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Parents' Guide to


By Tara McNamara, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 15+

Gritty coming-of-age drama has language, violence.

Movie R 2021 90 minutes
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Is It Any Good?

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Kids say: Not yet rated

Using her own life as an inspiration, writer-director Nicole Riegel skillfully crafts a portrait of a teen girl trying to escape poverty without abandoning her family. Ruth and Blaze live in what seems like a dystopian environment, but the voice of former President Donald Trump on the news is a wake-up call: Their hard, gritty life isn't a futuristic world where it all went wrong, it's a real part of the United States. It's remarkable how few films have been made about living in the crumbling Rust Belt, but then most Hollywood movies are about escapism. And this, by contrast, is a film where you want the main character to escape.

Ruth feels like an outlier in her community due to her ambition and academic performance. She's also guarded: Her dad isn't in the picture, her mom is incarcerated in relation to an opioid dependency, and Blaze can't really keep a roof over their head. The two sell cans to a scrap metal yard and are then hired to work there, which means sneaking into abandoned buildings and stealing whatever is salable. Ruth is short with everyone -- she's already been through so much, she's done putting up with nonsense. Yet Barden's portrayal allows us to see that Ruth is a survivor. Whether you can relate to their circumstances or not, Barden and Riegel provide a worthy walk in another teen's worn-out shoes.

Movie Details

  • In theaters: June 11, 2021
  • On DVD or streaming: June 11, 2021
  • Cast: Jessica Barden , Pamela Adlon , Gus Halper
  • Director: Nicole Riegel
  • Inclusion Information: Female actors
  • Studio: IFC Films
  • Genre: Drama
  • Run time: 90 minutes
  • MPAA rating: R
  • MPAA explanation: language and sexual references
  • Last updated: March 2, 2023

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