By Alistair Lawrence,
Common Sense Media Reviewer
Common Sense Media Reviewers
British music biopic has lots of swearing, drug use.
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Follow your dreams. Hard work and perseverance will help you achieve your goals. But the effects of demanding jobs on physical and mental health are also depicted. Drug use is prevalent. Characters enjoy, encourage, and make up myths about themselves.
Positive Role Models
Alan is ambitious and works hard, but is also willing to lie and cheat to achieve his goals. He is something of a megalomaniac. His father, John, criticizes men for wearing makeup. He also hits Alan as a kid and tells him to lie about the injury if anyone asks. Various musician characters follow their dreams. Supporting characters express concern and support for minorities around the world. Colleagues work hard to support each other. Family members support each other while grieving.
Violence & Scariness
Playground scuffle shown in background. Parent strikes their child, dropping them to the floor. Character shows off a holstered gun. Reference to someone getting "half-kicked to death." Reference to "kiddie fiddling." A parent dies from cancer.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Character wrongly accused of masturbating. Simulated sex during a dream sequence. Non-explicit sex scene between two characters in a bathroom. Character references being friends with a "porn producer." Reference to pimps and sexually transmitted diseases such as "the clap."
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Language used in conversation and lyrics includes "junkies," "whores," "c--t," "tool," "bitches," "s--t," "s--te," "f--k," "f--king," "f--ker," "bastards," "s--thole," "bloody," "tosser," "bollocks," and "a--holes." A character is described as a "witch" in a derogatory fashion. Heroin users are referred to as "skagheads" and "smackheads."
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Products & Purchases
A young character discusses being rich as aspirational, breaks the law to make money. An older version of the same character describes being a millionaire as "monotonous" and frequently criticizes people as being superficial. They initially turn down lucrative deals with corporations in favor of retaining creative control. Glamorous locations and lifestyles depicted.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Multiple references to and depictions of drug use. Characters buy and snort cocaine, smoke crack, drink to excess. References to drug dealers. Characters are seen injecting heroin -- one loses a kidney to drug use. Characters smoke cigarettes and drink alcohol at concerts and in pubs. People are shown drunk at parties. Character drinks alcohol while driving. Montage simulates effects of mind-altering hallucinogenic drugs. Characters bond while on Ecstasy. References to taking speed, acid, other drugs. Character becomes dependent on drugs, requires rehabilitation.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Creation Stories is a British music biopic about Alan McGee (Ewen Bremner), the founder of Creation Records, and includes plenty of strong language and frequent drug use. The movie is comedic in tone, and generally the story is upbeat. But it does touch on serious subjects such as the domestic violence McGee suffered at the hands of his father and the death of his mother from cancer. Drug use is also prevalent -- as is smoking and drinking. Characters are seen snorting cocaine, injecting heroin, smoking crack, and more. This leads to characters entering rehab, but it's also celebrated as part of a rock 'n' roll lifestyle. Swearing features heavily and throughout, including multiple variants of "f--k," "c--t," and "bitches." Initially McGee strives for wealth and fame, but he becomes increasingly ambiguous toward it, as well as distrustful of establishment figures such as politicians. There is some non-explicit depiction of sex and a scene in which someone is wrongly accused of masturbating. Fans of British bands from the '90s, such as Oasis and My Bloody Valentine, will get a particular thrill from this music biopic.
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What's the Story?
CREATION STORIES tells the story of music impresario Alan McGee (Ewen Bremner), who was responsible for signing some of the biggest British bands in the '90s. It follows McGee's journey from his native Glasgow into the heyday of '90s British rock music, intercut with an older version of himself recounting these events to an interviewer.
Is It Any Good?
This fast-paced history lesson/music biopic tells the story of infamous record label boss McGee. It reunites star Bremner with co-writer Irvine Welsh, who previously worked together on Trainspotting. And while Creation Stories shares that film's dark humor and heavy drug use, this is lighter in tone. With a relatively short run-time of just over 100 minutes, barely any time is given to its characters, or its audience, to dwell on the key events of McGee's 20-year journey from his working class upbringing in Glasgow to conquering the music industry.
Fans of that era will likely enjoy the story's whirlwind nostalgia trip, which makes good use of a talented cast. But it relies on the force of personality of its performers, and of Welsh and Dean Cavanagh's script -- adapted from McGee's autobiography -- to keep us interested. With most of the famous figures reduced to bit parts, this plays less like 24-Hour Party People and more like How to Lose Friends & Alienate People, albeit with a more likable protagonist. Reducing the rock stars to cutouts makes sense in one respect -- this is McGee's story, not theirs -- but a tale about a live-wire business executive, albeit one with an outlaw spirit, was never going to be as compelling.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about how Creation Stories depicts drinking, smoking, and drug use. Are they glamorized? What are the consequences? Why is that important?
Discuss the strong language used in the movie. Did it seem necessary, or excessive? What did it contribute to the movie?
Talk about Alan's journey to becoming a leading figure in British pop music. What did you think of the methods he adopted to achieve his success?
What is the appeal of biopics? How did this compare to other biopics you have seen?
Discuss the comedy in the movie. Did you find it funny? Did the fantasy sequences and special effects help add to the humor?
- On DVD or streaming: April 5, 2022
- Cast: Ewen Bremner, Leo Flanagan, Suki Waterhouse
- Director: Nick Moran
- Studios: Sky Cinema, RLJ Entertainment
- Genre: Drama
- Topics: Music and Sing-Along
- Run time: 104 minutes
- MPAA rating: NR
- Last updated: February 25, 2023
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