Movie review by
Michael Ordona, Common Sense Media
Kin Movie Poster Image
Thriller about brothers has realistic violence, language.
  • PG-13
  • 2018
  • 102 minutes

Parents say

age 16+
Based on 16 reviews

Kids say

age 14+
Based on 6 reviews

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We think this movie stands out for:

A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

Themes include strength of family ties, even when they're unconventional; fidelity to a handed-down code of honor, even in difficult times; courage; cooperation.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Eli comes into his own during the story, standing up for what he believes to be right after making mistakes and making his own decisions. The main "family" characters (including a stripper with a heart of gold) all have their flaws and foibles, but each is loving in his/her core. Diverse cast.


Violence is mostly bloodless, comes in spurts. It has emotional weight, so is sometimes more intense than in movies with higher body counts. One character gets beaten up a few times, receiving kicks, punches from several attackers. A couple of fatal shoot-outs, including an assault that kills several police. Real-feeling peril to a teen throughout. The aftermath of violence is shown (dead bodies), without gore. Scars from long-ago child abuse are shown and discussed.


Scantily clad women in a strip club. A main character is an exotic dancer.


"S--t" is used frequently. Words used less often include "bitch," "ass," "a--hole," "hell," and "f---ing." "Oh my God" as an exclamation.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Adults drink in a strip club and at a poker game. One character is shown passed out with a bottle in his hand. A glimpse of what may be drug processing in a kitchen.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Kin is a sometimes violent road movie/action thriller with sci-fi elements and messages about family ties, honor, courage, and cooperation. It follows an adopted teen (Myles Truitt) and his older, ex-con brother (Jack Reynor), who are crossing the country with bad guys on their tail and a mysterious weapon in their possession. Expect occasional bursts of violence, including some beatings and shoot-outs. It's largely bloodless, though there's a siege-style scene and lots of peril for the teen; the violent scenes have real emotional weight, which can make them feel more intense. Expect strong language throughout, especially "s--t," with single uses of words including "f---ing." Adult characters drink, and strip club scenes include scantily clad women; one main character is an exotic dancer. Zoë Kravitz, James Franco, and Dennis Quaid co-star.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byMMPost September 14, 2018

Not As Advertised

Based on the previews and reviews, I had the sense that this was a young-adult sci-fi action flick a la Ready Player One. I took my boys (11 & 13) to se... Continue reading
Parent of a 12 and 15-year-old Written byJason J. September 7, 2018

How is it not an R rating?!

Rating system must have slipped quite a bit in the past few years. Lots of cursing, including the F word and God’s name thrown around, as well as almost 10 minu... Continue reading
Kid, 11 years old February 7, 2021

Good Film For Older And Mature Tweens

It's a good film but one f the main characters brings his 13 year old brother to a strip club, and the scene lasts like 10 minutes, also one of the main ch... Continue reading
Teen, 17 years old Written byPierre1 November 26, 2020


Terrible movie, its like a low budget film where they add a whole bunch of unnecessary swearing, and inappropriate scenes to make up for the lack of plot. Plent... Continue reading

What's the story?

In KIN, troubled 14-year-old adoptee Eli (Myles Truitt) comes across a futuristic device in an abandoned building. His older, ex-con brother, Jimmy (Jack Reynor), suddenly takes Eli on a cross-country road trip without telling him about bad things that have just happened -- or the danger they're in. As the brothers bond and are joined by an exotic dancer named Milly (Zoë Kravitz), bad guys (led by James Franco) pursue them, and Eli learns to use the mysterious device.

Is it any good?

This is a genre-blending, expectation-defying brother-bonding road movie/action thriller with sci-fi elements -- and it all works somehow. Kin, the promising feature debut from brothers/directors Jonathan and Josh Baker (based on their short, Bag Man) feels like a low-key indie about a struggling kid and his screw-up brother finally getting to know each other amid some pretty scary peril. Then there's this otherworldly weapon thrown into the mix, and we're in sort of Stranger Things territory (producer Shawn Levy is also an executive producer on that show). A lot could go wrong, especially with a newcomer in the lead, but the Bakers' grounded direction and the strong performances make it an unusual, fun experience. The indie sensibility includes effectively creating atmosphere and tension without relying on visual effects or rapid cutting. There are no startle attempts, and no one jumps out of cupboards. The few action sequences are much more effective than most because we're immersed in the brothers' reality.

Truitt and rising star Reynor (Sing Street) make a natural pair. Reynor's sly, lovable-loser charm shines as a character who makes some very bad decisions. All of the main characters are flawed but somehow form a believable familial bond anyway. The slam-bang finale is well staged and exciting, spinning the story forward intriguingly. Kin may disappoint those looking for a sci-fi thrill ride, but its focus on characters and relationships makes its action and story all the more effective. Unlike so many failed, cynical-feeling attempts at franchise starters out there, Kin actually deserves a sequel.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the peril and violence in Kin. What made it effective? How does the realistic nature of the thrills/danger affect its impact?

  • What would you say the movie's underlying themes are? How is the title significant? What role does courage play in the story?

  • Which characters do you consider role models? Why?

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love sci-fi and action

Character Strengths

Find more movies that help kids build character.

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