Movie review by
Sandie Angulo Chen, Common Sense Media
Footloose Movie Poster Image
Popular with kids
Remake is surprisingly fresh but still faithful to original.
  • PG-13
  • 2011
  • 113 minutes

Parents say

age 14+
Based on 18 reviews

Kids say

age 12+
Based on 39 reviews

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A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

The movie offers several positive messages, from the superficial (it's never too late to learn to dance) to the substantial (teens need to have a voice and to be listened to in order to forge real relationships with their parents and other adults). Even the romantic relationships provide a valuable lesson -- Ren rebuffs Ariel's advances until he feels that she's ready for him and not just getting back at her aggressive ex. Ren's mission to get the local council to reinstate dancing is inspiring.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Ren works hard to fix his car, to create a petition to reinstate public dancing, and even to teach his new best friend how to dance. He's kind to Ariel and is unwilling to kiss her until he's sure the time is right. We even know he nursed his dying mother at the end of her life. He's an all-around cool and mature guy. His aunt and uncle are also good role models of supportive, caring adults who stick up for their nephew. Ren's fellow students are a more diverse group than in the original. On the downside, many of the teens do iffy things, from drinking to dangerous bus races.


Ariel's boyfriend, Chuck, hits her in the face and gives her a black eye. A fist fight erupts between Chuck (and his friends) and Ren and Willard. Ren and Willard also get into a fight at an Atlanta club. Chuck, Ren, and a few others dangerously race old, tricked-out school buses on a track, and there's a crash that could have hurt someone but doesn't.


There's a scene in which a teenage girl is obviously about to lose her virginity (she starts unbuttoning her top and asks her boyfriend to shut the door); she later confirms this fact by yelling "I'm not even a virgin" to her parents. Also a few kisses and flirting and jokes about boners, threesomes, and dancers' flexible bodies. More suggestive dancing (grinding, etc.) than in the original.


Frequently used swear words include "bulls--t," "s--t, "a--hole," "dick," "ass," "piss," "dumbass," "screw," "prick," "hell," "damn," "oh my God," and more. One instance in which the derogatory word "fag" is used to describe Ren because he's a gymnast who likes to dance. The guy who says it is then called an "a--hole."


iPod is used and shown in several scenes.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Teens are shown drinking; Chuck (who's not in high school but could still be under 21) smokes a joint with his friends, some of whom are still in school.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this remake of the classic '80s dance movie is faithful to the Kevin Bacon original, which nowadays would be rated PG-13. There's plenty of language ("s--t," "a--hole," and more) and some sexual content (from jokes about threesomes and boners to a scene in which a young woman decides to lose her virginity), but nothing overtly graphic or that teens wouldn't hear walking around their schools. There's also a scene in which a small group of teens passes a joint around and then races buses on a dangerous track. But overall the movie's messages are positive -- that teenagers have a voice, that they can make a difference, and that they deserve to be heard.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written bydoggieboo June 29, 2016

awesome movie for kids just getting bored of the younger stuff

my kids love this movie yes there is some crude humor in it but other wise great
Parent of a 11, 16, and 17-year-old Written byBrittanySnow August 24, 2013

One of the Best

Amazing movie perfectly suitable for 12+
Normally remakes are never as good as the original but for this one its a different case. This has opened my eyes to re... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written bymatosmary May 14, 2021

Must watch

I watched this movie expecting an inocent movie about dancing next thing i know there are 2 busses on fire and people somoking and drinking. The movie can get a... Continue reading
Kid, 9 years old February 6, 2021


Violence 2/5
Sex 3/5
Language 3/5
Drugs 3/5
Potty Humor 1/5
My Rating: PG-13

What's the story?

After his mother dies of leukemia, Ren McCormack (Kenny Wormald) moves from Boston to live with his aunt and uncle in small-town Bomont, Georgia. A former gymnast and recreational dancer, Ren is shocked to discover that in the aftermath of a tragic accident, Bomont has a strictly enforced town-wide curfew on its teens and has made it illegal for underage adolescents to dance in public. Ren befriends football player Willard (Miles Teller) and grows attracted to the local preacher's daughter, Ariel (Julianne Hough), but he keeps getting in minor trouble with authority. With nothing to lose, Ren decides to challenge the system to finally allow dancing.

Is it any good?

Many remakes are unnecessary or downright depressing, so there's an element of surprise when one is actually decent. Director Craig Brewer's (Hustle & Flow) take on the iconic '80s movie manages to be believably "new" while remaining quite faithful to the original -- from the overall storyline to some nearly shot-for-shot, line-by-line sequences. Brewer's updates, in fact, are all quite subtle -- the locations are different (Ren's home city is Boston instead of Chicago, to accommodate McCormack's native accent, and he moves to Georgia instead of Oklahoma), the cast now includes a more diverse group of students, the teens' dancing is more modern, and Ren is motherless, making him yet another underdog movie orphan you can't help but root to win.


But for the most part, everything else is familiar -- and for once, that's a good thing. Wormald has an elfin James Dean quality that makes him cute but not distractingly edgy or sexy. He's got a winning smile and amazing dancing skills (better than Kevin Bacon's), and his scenes teaching pal Willard (Teller channels the best of the late Chris Penn's performance) to boogie are again some of the best in the movie. Hough sheds her ballroom-dancing pro persona (although there's a joke thrown in just for Dancing with the Stars fans) to seem like a real actress, but her portrayal takes a backseat to Wormald and Teller's. Dennis Quaid's minister isn't as fire-and-brimstone intense as the original's John Lithgow, but his tone is just the right balance of conflicted and protective. While this remake may not be the cultural touchstone that Bacon's version became, it's toe-tapping fun for teens and nostalgic parents.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the relationship between "authority" and Ren. Is he rightfully accused as a troublemaker? When is it right to question authority? Should teens be allowed to complain about the rules and regulations imposed on them?

  • How does the movie portray teen drinking/drug use and sexuality? Are there realistic consequences?

  • What's the difference between Ariel's relationship with Chuck and her relationship with Ren? Why does Ren tell her he won't kiss her at first? Teens: Do you think some people hook up just to make their exes angry? How is Ren different than the average teen guy?

  • Those familiar with the original movie can discuss the differences between the two and the ways the new one updated the story. How is the 2011 version faithful? How is it different? Which do you prefer?

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love dancing

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