A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Film attempts to make political point about restrictions on freedom of speech, but the fact that it was freely made undermines that point. Viewers may be inspired to learn more about the First Amendment and the Constitution and what they promise. Stories are carefully couched to make them sound especially outrageous -- if parents watch with teens, they may want to learn more about the free speech incidents detailed in the movie.
Positive Role Models
Short vignettes show pieces of Carolla's and Prager's backgrounds, but it's hard to know what to make of scenes of (Jewish) Prager singing cantor songs in a bugged hotel room in the USSR or Carolla's pre-pubescent red-pilling at the hands of a welfare cheat mom. Liberals are mocked as "social justice warriors": "Heroes who think that they're victims!"
Violence & Scariness
Long segments show violent protests: people being pushed, breaking window glass, setting objects on fire, screaming, holding signs, running through streets while pursued by police officers in riot gear. Historical images and illustrations show atrocities like a pile of dead bodies at a prison camp, a guillotine with someone holding up a severed head. A person makes a joke about someone killing themselves to escape bad singing.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Clips from an old Carolla-hosted TV show include women in skimpy costumes fanning Carolla as he reclines in a throne.
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Someone is called a "fascist," and another person refers to getting his "ass kicked" for his beliefs.
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Prager smokes cigars theatrically and prominently in more than one scene.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that No Safe Spaces is a documentary about the supposed restrictions on free speech in modern America, particularly on college campuses. The film -- which is hosted by libertarian-leaning comic Adam Carolla and conservative talk show host Dennis Prager -- puts an unapologetically conservative spin on the issues it covers. The material is too mature for younger kids, since it requires some grasp of nuance to understand how the film carefully curates facts and experiences to present a particular point of view. Many scenes show violent protests, with police officers pushing protestors and protestors screaming, holding angry signs, breaking glass, and setting things on fire. Historical images and illustrations show a head severed in a guillotine and piles of bodies at a prison camp. One scene briefly shows women in skimpy costumes fanning Carolla as he sits on a throne. Language is very infrequent: "Ass" is the only curse word, and "fascist!" is about the extent of the hate speech. In more than one scene, Prager theatrically smokes a cigar. Viewers may be inspired to learn more about the First Amendment and the Constitution after watching. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
Though this film tries to make the case that free speech suppression is one of the most important issues facing our country today, ultimately it's long-winded, obnoxious, and unconvincing. The crux of No Safe Spaces' logical hole is that although Carolla and Prager work really hard to convince us that curtailing free speech is tantamount to fascism, they're making their points on a stage, to an audience, with microphones -- freely. If free speech is truly in such terrible danger, where are the protestors and police to stop this not-so-dynamic duo?
The filmmakers further attempt to prove their points by interviewing people whose experiences have been free-speech flashpoints: right-wing poster boy Ben Shapiro, attorney Alan Dershowitz, and Evergreen State University professor Bret Weinstein. But, again, as the interviewees expound, again, quite freely on what happened to them and why it matters, it's increasingly difficult to buy their victimhood. As an animated satire of Schoolhouse Rock's "I'm Just a Bill" says during No Safe Spaces, "You sure have to be careful what you say nowadays, or people will get offended!" Well, yeah. That First Amendment that Prager and Carolla seem to admire so much says nothing about offense. It promises that Congress will make no law abridging free speech -- not that speaking your mind won't earn you blowback. So while No Safe Spaces may feel comforting to some who feel vaguely victimized but aren't sure why, it's unlikely to win converts to its cause -- which was surely the whole point.
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.