Exit Through the Gift Shop



Curious docu about street artists has some strong language.
  • Review Date: January 24, 2011
  • Rated: R
  • Genre: Documentary
  • Release Year: 2010
  • Running Time: 85 minutes

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Art is what you perceive it to be, and making it is an achievement in itself.

Positive role models

The artists featured come across as fearless and far from complacent, though they're technically breaking the law.


Some scenes show cops arresting street artists.

Not applicable

Some swearing, primarily “s--t” and “f--k.”


No overt brand names, though some of the artists featured in the film have collectible works of art.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

A lead character smokes cigarettes.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this fascinating documentary features street artists whom some may label as subversive; their work is incredible and dynamic, but some consider them vandals. Also, questions have been raised about the veracity of the film's lead subject, though that actually heightens the interest in watching it. Expect some swearing ("f--k" and "s--t") and an examination of a type of art that purposefully crosses a line -- a point that might intrigue some teens.

What's the story?

Thierry Guetta, a former Los Angeles shopkeeper, turns accidental documentary filmmaker and artist in EXIT THROUGH THE GIFT SHOP. Guetta is an avid videographer, and street artists became his favorite subject. After hobnobbing with the likes of such artists as Swoon and Shepard Fairey, who became famous for his rendition of Barack Obama’s countenance, Guetta befriended the famously reclusive Banksy, who gives him the task of attempting to make art himself. Guetta becomes Mr. Brainwash and takes to the task immediately, deciding to create a massive show and hyping it up in the media.

Is it any good?


This rags-to-artists tale is compelling, indeed, and every frame is worth watching. Guetta is a strangely fascinating subject, both as a documentarian wannabe and as an artist wannabe who captivates. (His show was hugely attended.) The film affords an appealing, if slightly roundabout, look at the world of street art -- the thrill of the process, the lure of the rebellion.

But you can’t help wondering, as you watch, whether we, as viewers, have become part of someone’s subversive art piece. The film, after all, is directed by Banksy, who’s presented here as a subject but then ends up documenting the filmmaker. Confused? Not surprising -- but, hey, it’s an adventure nonetheless.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about street art: What makes it so compelling? What do the artists get out of creating it? What do viewers get?

  • Is graffiti vandalism or art?

  • What about the documentary filmmaker, Thierry, whose work is central to the film? What kind of artist is he?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:January 24, 2010
DVD release date:December 14, 2010
Cast:Banksy, Rhys Ifans, Thierry Guetta
Studio:Oscilloscope Pictures
Run time:85 minutes
MPAA rating:R
MPAA explanation:some language

This review of Exit Through the Gift Shop was written by

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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What parents and kids say

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Kid, 11 years old April 16, 2011
Very good movie, I thought it was a little bit too much about that stupid guy, Terri, but other than that very well made. A must see movie for sure.
What other families should know
Too much swearing
Teen, 16 years old Written byAR16 October 28, 2012

Make art NOT war!

Art is a wonderful thing. This documentary gives its viewers an inside look into the deeper meaning of what street art really is. It also helps you understand what makes a person a "true artist" or not.
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Teen, 13 years old Written bybooklover27 February 11, 2012

Interesting Film

Maybe it's just me, but I thoroughly don't understand why this movie is R. it's great documentary and it gave me so much more respect for street art!


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