Parents' Guide to

Little Birds

By S. Jhoanna Robledo, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 17+

Teen girls seek respite from bleak life in mature drama.

Movie R 2012 94 minutes
Little Birds Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 17+

Based on 1 parent review

age 17+

A gem! For mature audiences!

I found this movie to be quite good! I love the realism of it because it brings back a few memories when I was a young teen and some situations felt familiar. It centers around two teen girls who seem completely opposite, but are best friends. Lily(Juno Temple) is bold and curious with a wild side and Alison (Kay Panabaker) is quiet, shy and always trying to do what's right. Growing up bored in a town where not much happens, the two long for something more. When Lily meets a skater boy (Kyle Gallner) and his friends who are from LA, she's instantly attracted to him. Alison however, is hesitant but finally comes around. When the boys head back to LA, Lily so desperately wants to follow so Alison decides to pick her up and go on a little road trip where they meet up with the skater gang once again and spend their nights in a run down abandoned shack. Their crazy little adventures start to spiral and while Lily seems to be having fun, Alison feels uncomfortable - like she's in the wrong place at the wrong time and needs to get out fast. It's a very emotional kind of film, it gives hints on what kind of things are going through teens minds. There is a lot of strong violence - pushing, shouting, gun use, assaults, injuries, muggings...etc. Sexual content is heavy though there is no actual sex, there is nudity twice (bare breasts), two teens kiss and almost go all the way, a girl acts as a prostitute to prank predators online and then gun them down later (also a near-rape scene). Language is strong also. There is some drinking & smoking, you see one of the skater guys getting high, also a brief discussion about drugs. NOT for kids!! 17+ is recommended.

This title has:

Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (1):
Kids say (1):

LITTLE BIRDS is achingly beautiful and haunting, a tone poem of bleakness that paints a realistic picture of teenage girls yearning for a way out of their dismal days. Panabaker is remarkable, and Temple even more so, never once hitting a wrong note; their characters brim with angst, fear, hope, rage, and excitement, sometimes all at once. First-time writer-director Elgin James infuses his own real-life gang background into a story that's both disheartening for its matter-of-fact violence and uplifting for its portrayal of two friends who share such similar lives and yet are headed for disparate directions.

And yet both of the main characters, as well as their families (Leslie Mann has a fine turn as Lily's mother, who wants to do right but doesn't always know how), are portrayed with humanity and breathtaking honesty. The film is strongest in its grittier moments and when that grit means tenderness, even if it does give some characters the short shrift. Not that it dilutes the movie's power much. Little Birds soars toward the horizon, and it nearly gets there.

Movie Details

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