Fast Color

Movie review by
Tara McNamara, Common Sense Media
Fast Color Movie Poster Image
Atypical superhero story means well but lacks power.
  • PG-13
  • 2019
  • 102 minutes

Parents say

age 13+
Based on 3 reviews

Kids say

age 12+
Based on 3 reviews

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A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

Power to create change already exists within you. Everyone has "special powers" in their DNA: skills, traits, lessons that we get from our ancestors.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Range of examples of black female characters. Three possess a special superpower, and a young black girl teaches herself to be a mechanic. But one is a recovering drug addict, and two were young and unmarried when they got pregnant unexpectedly.


A man is shot in the face in self-defense -- it creates a bloody but not gory flesh wound. Bloody rope burns on a woman's wrists. Shouting/arguing.


Not a romance-driven plot, but a couple who are parents and grandparents is lovingly reunited. Brief mentions of unplanned pregnancies.


"S--t" is said several times, including once by a child; one use of "f---ing."


No brands are spotlighted, but a Dr. Pepper sign can be spotted in the background, and someone buys a can of Havoline Oil.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Likable main character is a recovering drug addict who's been sober for 11 months; she was using drugs to prevent her earthquake-causing seizures, so it's presented as morally justified, even if it did result in negative consequences for her. An older character smokes, is admonished by daughter for doing so. Scene in a bar; bottles are seen, but no one is shown taking a drink.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Fast Color is a sci-fi drama about a family of women who have the ability to deconstruct objects with their minds. The government is trying to capture main character Ruth (Gugu Mbatha-Raw) for experimentation; once cornered, she shoots an untrustworthy scientist in the face (he's bloodied, but it's not gory, and he continues hunting her). Ruth is a former drug addict; the use is presented as justified because getting high quieted her earthquake-causing seizures. She had her daughter while using; the girl is presented as smart and kind and also has superhuman abilities. Despite the fact that Ruth abandoned her daughter for a decade, when they're reunited (not out of love, but for survival), there's no resentment -- which is perhaps unrealistic. Language is occasionally coarse (mostly "s--t"), but there's no iffy sexual content. The film is being touted as offering up an alternative superhero: A woman who's able to reach her full potential after she stops hiding her true identity and collaborates with other women. 

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byUgzilla September 18, 2019

OK movie, mature themes

Great to see women of color playing complex roles, and it's fun to see a creative take on superpowers. Not an amazing movie, but I'll watch it with m... Continue reading
Adult Written byotherthings July 11, 2020

A breath of fresh air

A fantastic, sci-fi-tinged superhero story that's grounded in the emotional reality of a broken family. While the post-climate-change future setting start... Continue reading
Kid, 11 years old July 12, 2020

Amazing movie

I watched this movie with my parents the other night, and I thought it was an amazing five star movie. I loved how the main characters were women of color, and... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written byAngle C March 22, 2020

Can get boring, but very great film.

Overall, Fast Color is a very positive film about learning your place. There is many positive messages in it, but it can get boring at times, and lack the... Continue reading

What's the story?

In FAST COLOR, Ruth (Gugu Mbatha-Raw) has a special ability to destroy things with her mind, but she can't control her earthquake-triggering seizures without taking drugs. On the run from the government, she hides in the place she abandoned long ago: home. There she reunites with, among others, Lila, the daughter (Saniyya Sidney) she left behind a decade before.

Is it any good?

For a superhero movie, this one lacks power. Ruth tells Lila that they may possess unusual telekinetic powers, but "we're not superheroes" -- but viewers are still meant to understand that the special abilities Ruth and all the women in her family line possess are indeed superhuman. The ability to break things apart isn't just limited to cigarettes and ceramics: They have the mental strength to move heaven and earth.

Humanity loves a good story about magical skills that extend beyond the norm, with each decade bringing its own brand -- from I Dream of Jeannie to Carrie to Superman to Harry Potter ... and back to Superman. Despite our current cinematic worship of all things superhero, however, both the DC and Marvel universes are distinctly lacking in female voices of color. Fast Color looks to solve that crisis. But most superhero stories are meant for kids -- and Fast Color is not. It may offer up a mirror to viewers who feel ignored by society (and the multiplex): Drug-addicted Ruth got pregnant while high, then left Lila behind in an effort to give her a better, safer life. But kids whose lives don't have comparable circumstances may receive a different message. Will they understand that they can change the world by relying on the traits they've inherited from their ancestors? Will they see those who are "specially" abled as equal, if not superior? The metaphor just doesn't go far enough for kids to internalize/appreciate. For teen audiences, as good as writer-driector Julia Hart's intention is, Fast Color isn't super, but rather a little draggy, a little heady, and a little boring.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about Fast Color's message that we all have special powers in our DNA: the skills, traits, and lessons that we get from our ancestors. When you go up your family tree, what "powers" can you find that could be lying dormant in you?

  • Is Ruth a role model? Why or why not? In real life, can someone change their story?

  • Do you ever feel -- like Ruth and the other women do -- that you have to hide your true self for society to accept you? How do you think swallowing their real identity affects someone?

  • Why do we like movies, comics, and TV shows about people who have superhuman abilities?

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love superheroes

Themes & Topics

Browse titles with similar subject matter.

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