Parents' Guide to


By S. Jhoanna Robledo, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 17+

Gritty, affecting rapper biopic is too intense for kids.

Movie R 2009 100 minutes
Notorious Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

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

Community Reviews

age 13+

Based on 4 parent reviews

age 18+

age 16+

very good movie

i loved this movie it showed biggies life but what got me angry is that they should have told the real story most of the movie is real but the part where biggie says that he didn't kill 2pac that is nothing but a bullshi* theres proof that he did it biggies guys killed 2pac and 2pacs gusy killed biggie thats the truth 16 and over nudity and violence and language

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (4 ):
Kids say (6 ):

Rapper, son, father, lover, and poet, Biggie was a complicated man; NOTORIOUS does its best to render him fully, and it almost succeeds. There are lots of fascinating details (for instance, that young Christopher changed clothes on the roof of his building so that Voletta wouldn't wonder where he was getting the money to buy expensive name brands) and tons of drama (the implosion of Biggie's friendship with Tupac; the love triangle with Lil' Kim and Faith Evans).

Credit is due to the casting director who wisely picked Woolard, a rapper-actor who steps into Biggie's shoes and wears them more than comfortably. His Biggie is finely tuned, and he commands the mic in nearly the same way the rapper once did. The rest of the cast -- Derek Luke as Puffy, Anthony Mackie as Tupac -- also excels. Still, with so much ground to cover, Notorious glosses over moments -- how Biggie put his groundbreaking rhymes together and decided what stayed and went, for one -- on which it should linger. And with so much time spent on his troubles, the reconciliations and triumphs -- his impact on the music scene, for instance -- feel rushed. Nonetheless, Notorious rightly lets Biggie's music take center stage. Every time it comes on, we're reminded of Biggie's notoriety, charm, and genius.

Movie Details

  • In theaters: January 16, 2009
  • On DVD or streaming: April 21, 2009
  • Cast: Angela Bassett , Derek Luke , Jamal Woolard
  • Director: George Tillman Jr.
  • Inclusion Information: Black directors, Female actors, Black actors
  • Studio: Fox Searchlight
  • Genre: Drama
  • Run time: 100 minutes
  • MPAA rating: R
  • MPAA explanation: pervasive language, some strong sexuality including dialogue, nudity, and for drug content.
  • Last updated: December 11, 2023

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