By S. Jhoanna Robledo,
Common Sense Media Reviewer
Common Sense Media Reviewers
Runaway teen faces violence, harsh reality in mature drama.
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Hick presents a pretty desolate world, in which people are damaged and make poor choices. But there's arguably a takeaway that sometimes, people are more resilient than they appear. And often, hope is the main requirement for that resiliency.
Positive Role Models
Luli is hardened and despairing at a young age, but she somehow finds a way to keep working and trying. Glenda tries to do the right thing, but she just doesn't have it in her to make healthy choices; she's far too damaged.
Violence & Scariness
Violent scenes aren't strung one after another, but when they occur, they're wince-inducing in their brutality. A teen girl is held captive; in one scene, she's shown bound and gagged a day after being raped by her captor (the assault isn't shown, but it's implied). In another sequence, a man beats another savagely in a bathroom, pounding a door on his head over and over until he has no fight left in him; it's bloody and messy and horrid, and it all happens in front of the same teen. Earlier, she sees a horrendous fight between her parents, complete with shoving and screaming. There's also a bloody gunfight that leaves people dead.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Men and women kiss and flirt. A mother walks around in her robe, underwear visible, in front of a stranger, while her teen daughter also stands around in her underwear. A young teen poses in front of a mirror, play-acting at sexiness. Later, she asks a much older man if he finds her attractive. In other scenes, men twice her age and older ogle her.
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Everything from "loser" to "s--t" and "f--k." Adults swear around a teen, who's no stranger to salty vocab herself. She also uses a derogatory term to describe a man with a limp.
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Products & Purchases
Smith & Wesson and Motel 6 are mentioned by name, and a Saltines box is shown.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
A mother and father drink to excess at a bar, which leads to a fight in front of their underage daughter, who's celebrating her birthday at the bar. (No one seems to think this is odd.) The girl is later shown imbibing beer and trying cocaine for the first time after witnessing an older woman doing so. One character has a cocaine habit.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Hick is a disturbing film about a teen girl, Luli (Chloe Grace Moretz), who leaves her dysfunctional, neglectful home, only to fall in with characters who may be even more damaged and dangerous. Most of the adults in this movie are either hurtful or downright criminal; very few seem to be aware that Luli is only 13. Violence isn't constant but includes brutal beatings, deaths, gun use, and an implied rape. There's also some underage drinking and cocaine use; lascivious, pedophile-esque behavior; and strong language. All in all, it's pretty hard to stomach.
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Where to Watch
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What's the Story?
Luli (Chloe Grace Moretz) wants more out of life than being a pawn between her self-centered, neglectful mother (Juliette Lewis) and drunken father (Anson Mount). In the desolate nowhere of Palmyra, Neb., all she has are her beautiful drawings and the gun she received, oddly, on her thirteenth birthday at the bar her parents frequent. (Life is like that for Luli.) One day, she decides to take off, art and firearm in tow and Las Vegas as her destination. Then she makes the fateful decision to hitch a ride with a stranger, Eddie (Eddie Redmayne), whose rage simmers just below the surface. Luli leaves him and is picked up by the beautiful Glenda (Blake Lively), a grifter with a heart of gold and a cocaine habit who appears to have a connection with the mysterious Eddie. It's a violent triangle the three make, and it can only end one way.
Is It Any Good?
The performances are very strong, especially Moretz's; she sometimes appears to truly be struggling to make sense of the horror of it all. Lively does fine with her role, but many shades of it were seen before in her role in The Town. And Redmayne's Eddie is simply a creep; he makes your skin crawl, making certain scenes all the more uncomfortable.
You can't help but feel awful for Luli, despite her hard exterior. She's had to craft that shell for years, living with her horrible parents. Clearly, she deserves better. But HICK, director Derick Martini's take on her hard-scrabble life, is curiously devoid of compassion and heart, even if it's sprinkled with moments when we see Luli, like a sunflower, reaching for the proverbial sun despite the darkness around her. That's because Martini has littered her world with so much desperation, brutality, and sadness that we don't quite get why she still has it in her to fight for survival. Hick is too bleak, too cold, too late to bring a shot of joy into Luli's life -- and to the viewer's experience of the movie, for that matter -- that you have to wonder whether the ending is actually feasible.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about Luli. Is she a strong female character? How does her age impact how you feel about what she does and what she goes through? An actual teenager plays Luli, placing herself in uncomfortable scenes. Is that appropriate?
What keeps Luli hoping? How does she find it in herself to survive?
Parents, talk to your kids about domestic violence. What recourse do kids have? What responsibilities do adults who witness it have? How is it typically portrayed in the media, and how does that impact the way society views it?
- In theaters: May 11, 2012
- On DVD or streaming: August 14, 2012
- Cast: Blake Lively, Chloe Grace Moretz, Eddie Redmayne
- Director: Derick Martini
- Studio: Phase 4 Films
- Genre: Drama
- Run time: 95 minutes
- MPAA rating: R
- MPAA explanation: disturbing content involving a teen, violence, drug use, language and drinking
- Last updated: October 24, 2022
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