of the lives of inner city youth -- and the supportive adults in their lives who try to do their best to protect their kids and the kids of the community. Yes, there is some gun violence in this movie. But there are quiet, gentle, and beautiful moments. too.

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