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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Main theme seems to be about making choices. Its closing line is "we make the best mistakes we can," although the idea seems to be more about not regretting poor choices than about taking responsibility for choices made.
Positive Role Models
Characters are mostly criminals who tend to get away with their crimes. One character, Tommy, seems to be the only kind one, although he does aid the main character in pulling off his crimes and his revenge. Characters are all White except for two of the robbers, who are Black, and the attendees of a convention at which a politician is trying to win the Latino vote.
Violence & Scariness
Guns and shooting; characters shot and killed. One character hits another with a crowbar, smashes his hand in the hood of a car. Child hit by bus; blood dripping from mouth. Two characters struggle over a gun. Angry protestors at rally; a person's body is thrown and lands on someone. A man viciously slaps a woman's face. Bombs explode in garbage cans. Intense arguing. A cop handles a woman roughly. An elderly character is robbed. Woman screaming. A character has cancer, another character is in hospice care.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
A pornographic movie is briefly seen on television; naked breasts are briefly visible, moaning sounds heard for several long moments. A man appears to be masturbating, but the lower half of his body is off-screen. An elderly woman is bathed in the shower; her buttocks are somewhat visible. A married character cheated by sleeping with their maid.
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Sporadic strong language includes several uses of "f--k" or "f--king," plus "s--t," "son of a bitch," "hell," "goddamn," and "frickin'," plus exclamatory use of "Jesus." Racist slur "wetbacks" is used.
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Cigarette smoking. Some scenes take place in a bar. Background drinking.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Crime Story is a drama about a former criminal (Richard Dreyfuss) who falls back into his old ways after his life savings is stolen. It's violent, with guns and shooting; characters are killed and injured. A character is hit with a crowbar, and his hand is smashed in the hood of a car. A man slaps a woman, a child is hit by a bus (blood is shown running from his mouth), a man's body is thrown and lands on a woman, and bombs explode in garbage cans. A pornographic movie is briefly seen (with moaning and bare breasts), and a man appears to be masturbating. An elderly woman's buttocks are partly visible in a nonsexual context. A backstory includes the detail of a man cheating on his wife and getting his maid pregnant. Language is sporadic but includes uses of "f--k," "s--t," "son of a bitch," and more. Some scenes take place in a bar, and there's background drinking plus cigarette smoking. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
Despite teaming up two Oscar-winning actors, Adam Lipsius' generically titled crime drama is an overwrought, often confusing assembly of twitchy camerawork and a relentless score. The first 10 minutes of Crime Story have an irritating quality, opening on a flash-forward to Ben in an ambulance, with woozy, out-of-focus cinematography accompanied by Ben's disorienting narration. The latter continues "12 hours earlier" as Ben prepares for his day. The scene somehow recalls the caffeinated rhythm of Uncut Gems, but less energizing; it's more like the end of a caffeine jag, accompanied by a sickly feeling and frayed nerves.
Crime Story continues like this as Dreyfuss and Sorvino act mightily, throwing lots of intensity into their scenes. Sometimes they're magnificent, but most of the time their performances feel unshaped or too strained. The story and its twists feel rather muted compared to the intensity of the scene-by-scene exchanges. There's no real suspense. Additionally, the camerawork frequently obscures certain details, and it's often difficult to even tell what's going on -- or what happened during a split-second moment. At least wonderful character actor Pruitt Taylor Vince is on hand, giving a quiet, touching performance among the chaos.
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.