Dirty Girl

Movie review by
Jeffrey M. Anderson, Common Sense Media
Dirty Girl Movie Poster Image
Foul-mouthed, highly sexed movie has a muddled message.
  • R
  • 2011
  • 90 minutes

Parents say

age 15+
Based on 3 reviews

Kids say

age 14+
Based on 3 reviews

Did this review miss something on diversity?

Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive, diverse representations in books, TV shows, and movies. Want to help us help them? Suggest a diversity update

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

The movie ostensibly has a "be yourself" message, but at the same time it suggests that one main character can't be herself if that self is a "bad girl" -- she must conform and be "good." Moreover, the characters take questionable paths to reach their conclusions. 

Positive Role Models & Representations

Clarke discovers himself -- but his path to that self-discovery includes casual sex, stealing a car and a credit card, and other questionable acts. And the "dirty girl" of the title isn't much of a role model, either; she never seems to find out who she really is.


A father beats up his teen son in one scene; the violence takes place mostly in darkness and partly off camera. A teen girl argues violently with a younger girl and accidentally kicks her parents during a struggle. Several other outbursts and arguments, with shouting.


A teen girl has sex with a teen boy in the school parking lot. Nothing is shown, but the rocking car and sound effects clearly imply the action. The movie implies that a gay teen sleeps with an older man, though, again, nothing is shown. Brief views of naked, full-frontal photographs of men. Teens are shown kissing. Almost constant sexual innuendo, and the main character wears revealing clothing throughout (in one scene, the camera lingers on her bottom as she walks). A teen girl and teen boy, as well as a professional male stripper, perform stripteases, with no nudity shown. One teen girl is shown to be pregnant.


Extremely strong language is used throughout, with multiple uses of "f--k," "s--t," "p---y," "t-ts," "c--k," "retard," "d--k," "poon," "slut," "fag," "goddamn," "virgin," "twat," "vagina," "hell," "bitch," "whore," "ass," and "Jesus H. Christ" (as an exclamation).


Cans of Tab soda are shown. Kleenex is mentioned by name.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

The main character, a teen girl, is shown to be a regular cigarette smoker, though she smokes less as the movie goes on. Other teens are also shown smoking.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this uneven 1980s-set dramedy is about the friendship between a foul-mouthed, promiscuous, cigarette-smoking teen girl and a shy, overweight, gay teen boy who are both looking for some kind of family connection. There's nearly constant strong language (including "f--k," "s--t," "c--k," "p---y," and more), as well as heavy sexual innuendo and sexual suggestion (including teens having sex in a car and brief male frontal nudity in pictures). Teens regularly smoke cigarettes, and there's a violent scene of a father beating up his teen son. Due to the content and subject matter, it's not age-appropriate for teens under 17.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent of a 14 and 14-year-old Written byJiu-jitsudoc May 17, 2015

Cute movie

I thought from the title this movie would be cheesy, but I was pleasantly surprised and the movie had some good emotional scenes.
Adult Written bywonder dove December 15, 2013

Good movie with strong themes 16+ only!

I liked it, better than expected. I love Juno Temple and she did a great job here. The story is very quirky which I liked the most and it's just a fun film... Continue reading
Teen, 14 years old Written byBillyReviews May 27, 2015
Teen, 13 years old Written byIsabelle F. July 15, 2012

Great movie!

The messages are great, because Danielle and Clark are both trying to help each other, and danielle is going to try and help her family. There is language, and... Continue reading

What's the story?

In Norman, Oklahoma, circa 1987, Danielle (Juno Temple) is unhappy. Her mother (Milla Jovovich) is dating a religious zealot (William H. Macy) who wants to convert the family, and Danielle drifts through high school using foul language, having sex, and smoking cigarettes. In a family life class, she's paired with overweight, gay classmate Clarke (Jeremy Dozier), whose father wants him to be more of a man. Clarke and Danielle are assigned to take care of a "baby," i.e., a sack of flour. But when Danielle learns the identity of her real father, she coaxes Clarke to steal his mom's car, and they hit the road for California, their sack of flour (named "Joan") in the back seat. Will any of these misfits find the family they so desperately want and need?

Is it any good?

Falling victim to the "Grinch" syndrome, DIRTY GIRL is much more fun when Danielle is behaving badly. Unfortunately, that only lasts about 20 minutes, and as soon as she befriends Clarke -- an unlikely situation in itself -- the fun ends. The rest of the movie cooks up the usual road-trip clichés, with sing-a-longs to many 1980s radio tunes. It tries to throw in surprises here and there, but these only seem like an extension of what came before, rather than any kind of sudden twist or turn. 

Moreover, the filmmakers send mixed messages about family and "being yourself." And thus the bad behavior continues, but with a sour note rather than a gleeful one. The movie's tone wobbles all over the place, ranging from pathos to magical realism (the bag of flour "reacts" to various situations). It all leads to a bizarre, frustrating conclusion that makes very little sense. In short, Dirty Girl should have been more reckless, braver -- and a little dirtier.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the movie's sexual content. How is it presented? Does it look dangerous, appealing, or both? Does the movie have positive or helpful things to say about sex?

  • Is Danielle too young to be having so much sex? How much does she really know about it? Why is she doing it? Is she lonely? Is she in love? Is she seeking power? Could there be other reasons? Parents, talk to your teens about your own values relating to sex and relationships.

  • Are the characters relatable? Do you think they're intended to be role models?

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love quirky movies

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

Streaming options powered by JustWatch

About these links

Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization, earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes when you use our links to make a purchase. Thank you for your support.

Read more

Our ratings are based on child development best practices. We display the minimum age for which content is developmentally appropriate. The star rating reflects overall quality.

Learn how we rate