Heathers

Movie review by
Maria Llull, Common Sense Media
Heathers Movie Poster Image
Popular with kidsParents recommend
After Columbine, this dark comedy isn't as funny.
  • R
  • 1989
  • 103 minutes

Parents say

age 13+
Based on 22 reviews

Kids say

age 13+
Based on 106 reviews

A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

Extreme bad behavior is intrinsic to this dark comedy with few obvious consequences. Veronica does learn a lesson in the end about popularity and befriends the most laughed-at girl in school.

Positive Role Models & Representations

High school pecking-order stereotypes are rampant. Parents and school administrators shown as bumbling and ineffective in dealing with the "suicide epidemic." J.D. thrives on chaos and death and drags Veronica down with him. When she starts to resist him he stalks her and threatens her. The fake suicide pact of two male athletes is staged as a gay tryst with "gay artifacts" like mineral water and played for laughs. Cow-tipping. Kids pander to TV crews in a display of public mourning and one asks for a copy of the tape for his Princeton application. One Heather throws up lunch every day. Girl gets laughed at for attempting suicide for real and living.

Violence

One poisoning where the victim falls through a glass table. Plenty of gunplay by J.D. and Veronica: at school with blanks, in the woods resulting in two deaths. J.D. and Veronica fight each other with guns, shooting off a finger; lots of blood. Dynamite is planted under bleachers of school kids at a pep rally, then strapped to and detonated by J.D. Teen suicide is a huge focus and faked suicides lead to real attempts by two students. J.D. admits that his mother probably committed suicide. His father blows up buildings. Veronica burns herself with a lighter on purpose. A Barbie is hung in Veronica's room as a threat and Veronica pretends to hang herself. A college boy and J.D. act sexually aggressive toward Veronica.

Sex

Lots of teenage sex (outdoors and at a college party) and crude mentions of sex: "spin her around on my Johnson like a goddamn pinwheel." Veronica is the victim of a rumor that she had oral sex with two jocks in one night. Jocks make a nerdy student say "I like to suck big dicks" outside a church. Two jocks strip down to their boxers. Veronica is forced to kiss J.D. and a college student against her will.

Language

"F--k" is used frequently in over-the-top expressions like "f--k me gently with a chainsaw," "f--king psychotic," "stupid f--k," "they all want me as a friend or a f--k."

Consumerism

Swatch, Coke, Limited, MTV, Barbie

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Veronica, J.D., Veronica's dad, and a teacher smoke. A teen smokes pot under the bleachers. High schoolers are drunk at a college party and Veronica throws up.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Heathers is a pitch-black comedy that teens will probably want to see, but it's better for those just exiting high school and up. This film goes to extremes portraying the cruelness of the popular crowd and the rebellion against it. The popular kids are murdered by poisoning and shooting and their suicide notes are forged. There are two more "real" attempted suicides, some self-mutilation, and bulimia. There's lots of gunplay by the main characters and one bloody scene. J.D. attempts to blow up the school and all its students with dynamite. Teens have sex (outdoors and at a college party) and speak crudely about it. Two boys are sexually aggressive. And there's plenty of harsh and homophobic language.

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User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byE.lin June 14, 2018

Great for mature kids, who have a grasp on the real world

Amazing movie. I however disagree with the “no positive messages” part. There are two I can think of right off the bat. 1. Veronica stops her psycho ex, JD, fro... Continue reading
Adult Written bylunag126 April 28, 2013

Kids are smarter than they seem.

This movie is a great dark comedy and a classic I think most people should get around to watching. And, quite frankly, okay for kids 10+ provided you ask the q... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written byChelseab2006 June 8, 2019

Not for the faint of heart

I think this is perfect for kids who understand the real world, yes it's violent but that's like most shows/movies.
Teen, 16 years old Written byBLONDIE-CEPTION April 2, 2016
Please IGNORE the adults and teens and kids saying that this movie is okay for children. It is not. There is a sex scene, showing them, (if you know what I... Continue reading

What's the story?

The HEATHERS, three girls with the same name(Shannen Doherty, Lisanne Falk, and Kim Walker), run things from the top of the social food chain at Westburg High. Veronica Sawyer (Winona Ryder), who feels left out of the popular crowd, meets a witty rebel who quickly steals her heart named J.D. (Christian Slater). J.D. supports her hatred of the Heathers and joins her in a vindictive practical joke on the top Heather. But the joke is for keeps when Heather drinks J.D.'s "hangover cure" made of deadly cleaning fluid. A shocked Veronica decides to help J.D. cover up the murder by making it look like suicide. A series of copycat suicides quickly envelops Westburg High. The phenomenon takes on a bizarre life of its own as the student body, faculty, and parents all react to the macabre events in their own clueless and dysfunctional way. Meanwhile, Veronica must admit to herself that J.D. is even more of a monster than the Heathers. Can she foil his plot to administer a student body-wide suicide pact?

Is it any good?

The odd and often uncomfortable world of teen peer pressure is no stranger to any of us, and this dark comedy zooms unhesitatingly into this pressure cooker. It dishes up some grotesque stereotypes, and tosses them into a cleverly campy scenario that threatens the lives of the entire student body of Westburg High.

Heathers is a well-acted movie with many memorable lines. It's become a classic of the teenage macabre genre, and with good reason. Older teens and adults will find that there's much dark delight to be found in its silly, biting twist on teen life.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about popularity, suicide, depression, and any number of hot-button teen subjects. High school is a high-anxiety microcosm of what awaits teenagers post-graduation. How do you deal with pressure successfully? How do you learn to make positive decisions?

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love comedies

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