A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Positive themes of female friendship and navigating adversity. But coping skills are largely self-destructive. And one of the main takeaways is that girls are often conditioned to accept abuse and relinquish their innocence to be viewed as adult women in U.S. society.
Positive Role Models
Characters turn to substances and sex in order to numb themselves from life's hardships. One character is supported by her female friends when she comes forward after experiencing sexual assault.
Filmed in Texas, the movie centers on the lives of a group of White and Latino high schoolers. Diversity related to gender, age, ability, socioeconomic status, and family structure is present throughout.
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Violence & Scariness
Graphic discussion of multiple sexual assaults, some inaccurately labeled as "bad sex." Verbal and emotional abuse from parents to children. Teens shoot guns in an empty field.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Teens cuddle, kiss, talk in detail about genitalia, sending nudes, and watching people masturbate in exchange for money. One teen gets her nipple pierced; her chest isn't exposed but is described.
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Frequent use of words "bitch" and "f--k."
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Products & Purchases
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Frequent cigarette use, vaping, smoking drugs from a pipe, cocaine use, and drinking, all by teens.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Cusp is a disheartening documentary about teenage girlhood in rural Texas. It follows high schoolers Brittney, Autumn, and Aaloni as they navigate poverty, puberty, abuse, sexual assault, and society's crushing expectations of womanhood. The filmmakers create conditions in which the teens both demonstrate and divulge intimate, heartbreaking moments in their lives. Mature content includes frequent use of the words "bitch" and "f--k"; cigarette use, vaping, smoking drugs from a pipe, cocaine use, and drinking (all by teens); graphic discussion of multiple sexual assaults; verbal and emotional abuse from parents to children; teens cuddling, kissing, talking in detail about genitalia, sending nudes, and watching people masturbate in exchange for money; and teens shooting guns in an empty field. Positive themes of female friendship and navigating adversity are present throughout. But the coping skills used by both adults and teens are highly self-destructive. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
Cusp is a gritty, disheartening look at the lives of a group of teenage girls in Texas. "I'm not an adult yet, but I'm not a kid anymore," says one of the girls. The film explores how Brittney, Autumn, and Aaloni navigate this tense time of transition. There's no real storyline, but that's OK -- it mirrors the ambiguous, listless nature of the girls' lives. Somehow, the filmmakers are able to document their underage drinking, smoking, and drug use from the inside. The girls disclose intimate, heartbreaking details about their lives. And you can't help but wonder whether the filmmakers themselves are implicated in the violation and premature exposure these teens are victims of: Their traumas are forever on film. The filmmakers must strike a balance between exposing these realities and being careful not to exploit their subjects. While Cusp isn't easy viewing, it documents the harsh reality that rigid gender expectations cause real harm to young people. The takeaway? Girls are often conditioned to accept abuse and relinquish their innocence to be viewed as adult women in U.S. society.
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.