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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
While characters steal and commit acts of violence, the film looks at reasons and contexts.
Violence & Scariness
Several violent scenes, including a carjacking, a pedestrian hit by a car, a five-year-old child shot by a handgun (with her parents watching), and several car crashes.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Characters have sex, and oral sex is insinuated.
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Very strong language.
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Products & Purchases
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that, as the film interrogates urban fears, violence, and racism, the language, particularly the use of racial epithets, is rough. The film also features several violent scenes, including a carjacking, a pedestrian hit by a car, a five-year-old child shot by a handgun (with her parents watching), and several car crashes. Policemen, detectives, district attorneys, and an insurance adjuster prove untrustworthy; characters steal cars, do drugs, drink, smoke cigarettes, and have sex (including implied oral sex in a car and a cop putting his hands on a woman's private parts, in front of her upset husband, under the guise of "patting her down.") To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
Opening with the aftermath of a car wreck under investigation, this Best Picture Oscar-winner is sprawling and ambitious, episodic and contrived. It is plainly about loss, but the loss of what isn't immediately obvious. Each interaction seems a kind of collision. For example, Ryan's ailing father makes him anxious, and so he takes it out on Cameron and Christine, whom he finds having sex in their car. He's cruel, but they can't fight back: he's a cop. When Thomas suggests Ryan has crossed a line, the older cop defends himself by blaming the work: "Wait till you've been on the job a few more years. You think you know who you are; you have no idea."
Some violent encounters are actual crashes, minor and major, lending the movie a sort of stop-and-start rhythm. This structure is exacerbated by the awkward multi-culti casting. CRASH takes a "one-from-every-food-group" approach to race representation (including a mostly unseen Asian pedestrian hit by a car and dragged beneath). The movie seems geared toward those viewers who were surprised by the Rodney King video, that is, people who don't regularly deal with cultural collisions. For others, its machinations will grind.
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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Our Editors Recommend
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