Hot Summer Nights

Movie review by
Michael Ordona, Common Sense Media
Hot Summer Nights Movie Poster Image
Parents recommend
Pervasive drug culture, strong language in drama/thriller.
  • R
  • 2018
  • 107 minutes

Parents say

age 15+
Based on 6 reviews

Kids say

age 14+
Based on 3 reviews

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A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

Loyalty isn't rewarded, and people don't learn any particular lessons -- other than, perhaps, that crime doesn't pay.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Pretty much everyone makes poor decisions or is easily led. The main character has a head for business but no wisdom and is a selfish liar. No notable diversity. That said, the cop isn't a bad guy, and the two love interests aren't bad people, either.


One big fight, and it's a brutal, bloody beatdown. A fatal shooting occurs just off screen. Evidence of a suicide.


A woman plays the piano in only her panties, but she's not shown from the front. Several teen sexual situations, including post-sex snuggling.


Frequent strong language, especially of variants of "f--k." Other words include "s--t," "d--k," "a--hole," "c--k," "butt," "bastard," and more.


Visible brands are used for '90s nostalgic value.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Drug use/selling is backbone of plot. Many instances of pot and (intended) coke use, almost all involving teens. Harmful effects of use aren't shown. Dealing is glamorized. Teens also drink and smoke tobacco.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that even though it's about teens, Hot Summer Nights isn't intended for kids. This '90s-set romantic-dramatic thriller stars Timothée Chalamet as a teen who moves to a summer resort town and joins a local bad-boy small-time weed-dealing operation. Expect lots of drug use among teens (plus drinking and smoking), a burst of bloody violence (as well as an offscreen fatal shooting and evidence of a suicide), and constant strong language (especially "f--k"). The drug trade is glamorized, and no real lessons are learned. While there's no graphic nudity or sex, there's definitely acknowledgment of teen sexuality (teen characters are shown snuggling after sex), and one character plays piano wearing only her underpants.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byKaren_Maccey March 22, 2020


It promotes drugs
Adult Written bykaren.kriss77 April 12, 2020

Nothing kids can’t handle

This movie has a good amount of drug use in it, and off screen deaths behind-camera. I watched this with my 11-year old and she absolutely loved it, but she is... Continue reading
Teen, 14 years old Written bytessawend August 8, 2020

good movie overall

i watched this when i was 13 and it was nothing i hadn’t seen before. drugs and some violence but not too bad.
Teen, 15 years old Written byGreen_tea May 9, 2020
This movie revolves around drug dealing and use, and has a decent amount of violence. The gore isn't too bad, but there is one bloody scene where a guy get... Continue reading

What's the story?

In the '90s-set HOT SUMMER NIGHTS, Daniel (Timothée Chalamet) moves to a Massachusetts resort town and joins local bad boy Hunter's (Alex Roe) small-time weed-dealing operation. At the same time, Daniel meets and falls for Hunter's off-limits sister, McKayla (Maika Monroe). Daniel's ambition pushes the business up and over the boys' heads, leading to unexpected challenges.

Is it any good?

The nostalgic elements and well-captured moments of teen romance are memorable, but this dramatic thriller ultimately feels poorly motivated and doesn't arrive at a satisfying destination. That said, Hot Summer Nights does benefit from fine casting. Chalamet is a rising star; here, he's awkward and too smart for his own good. Monroe is an intriguing screen presence, and the dependable William Fichtner -- in a small role as a higher-level drug dealer -- is unpredictable and menacing. But the true find here is Roe, who commands the screen as Hunter. Fans of MTV's The Challenge will note a resemblance to that reality show's "character" CT that enhances Roe's portrayal of a similar Boston-ish bruiser.

Elijah Bynum directs from his own script, which does boast some engaging dialogue and character detail. But despite a fatalistic voice-over, we're not drawn into the dramatic vortex; it seems inevitable that Daniel's ambition will be the undoing of all ... but only because we're told it is. His dishonesty and foolishness hold us at arm's length from the emotional experience. Thematically, the film takes a stab at myth-making -- and stylistically at noir -- but neither lands convincingly. Hot Summer Nights has some nice, visceral moments, as when McKayla unexpectedly shares Daniel's lollypop or when Hunter reveals just how formidable a physical force he really is, but it mostly feels like a ride on a track whose destination everybody knows.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how drug use/trade is portrayed in Hot Summer Nights. Is it glamorized? Are there consequences? Why does that matter?

  • What was your impression of Daniel? He was smart. He was a liar. He cared about Hunter and McKayla. He deceived them extensively. Did he help anyone? Did he hurt anyone?

  • How did you respond to the movie's dialogue? Was it interesting, realistic? Was it better or worse than what you've heard in other crime dramas? 

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love dramas and thrills

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