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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Some recurring ideas of forgiveness and love -- and idea that those who have power to judge us in criminal matters aren't necessarily morally superior -- but no clearly positive message.
Positive Role Models
A couple in an interfaith relationship is portrayed positively. That said, the woman's family takes brutal steps to stop it.
Violence & Scariness
Lots of graphic violence, including a shooting rampage and bloody beatings, many of which result in death. A mother strikes her daughter. Suicide is depicted. Attempted prison rape. Sexual coercion is a plot point.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Woman wearing lingerie uses crass sexual terms.
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"F--k" is used often.
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Characters are drug dealers, including characters who are portrayed sympathetically. A character uses meth and inflicts violence on many. Smoking.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Measure for Measure is a contemporary romantic crime drama based on the same-named Shakespeare play. The story revolves around an interfaith couple (Harrison Gilbertson and Megan Hajjar) who fall in love, despite her family's objections. Her brother (Faysall Bazzi), a crime boss, takes brutal steps to ensure that they stop seeing each other. The movie operates in a world of drug kingpins and loan sharks, and the film begins with a shooting spree by someone who gets high on meth. The bloody impact of the bullets he fires is shown on-screen. The explicit violence continues with vicious beatings, a suicide, and other threats, often with guns. "F--k" is the only curse word you'll hear, but it's used a lot. There's also suggested sexual coercion and allusions of prison rape. But when it comes to sex, the film is actually less bawdy than the play. In addition to the on-camera drug use, characters drink and smoke throughout. It diverges significantly from Shakespeare's 17th century play, so it's better viewed as an interesting dramatic sidebar than a way to help interpret the Bard's original comedy. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
As a play, Measure for Measure is complicated, twisty, and bawdy, but in this adaptation, it's just convoluted. In other words: Shakespeare, this is not. Screenwriters often enjoy trying to contemporize the Bard's framework to create works of their own, and that can be fun in films like 10 Things I Hate About You or The Lion King. But here the framing falls apart -- and frankly, it's the only reason to watch it. Certain elements just don't translate well. For instance, in the play, the Duke of Vienna keeps an eye on the city that he's left in the charge of his expected successor. Here, loan shark "Duke" watches all the goings on in his territory through security monitors he set up in a hotel room while he pretends he's on vacation. It's a little hard to believe.
Talk of salvation and God and religious imagery are present everywhere, but that doesn't connect to the interfaith romance at the film's center -- or, for that matter, anything. The big plot twist is muddled, if not impossible. And while Shakespeare makes his message of "measure for measure" clear -- that those who have the power to judge us in criminal matters aren't necessarily morally superior -- that's a harder case to make in a world where the leaders are breaking the law every day.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.
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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