A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Families and friends care for each other. Crime doesn't pay. Don't judge people by their race, heritage, or class.
Positive Role Models
John-John does a selfless thing when he jumps into the bay to save a young girl from drowning. But he also goes along with his troublemaking friends when they get involved in robberies and eventually more dangerous crimes. Other young men engage in crimes and acts of violence without concern for who is affected. Elisabeth defies her father's wishes and puts herself in harm's way at times.
The film turns on two distinct lifestyles in a Swedish city: On one side of the bay, wealthy Swedes live in mansions with pools; on the other, housing projects are packed with racially diverse immigrants. Main character and his single mom appear to be of Middle Eastern descent, though it's never explicitly stated. Other friends have African or Eastern European backgrounds. John-John is one of the only non-White students in his drama school. Swedes are depicted as constantly making negative assumptions about John-John because of his race and class. Meanwhile, John-John and his friends make assumptions about the rich, too. Some of the depictions may be stereotyped, though this would be more apparent to a Swedish audience.
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Violence & Scariness
A young girl almost drowns when a man jumps on top of her from a cliff, and a teenager jumps in to save her. A man beats up his girlfriend's teen son. Two teens are mugged at knifepoint and the attackers suggest they might take the female with them; they slap her and she falls to the ground. A man is shot and killed at close range. Thugs beat up a young man in retaliation for owing them money; he says his life is in danger if he doesn't pay them back. A family fight leads to a grandmother raising her voice and pushing dishes off a table. A man is said to have been beat up daily while in prison. A teenager is grieving her recently deceased mother. A candlelit vigil memorializes a young man who has apparently died.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Two teenagers fall in love. They kiss on several occasions, including once in a pool in their undergarments. Eventually they have sex in her bedroom while her father is home. The scene involves her taking off both their shirts and her bra, asking him if he has a condom, and the two in bed together. No intimate parts are seen. Guys tease each other about "jerking off," "fantasizing," "sniffing her panties," "hooking up," and more.
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In English subtitles: "f--k," "s--t," "hell," "d--k," "a--hole," "hell," "c--k," "c--t," "jerking off," "piss," "retard," "jerk," "buzzkill," "idiot," "stupid," "junkie," "God."
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Products & Purchases
Fanta, Nike, Instagram, BMW, North Face.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
A teen smokes a cigarette and what looks like a joint. A man smokes a cigarette. Teens and young adults drink alcohol. A man is said to have been a heroin addict (a "junkie").
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that book-based Swedish teen romance JJ+E has violence, language, and teen sex. The two main characters come from different sides of the city, and the distinctions in wealth, privilege, and opportunities are apparent. Both sides make disparaging assumptions about the other. The characters living in what appear to be housing projects appear to be mostly immigrants of Middle Eastern, African, or Eastern European backgrounds. John-John is one of the only non-White students in his drama school. The sex scene includes mention of a condom and removal of a bra but doesn't show any intimate parts. Otherwise, teens engage only in kissing and flirting. Boys tease each other about "jerking off," "fantasizing," "sniffing her panties," and "hooking up," while language in the subtitled version includes "f--k," "s--t," "hell," "d--k," "a--hole," "c--k," "c--t," "jerking off," "piss," "retard," and more. Teen boys get into trouble with increasingly more serious robberies, and two teens are mugged at knifepoint. One of them is beaten up and then later killed in a graphic scene. The main character's mother's boyfriend, said to have been an ex-con heroin addict, gets violent with the teenager. A young girl nearly drowns. People, including teens, smoke cigarettes and what looks like a joint, and they also drink alcohol. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
First love, especially an impossible one, always makes for compelling material, as do the contrasts that this film's urban European setting allows for. From the opening scenes of Swedish drama JJ+E, we see the socioeconomic gap the film works to emphasize at every turn. A young blonde woman floats in her family's infinity pool high above the bay as a brown-skinned, floppy-haired teenager cruises graffiti-speckled city streets with his tough-looking buddies before leaping off a concrete wall into the other side of the bay. While these somewhat clichéd portrayals could have felt empty, the young actors -- particularly Mustapha Aarab as John-John and Jonay Pineda Skallak as his dodgy friend Sluggo -- bring soul and energy to them. Elsa Ohrn's Elisabeth feels more distant, which matches her character's background and grieving process, but it makes her harder to warm to.
The film builds as a typical, somewhat predictable teen romance until Sluggo's violent life encroaches on the couple's future. This was to be expected, as John-John's home life and friend group are given a lot more prominence than Elisabeth's throughout the movie. His diverse gang from the projects is depicted as rough-edged but loyal and tight-knit, and there's tension in seeing John-John perpetually teeter the line between good student and criminal. A night on the town with the group lets the camera see the two sides of Stockholm through their very different inhabitants' eyes. It's clear the romance was doomed on its own, especially considering Elisabeth's world's shallow dismissal of John-John, so the film's overly violent ending wasn't entirely necessary.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.