I Love You Phillip Morris

Movie review by
S. Jhoanna Robledo, Common Sense Media
I Love You Phillip Morris Movie Poster Image
Wacky but mature comedy examines a love with no limits.
  • R
  • 2010
  • 98 minutes

Parents say

age 15+
Based on 2 reviews

Kids say

age 15+
Based on 4 reviews

Did this review miss something on diversity?

Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive, diverse representations in books, TV shows, and movies. Want to help us help them? Suggest a diversity update

A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

Although it's arguably heartwarming to see the lengths that Steven will go to for the love of his life, ultimately the movie sends the message that you can do anything in the name of love -- even lie, cheat and steal.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Con man Steven is charming, successful, and completely without scruples or guilt. He will lie to anyone if he thinks it will get him something he wants, and he usually pulls it off. He’s fun to watch, but he's anything but a role model.


A car accident and a violent prison beating, both of which leave their victims bloody and battered.


Some brief nudity, including naked men seen from behind in a shower and a man’s nude backside during sex. There are also several sex scenes, both gay and straight, that don’t include nudity but do feature very obvious thrusting. Also obvious suggestions of oral sex and lots of suggestive dialogue.


Frequent language includes "f--k," "s--t," “bulls--t,” “ass,” “p---y,” "c--k," "hell," "crap," "damn," "oh my God," "goddamn," “whore,” and "d--k." Many scenes also include explicit sexual dialogue and some disparaging comments about homosexuals.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Social drinking at parties and restaurants; a man is shown with a drink poolside.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this based-on-a-true-story black comedy centers on a man (played by Jim Carrey) who leaves his family and becomes an unapologetic con man to support a self-indulgent life of shopping, partying, and sex. He eventually lands in prison, where he falls madly in love with a fellow male inmate. While there’s little nudity (some glimpses of male backsides), there are several highly suggestive sex scenes -- both gay and straight -- and lots of explicit language, including "f--k," "s--t," and some homophobic slurs. The main character's devotion to his object of affection is clear, but the often criminal lengths he goes to for love hardly qualify him for role model of the year.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent of a 17-year-old Written byjazzy-jazzhands October 18, 2018


I think this will give your kids the expression of the gay community
Parent Written bydarianr July 11, 2011

Funny, but racy

Pretty funny, based on a true story, but it's for mature audiences only. This is basically Catch Me If You Can but about a gay con man. I think it's s... Continue reading
Teen, 15 years old Written byCorinaEverett June 22, 2014

Mature but Moving Movie

This movie is my absolute favorite and I'm only 15. There are many things that could be considered inappropriate such as swearing and sexual content but it... Continue reading
Teen, 14 years old Written byEulalie44 August 5, 2011

Don't hesitate to learn something about your kids.

I think that even though I haven't seen the movie, that the parents should make the final descision. Also, I have a slight bone to pick with the people who... Continue reading

What's the story?

In this comedy inspired by real-life events, Steven Russell (Jim Carrey) is a not-so-happily married gay cop who decides it’s time to be true to himself after a car crash. His exit from the closet isn't exactly subtle: He leaves his wife and kids, takes up with a hot Miami guy, and goes on a spending spree fueled by purloined money. Eventually he lands in jail, where he falls madly in love with the titular Phillip Morris (Ewan McGregor), a gentle soul of an inmate, for whom Steven will do anything. When they’re separated from each other and put in different prisons, Steven begins a seemingly endless loop of bailing the pair out of jails under false pretenses, conning an entire company to fund their lifestyle, landing in the slammer once more, and skipping out again. Love knows no bounds -- literally.

Is it any good?

Loopy, frenetic, sometimes annoying, but impressively inventive, this film should be re-titled What I Did for Love -- because that’s exactly what it’s about. The movie showcases Carrey at his zany best (minus the excessive facial tics). Here he’s loose and kinetic, springing between plot points like a man with nothing to lose and all to gain, which is apropos considering the material. You can’t take your eyes off him, even with the charming -- though underdeveloped, character-wise -- McGregor by his side.

Nevertheless, it would be better if the story wasn't quite so slack and untethered; with a tighter script and more delineated arc, I Love You Phillip Morris would be so much easier to love. As it is, it’s an entertaining, albeit aimless, diversion.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the fact that the movie is based on a true story. Do you think it's all accurate? Why do you think filmmakers might decide to change certain parts of fact-based stories?

  • Do you think Steven Russell’s actions, including stealing and deception, demonstrate real love? Parents, talk to your teens about your own family's values regarding sex and relationships.

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love comedy

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

See how we rate

Streaming options powered by JustWatch

About these links

Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization, earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes when you use our links to make a purchase. Thank you for your support.

Read more

Our ratings are based on child development best practices. We display the minimum age for which content is developmentally appropriate. The star rating reflects overall quality.

Learn how we rate