Josie

Movie review by
Michael Ordona, Common Sense Media
Josie Movie Poster Image
Shallow noir thriller has strong language, drinking.
  • NR
  • 2018
  • 100 minutes

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A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

It's possible the film was intended to be one of those slow-boil noirs in which people ultimately pay for their poor behavior/immoral thoughts or actions, but it simply doesn't pull that off due to poorly thought-out consequences.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Main character has no agency and is instead stewing over the past. The other characters (no spoilers here) have both their flaws and minor virtues, but no one is what you could consider a role model.

Violence

One bloody killing. 

Sex

Sexual tension and loaded teasing, but no nudity. Teen sex is heard offscreen and boasted about later. A character teases other characters with the promise of sexual touching, but it doesn't happen.

Language

Plenty of garden-variety R-rated language: "f--k," "s--t," "goddamn," etc. It's how people talk in this film. 

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Frequent drinking, including drinking while driving (without consequences) and teen partying (drinking, smoking pot, sexual situations). An adult drinks with teens. One instance of someone being stealthily drugged.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Josie is a film noir-like thriller about two men and a mysterious teen femme fatale. Expect plenty of strong language ("f--k," "s--t," etc.), one bloody killing, and some non-explicit sexual situations involving teens, plus drinking and pot smoking, also involving teens. There's also drinking while driving, without consequence. The story doesn't offer any kind of big dramatic or moral payoff, so parents may want to weigh whether it's worth their teens' time. Sophie Turner (Game of Thrones) and Dylan McDermott co-star. 

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What's the story?

JOSIE's main character is a down-on-his-luck school security guard without a uniform named Hank (Dylan McDermott) -- your basic quiet man with a dark past. Into his small existence in a Southern residential motel comes Josie (Sophie Turner), a pretty blonde teen on her own who moves in across from him. Both Hank and his teen-jerk nemesis, Marcus (Jack Kilmer), fall for Josie, who shows an interest in both of them. This is a noir-like thriller, so it's safe to say there's trouble ahead.

Is it any good?

Unfortunately, not only is this crime drama's climax not sufficiently thought through, but Josie's entire gimmick is given away in the first act. Despite the presence of skilled actors like McDermott (LA to Vegas) and Turner (Game of Thrones and the more recent X-Men movies), Josie's characters aren't defined beyond types that are too familiar within the noir genre: quiet man with a past, Lolita-esque jailbait/femme fatale. So while the actors have their moments -- Turner is especially good in a sequence in which she coolly tells a series of lies about herself -- we never get invested. Hank is a security guard with no uniform or authority. Marcus is a generically misbehaved punk. The climax is so riddled with logical holes that it generates more annoyance than interest.

Noir is a genre that keeps proving it still has plenty to offer, from the Coen Brothers' Blood Simple and Lawrence Kasdan's Body Heat in the '80s to the more recent L.A. Confidential, Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, No Country for Old Men, and many others. But in Josie, the exercise is too general, slow-moving, and lightly considered to involve viewers deeply or leave them with something to take home. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the things that crime dramas and film noir movies tend to have in common. Which elements of Josie have you seen in other films of this type? Are you familiar with the concept of the "femme fatale"?

  • Were you surprised by the outcome, or was it suggested early on?

  • Are any of the characters role models? Why or why not?

  • How does the movie show teen drinking/substance use? Is it glamorized at all?

Movie details

For kids who love thrills

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