One Direction: This Is Us

Movie review by
Sandie Angulo Chen, Common Sense Media
One Direction: This Is Us Movie Poster Image
Popular with kidsParents recommend
Like 1D, concert docu is clean cut, with tiny bit of edge.
  • PG
  • 2013
  • 92 minutes

Parents say

age 8+
Based on 5 reviews

Kids say

age 8+
Based on 23 reviews

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A lot or a little?

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

Educational Value

Audiences will learn how the band got together via the British talent show The X-Factor, where the guys are all from, and what it's like for them on each international stop of their first global concert tour.

Positive Messages

The guys, who seem as close as siblings, show how important it is to be grateful for success and to realize that without their fans, they'd still be working in bakeries or singing for just their families.

Positive Role Models & Representations

According to the documentary, the guys are all incredibly close mates and are grateful to their fans for turning them into a global pop sensation. They take care of their families -- one scene shows Zayn buying his parents a house -- and seem genuinely surprised by their success and the reach of their fandom.

Violence & Scariness

No violence, although the hordes of excited fangirls who follow 1D can sometimes threaten their personal security.

Sexy Stuff

The guys often hang out backstage shirtless, and in one scene, one of them is shown changing (he's momentarily seen in just his boxer briefs). Several of the band members have visible tattoos, and one of Harry's is shown a few times because it's across his chest. Band members don't discuss their personal romantic relationships, but the language in a couple of their ballads can be overtly romantic and makes references to physical attraction/attributes.


Language includes a couple uses of "ass," plus "what the hell," "bloody," "crap," "damn," "oh my God," and "mental."


The British boy band is itself the "product" of the film, and it serves as a powerful promotional tool for their unbelievably popular act. The movie capitalizes on the band's origins and popularity, as well as how much social media and young female fandom is responsible for making them so famous. Producer Simon Cowell and his brainchild The X-Factor are also prominently featured.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that One Direction: This Is Us follows the international concert tour of Britain's most popular boy band since the Beatles. The documentary, directed by Academy Award nominee Morgan Spurlock, chronicles how Niall, Zayn, Liam, Harry, and Louis went from being a bunch of humble British/Irish boys who could sing to becoming a near-overnight sensation -- first in the United Kingdom and then the world. There's some mild language (including a couple of uses of "ass"), several glimpses of the One Direction guys shirtless (including camera shots of their tattoos), and some romantic song lyrics. Fans -- particularly tween/teen girls -- will want to see this on the big screen.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent of a 10-year-old Written bymollysmom704 August 30, 2013

Boys will always be Boys

I wasn't expecting much when I took my 10 year old daughter to see this but I was very pleasantly surprised. My daughter was in heaven and wanted to get o... Continue reading
Parent of a 13, 15, and 16-year-old Written byNervousParentOf3Boys April 5, 2015

10 and up. there's not that much swearing.

My boys saw this before. I'd say it was for tween girls, but it was good
Teen, 15 years old Written byAledirectioner November 2, 2013

One direction

This is us is only for Directioners carrots are not allowed I love one direction they are so down to earth and they are just Awsome boys and yeah but yet the bo... Continue reading
Teen, 16 years old Written bydancegirl3697 September 15, 2013


Yes, Im a hardcore Directioner and i am PROUD!!!!! This movie is absolutely incredible. I took my mom to see it and she even loved it and had much more respect... Continue reading

What's the story?

Oscar-nominated director Morgan Spurlock (Super Size Me) helms ONE DIRECTION: THIS IS US, a 3D concert documentary that shows the 1D guys -- Niall Horan, Zayn Malik, Liam Payne, Harry Styles, and Louis Tomlinson -- on their first big international concert tour. In between on-stage sets of 1D performing everywhere from Madison Square Garden to Japan, Germany, France, Spain, Scandinavia, and back home at London's O2 Arena, the film chronicles their rise to superstardom -- from their middle-class beginnings to the fateful day producer Simon Cowell put them together on the British talent show The X Factor.

Is it any good?

As Zayn admits in one scene, yeah, One Direction "is a boy band, but it's a cool boy band." The five guys don't try to deny that they were completely manufactured by the music and marketing genius that is Cowell, but they also stand by their actual vocal talents. They're not just good-looking blokes Cowell saw walking down the street: They were already on a talent show, proving they could actually sing. And the guys, seemingly humbled by their remarkable near-overnight success, also acknowledge that they aren't amazing dancers (like Usher and Justin Bieber) or prolific songwriters (like Harry's ex, Taylor Swift).

What One Direction is good at is harmonizing and making even the youngest of fans (usually girls) squeal with excitement ... like that other English boy band that started out singing pop ditties. The mates are ridiculously charming, and, despite their tattoos, are clean cut enough to be even a single-digit-aged girl's first celebrity crush. Although the film does explore the guys' home lives, there aren't any huge emotional revelations like in Katy Perry's film. Sure, there's much more to these guys than what's included here (for example, Zayn recently got engaged), but for a starter look at how they went from singing in their showers to selling out stadium arenas, This Is Us is as catchy and surface-cute as the band's songs.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about One Direction's meteoric rise. Do you think concert documentaries should be reserved for artists with years in the business, or does it make sense to capitalize on popularity right away?

  • Why is One Direction's music so appealing to even very young kids (especially girls)? How do they compare to other acts with tween appeal -- like the Jonas Brothers, Taylor Swift, and Katy Perry?

  • Do you think the documentary offers a balanced look at the band members' personal lives and their professional lives? What were you surprised they included? What about 1D do you wish you had learned more about?

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love music and documentaries

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