Parents' Guide to


By Sandie Angulo Chen, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 16+

Poignant, mature indie drama about a teen and his sneakers.

Movie R 2016 80 minutes
Kicks Poster Image

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Is It Any Good?

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Parents say: Not yet rated
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This lyrical, raw drama is ambitiously directed, impressively performed, and -- despite a lot of style -- still has quite a bit of heartbreaking, thought-provoking substance. Guillory gives an evocative, nuanced performance, with his beautiful puffy hair practically deserving its own credit. He's balanced by his two best friends, both of whom follow him into dangerous waters even though they don't think he should risk it. Wallace (son of the late Notorious B.I.G. and R&B singer Faith Evans) is particularly funny as the girl-obsessed Albert, who talks about women like he's experienced, even though his friends swear he's barely even kissed a girl. Meyer is also believable as the real player of the crew, a handsome, charismatic athlete who's uninterested in participating in street violence -- but still has his friend's back.

It's not easy to sit through Kicks, especially if you're an adult who wants to shake these kids and say "they're just sneakers!" But when Brandon's middle-aged drug-dealer uncle says just that, Brandon replies: "They're not sneakers, they're Js." Considering that Brandon wears his mom's bathroom slippers on his journey to Oakland, it's no wonder the kid isn't going to let the Js go. Director Justin Tipping even manages to humanize Brandon's attacker, Flaco, who's given the sneakers to someone he loves. In the end, it's that love -- plus Brandon's plucky determination -- that saves the day.

Movie Details

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