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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
True friendship is hard to find, especially in the superficial world of high school cliques and posturing. Revenge always sounds better than it feels. Don't be in a rush to grow up. Film comments on "cancel culture."
Positive Role Models
Teens meticulously "curate" their lives for social status, measuring their success by cliques, accolades, or how many people want to "destroy" them. Women suggest their bodies, choices, and thoughts are "policed by shame," while their male counterparts get away with all kinds of excessive behavior. Teens treat each other cruelly at times, kindly at others. Couples fall in love.
Main characters are Latina, White, and Black. Some characters self-identify as "queer," others use the term "NB" (nonbinary), and students use the idea that they are "poly" to get out of a sticky situation involving cheating. Young women talk about "women of color" supporting one another. Despite behavior to the contrary, a young man tries to appear an "ally" to women by starting a "Cis Hetero Men Championing Female Identifying Students' League" and deeming Valentine's Day patriarchal and heteronormative. He's called a "hypocrite, fake-woke misogynist."
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Violence & Scariness
The film revolves around two women plotting revenge against classmates they feel have harmed them. Plots get more and more involved; at one point a car crash is orchestrated, sending a character to the hospital with a bloody forehead. High schoolers are sent to rehab. Two males engage in a boxing match. Someone is slapped. Intimate videos are shared publicly.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
High schoolers flirt, kiss, make out, feel each other up, record sexy videos, cheat on each other, have sex. No body parts or intimate acts are shown, but a man goes under the blankets while a woman fakes an orgasm ("I came," she says), and there's talk of "eating ass," "boob," and nose jobs, a tampon "sliding out," and a woman who says she's glad she's sitting on a towel when she encounters a male classmate she has "so much chemistry" with.
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"F--k," "s--t," "damn," "hell," "ass," "a--hole," "bitch," "c--t," "slut," "d--k," "t-t," "psycho."
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Products & Purchases
Instagram, Teen Vogue, Salvation Army, TaskRabbit, Birkenstock, Schoolhouse Rock, Teva, Peace Corps, Ivy League schools, and car brands.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
High schoolers drink, smoke cigarettes and joints, and take "K" at parties. Two teens drug a large group of classmates by putting psychedelic mushrooms in a soup, and they take them themselves. Students are said to be "tripping balls." A young woman frames another for having cocaine; later, the framed student says she became addicted and wound up in rehab.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Do Revenge represents high schoolers as vengeful, anxious, sexually active, identity-conscious casual drinkers and drug takers concerned about class and status. It does all this in a way apparently meant to undercut many of these behaviors and portrayals. Although teens meticulously "curate" their lives for social status, measuring their success by cliques, accolades, or how many people want to "destroy" them, they ultimately learn that most of them feel constricted by the need to "perform" and actually want to be free of all that. They treat each other cruelly, but they learn that true friendship is hard to find and that they don't need to be in a rush to grow up. High schoolers drink, smoke cigarettes and joints, take "K," and spin out on psychedelics after two classmates purposefully drug them. They flirt, kiss, make out, feel each other up, record nude videos, cheat on each other, and have sex. No body parts or intimate acts are shown, but a man goes under the blankets while a woman fakes an orgasm. There's talk of "eating ass," "boob," and nose jobs, a tampon "sliding out," and a woman who says she's glad she's sitting on a towel when she encounters a male classmate she has "so much chemistry" with. Language includes anatomical and sexual references as well as "f--k," "s--t," "damn," "hell," "ass," "a--hole," "bitch," "c--t," "slut," "d--k," "t-t," and "psycho." To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
This dark comedy falls into a new class of teen films that ironically take on the teen film genre, a meta exercise that almost goes too far but has some entertaining aspects and a talented cast. Looking like a carbon copy of her mother (Uma Thurman), Maya Hawke stands out among a well-selected group of attractive young actors in Do Revenge. She's believable in her character's various iterations -- awkward outcast, psychotic social climber, vulnerable friend, and lesbian wannabe lover. Likewise for the smarmy Abrams and narcissist Mendes. But no single character comes across as true or even likable, except maybe Talia Ryder as the straight-talking lesbian younger sister.
That's because the actors are asked to play out a script purporting wildly excessive behavior among 17- and 18-year-olds, not to mention cynical advising from the sole adult (the headmistress, played by Sarah Michelle Gellar). Of course, it's all purposefully exaggerated, like their exclusive academy's hilarious pastel school uniforms (capes, berets, and bowties, oh my!), but the embellishments undercut attempts at eking out true emotion from the characters or hitting the mark with political subtexts about gender inequality and class injustice. In short, it's hard to take any of this seriously or care very deeply, but it's equally hard to deny that some fun -- guilty perhaps -- is had in the process.
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.