I'm Still Here

Movie review by
Jeffrey M. Anderson, Common Sense Media
I'm Still Here Movie Poster Image
Bad behavior from movie star Joaquin Phoenix isn't for kids.
  • R
  • 2010
  • 108 minutes

Parents say

age 10+
Based on 2 reviews

Kids say

No reviews yetAdd your rating

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

Phoenix essentially quits a job that he doesn't like to start a new one that suits him better. There might have been some inspiration to others if that was all, but he goes about this life change in a spoiled, selfish, and aggravating way, alienating all those who would help him. The fact that the film isn't actually a real documentary but was staged to look that way doesn't change the fact that this is what viewers who aren't in on the "joke" will take away from the movie.

Positive Role Models & Representations

The film presents Phoenix as shockingly spoiled and selfish. He treats those around him with anger and contempt. He's slovenly, unkempt, and consumes drugs and alcohol. And he gets away with all of these things because of his celebrity, and there's little or no consequence. Yes, the whole thing is actually an elaborate stunt, with Phoenix playing a "character" version of himself, but that "character" is still a poor role model.


Phoenix fights with his personal assistant -- mostly verbally, but once there's a face slap, and in another scene, there's a full-on brawl after a disgruntled assistant defecates on Phoenix while the actor sleeps, and Phoenix wakes up and starts fighting. There's also a fight at a concert.


Several men (not Phoenix) are shown fully naked. In one scene, Phoenix browses sexy pictures on the internet, hires two prostitutes, and uses crude sexual language. The prostitutes are seen naked (with their faces blurred out) and partly (almost) engaged in sexual acts.


This movie could set a record for the most frequent onscreen use of "f--k," though it will be up to others to do the actual counting (it's easily over 200). Also fairly frequent uses of "s--t" and "bitch," as well as occasional uses of "d--k," "c--t," "Jesus Christ" (as an exclamation), "oh my God," "c--ksucker," "ass," and the "N" word.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

A secondary character is an alcoholic. Phoenix is seen smoking cigarettes and pot, snorting coke, and drinking beer.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that I'm Still Here is presented as a documentary about actor Joaquin Phoenix, who began behaving strangely in the spring of 2009, when he claimed to be retiring from acting to embark upon a career in rap music. Directed by Phoenix's friend/brother-in-law Casey Affleck, the film was revealed to be an elaborate stunt/hoax after it was released, but that doesn't change the fact that it showcases some truly awful behavior, including an onslaught of foul language (particularly "f--k"), drugs, booze, and sex with prostitutes (there's both male and female nudity, as well as some scenes that almost show actual sex acts taking place). Although it's definitely not for kids, the movie does provide an interesting commentary on pampered, spoiled celebrities.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent of a 9-year-old Written byroaringmini May 19, 2011


Parent of a 2-year-old Written byJPhoenix74 January 15, 2011

There aren't any reviews yet. Be the first to review this title.

What's the story?

According to the events documented in I'M STILL HERE, In 2008, actor Joaquin Phoenix decided he'd had enough of acting -- and that he wanted to quit and begin a career in hip-hop music. The film follows him over the course of the following few months as he fights with his friends and assistants, avoids publicists, agitates journalists and interviewers, and tries to track down producer Sean Combs (a.k.a. "P. Diddy") to begin working on his record. A few live rap performances don't go as well as he'd hoped, and in his private hours, Phoenix swings from exaltation to rage. Everything culminates in his infamous February 2009 appearance on The Late Show with David Letterman. Will Phoenix continue along this self-destructive path, or will he find his (new) place in the world?

Is it any good?

Much of the attention surrounding this troubling film initially centered on whether it was real or a hoax. The film itself doesn't answer that question, but director Casey Affleck (who's also Phoenix's brother in law) confirmed that it was indeed an elaborate stunt shortly after the movie's release in Sept. 2010. Frankly, either way, the movie raises some interesting questions about celebrity privilege and categorization. Phoenix (or at least the "character" he's playing in the movie) assumes that because he's famous, he can start his rap career right away, without working for it. On the other hand, who's to say that he can't switch careers?

Affleck's direction is intimate, but not exactly pretty. The sound isn't good, and Phoenix's songs are usually muddled (what is audible sounds awful). The film itself is sporadically funny, and the star's behavior is so abominable that it's both fascinating and aggravating. You can almost begin to feel sorry for him; he's clearly crying out for something, but he's so abrasive and selfish that many won't want to stick around. Bottom line? Since it turns out that the film is a hoax, you could argue that this is the performance of Phoenix's career.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about Phoenix's behavior in the film -- including swearing, drinking, smoking, drugs, and fighting. Were there any consequences for his actions? If not, should there have been? What do you think would happen to non-celebrities who behaved this way?

  • What is the movie saying about celebrities? Is it out to convey a specific message? Is it successful?

  • It turns out that Phoenix's behavior here is part of a hoax. Is it funny? What do you think Phoenix and Affleck's goal was?

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love docu-style films

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