Movie review by
Jeffrey M. Anderson, Common Sense Media
Looper Movie Poster Image
Popular with kids
Smart, exciting sci-fi tale has violence, sex, and drugs.
  • R
  • 2012
  • 118 minutes

Parents say

age 16+
Based on 14 reviews

Kids say

age 14+
Based on 36 reviews

Did this review miss something on diversity?

Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive, diverse representations in books, TV shows, and movies. Want to help us help them? Suggest a diversity update

A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

The main character -- at two different ages -- begins the story by thinking entirely about himself. But by the end, he's learned to put others first. In a secondary theme, the movie asserts that a child will avoid growing up into an angry criminal if he can be raised by a loving parent.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Though the main character eventually does something heroic, he's actually fairly selfish throughout most of the film. Sara, however, is a strong female role model, trying to make up for past mistakes and devoting herself to motherhood.


Plenty of sci-fi/fantasy violence. Just about everyone has a gun, and most characters are shot at some point (in the face, head, heart); many die. Noticeable amounts of blood. In the most shocking sequence (potential spoiler alert!), the older Joe kills a child (off screen), hoping to prevent future disasters. He breaks down and cries afterward. There's a mild suggestion that two other children are in danger. A child throws frightening, supernatural temper tantrums that cause serious harm (in some cases, gorily so). A man's hand is smashed with a hammer. A man is punished via time travel, as parts of his body suddenly disappear (fingers, nose, legs, etc.).


The main character has suggested offscreen sex with a showgirl who seems to double as a call girl or prostitute. Viewers see them after the fact, and she's seen topless for a few moments. In a later scene, the main character has sex with the female lead. She seduces him and kisses him, and he reciprocates. The sex occurs off screen, and the movie cuts to them in bed afterward.


Strong but not constant language includes several uses of "f--k," "a--hole," "ass," "s--t," "hell," "damn," and "p---y." Also, "goddamn," "Jesus Christ," and "oh my God" as exclamations.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

The main character habitually uses a fictitious eye-drop drug. He's shown waking up after a night of partying and needing more drugs. He goes through painful withdrawals in one scene. In a "flashback" to an alternate timeline, he becomes an addict and is shown graduating to harder drugs, something in a needle. One character smokes a cigarette after sex.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Looper is a sci-fi/time travel/action movie with adult material that's handled in an intelligent and sensitive enough way that older teens should be OK. The violence is mostly of the sci-fi/fantasy variety, with many guns and most characters getting shot at some point (some blood). Potential spoiler alert: A child is shot and killed off screen. The main character has suggested sex with two women; one is shown topless, and there's also kissing and groping. Language is strong but infrequent and includes uses of "f--k" and "s--t." Drugs are an issue; the main character is shown to be addicted to fictitious drugs, but his habit grows worse, and he's shown going through painful withdrawals. Characters learn to be less selfish, and there's a strong female lead.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Written byAnonymous May 18, 2020

Absolutely not a kids' movie

I watched this at age 11 with my cousins in the theater. I was scared and left with my aunt. It was because of the bloody violence. Definitely don't recomm... Continue reading
Adult Written byPres March 20, 2020


Boring story line with adult content throughout.
Teen, 16 years old Written bystartrekfordays February 20, 2021

Smart, thrilling, superb sci-fi action film has plenty of time travel mayhem; plus bloody violence, drugs, and sex.

Parents should know that this complex, yet intelligent movie has a good bit of violence, language, drug material, and sexuality/nudity. However, none of the con... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written byFilmreviewer2007 May 2, 2020

Looper review

Looper is a science-fiction movie starring Bruce Willis, Joseph-Gordon-Lewitt and Emily Blunt. These actors have given a fantastic performance. The movie conta... Continue reading

What's the story?

In 2044, Joe (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) is a "looper" -- aka hitman. Whenever gangsters from 30 years further in the future want to get rid of someone, they send the victims back in time, where loopers instantly dispatch them, leaving no record of anything. One day Joe is suddenly faced with the task of killing his own older self (Bruce Willis), who unfortunately escapes. Joe learns that the older Joe wants to kill three kids, one of whom will turn into a vicious gangster in the future. In trouble with his bosses, Joe hides out on a farm, the home of one of the three kids, Cid (Pierce Gagnon). He decides to wait there with Cid's mother, Sara (Emily Blunt), for the inevitable face-off with himself.

Is it any good?

Writer/director Rian Johnson delivers on the promise of his extraordinary debut Brick, with this, his ingenious third film. Looper has an unusual balance of intelligence and thrills, plus visual design and sharp dialogue. It's complex enough that sci-fi fans can dig deeper over multiple viewings, but thrilling enough that casual viewers can take it all in with one watch.

Perhaps the biggest drawback is that actors Gordon-Levitt and Willis don't look much alike, and Gordon-Levitt's makeup doesn't help much. But his performance is exceptional, and eventually the two actors start to seem like their characters, even if they don't look like them. Johnson also adds several little Western touches, including an ineffectual cowboy-like bad guy and an amazing use of wide-open spaces, stillness, and silence -- as well as a tribute to Shane. The characters are dark, but they each go on fulfilling journeys. This is the kind of movie Hollywood doesn't make enough of.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the movie's gun violence. Why are characters obsessed with guns in this movie? Do all the guns and shooting help advance the story?

  • If you met your future self, what would you want to ask?

  • At what point does Joe learn to be less selfish? What made him change his mind?

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love thrills and sci-fi

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

See how we rate

Streaming options powered by JustWatch

About these links

Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization, earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes when you use our links to make a purchase. Thank you for your support.

Read more

Our ratings are based on child development best practices. We display the minimum age for which content is developmentally appropriate. The star rating reflects overall quality.

Learn how we rate