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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
The film doesn't glamorize violence or crime but instead gives a gritty picture of the penalties that criminals suffer. There's a message of redemption, too; people can overcome their pasts. The way connections between humans can heal is explored deeply, with realistic, layered characters.
Positive Role Models
D.J. is a caring and compassionate mentor to vulnerable young women. The young women offer a nuanced picture of youth offenders.
Violence & Scariness
A few non-graphic fights; a pair of criminals flees from a robbery, and some of the fires the prison team fights are a little scary -- but there's no blood or guns on screen. One character has cigarette burns on her arm, the legacy of (off-screen) abuse. A gun is shown briefly.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Boyfriends and girlfriends are mentioned; a husband and wife are shown in bed kissing.
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Insults are sometimes exchanged.
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Drugs are mentioned once during a recitation of detention center rules.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Firelight is a sensitive made-for-TV movie that explores the possibility for redemption among a group of girls confined to a detention center. The inmates are racially diverse and realistic without being scary and/or sexualized as is typical for "women in prison" movies. (In other words, no cat fights.) There's some mention of past crimes and abuse, as well as a scene with a married couple in bed kissing. Some of the firefighting scenes are a bit scary. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
Firelight could have gone wrong in so many ways, turning nasty/sexy like Sucker Punch or preachy like Lean on Me; instead, it's deeply moving. It's grim at times without being overly scary, and, ultimately, it's uplifting.
FIRELIGHT hearkens back to the days when networks competed with each other to unleash big movie events. Since then, made-for-TV movies have sunk to the Sharktopus level. This is something else again. Every single character in Firelight is granted dignity, even the villains, and the main characters mess up, then try, then mess up again, and try again. It's all so triumphant that you might hear the Rocky theme playing in your head when Caroline drops her bad attitude and picks up a firehose instead.
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.