Red Sparrow

Movie review by
Jeffrey M. Anderson, Common Sense Media
Red Sparrow Movie Poster Image
Graphic violence, sex in dull Jennifer Lawrence thriller.
  • R
  • 2018
  • 139 minutes

Parents say

age 17+
Based on 29 reviews

Kids say

age 16+
Based on 9 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 movie's ultimate message centers on a woman becoming a victim and then eventually taking revenge.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Though the main character is a strong woman, she's also forced into less-than-ideal circumstances by both bad luck and need. She takes control of several situations, but her ultimate solution is one of vengeance and violence.


Extreme violence. Tons of guns and shooting; characters shot and killed. More than once, a man attempts to rape a woman but is stopped. Blood and gore. Beating and punching. Main female character punched and beaten. Gruesome dead bodies. A man is tortured, with his skin sliced off in strips. A woman receives vicious water torture. Man choked with a cord. Knife fight. Character hit and killed by a truck. Gruesome broken leg, gory operating sequence.


Graphic sex scenes. Women, including the main character, are shown topless; also full-frontal male nudity. Woman in skimpy black underwear. A woman's underwear is ripped off; naked thighs shown. Quick images of "porn" videos (kissing feet, tied up, etc.). Suggested sexual acts. Strong sexual innuendo and sex talk. Kissing. Disturbing kiss between a man and woman who are related by blood. A man cheats on his wife.


Several uses of "f--k" plus "s--t," "p---y," "c--k," "c--t," "pr--k," "bitch," "whore," "hell," "ass," "Jesus Christ," and "oh God."

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

A secondary character is staggering drunk. Main characters smoke cigarettes, drink socially.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Red Sparrow is an overlong thriller starring The Hunger Games' Jennifer Lawrence as a Russian intelligence officer who seduces enemies of the state. This one definitely isn't for kids or young teens: It's full of graphic, bloody violence, including attempted rape, killing, gruesome dead bodies, fighting and beating, and disturbing torture scenes. Sexual content is also mature, with graphic sex scenes, topless women, and full-frontal male nudity, as well as lots of sex talk and innuendo. Language isn't frequent but is quite strong, with uses of "f--k," "s--t," "p---y," and more. Most of the characters smoke and drink socially, and one is shown staggeringly drunk.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent of a 9-year-old Written byshellie C. March 6, 2018

XXX....and beyond! IT is "soft" porn!

I should have waited for all the reviews to come out before heading to the theater! Usually I don't see movies right when they come out! I took a risk and... Continue reading
Adult Written byNick G. March 3, 2018

Scarred forever...

For someone who was raised to always look at ratings, this one showed a clear lack of judgement. The MA+ is a load of bull crap. You should be way over 15 to vi... Continue reading
Teen, 17 years old Written bytheodora.moore March 11, 2018

Okay, yes it has nudity and sex, but that's not what it's ABOUT

Alright, I understand the parental reviews because, yes, there was quite a bit of nudity and sex in the film. There was a scene with an (unaroused) man full fro... Continue reading
Teen, 17 years old Written byFantastagurl February 9, 2020


spy movies are supposed to be captivating and thrilling. This was pure disappointment. It was very long and boring, with one occasional smart thing. Also, this... Continue reading

What's the story?

In RED SPARROW, Dominika Egorova (Jennifer Lawrence) is a star dancer with the Bolshoi Ballet. The company pays for the care for her ailing mother, Nina (Joely Richardson), and for their generous apartment, but when Dominika is injured in a gruesome onstage accident, those perks are suddenly in jeopardy. Dominika's uncle, Vanya Egorov (Matthias Schoenaerts), offers her a chance to become a Sparrow: a secret agent who preys on the desires of political targets. If she agrees, she can continue to care for her mother. So she's sent to a training facility led by a harsh matron (Charlotte Rampling) to learn the ways of seduction. She's then assigned to an American agent, Nate Nash (Joel Edgerton), who's been working with an unknown Russian mole. As things get more complicated and deadly, Nate and Dominika could be falling in love.

Is it any good?

Jennifer Lawrence re-teams with her Hunger Games director for this more grown-up attempt at a complex, sexy thriller, but the result is airless, mopey, and dull. Lawrence gets to try on a finely tuned Russian accent, as well as many gorgeous costume, makeup, and hairstyle changes, but although she tries her best, the character never really comes to life. The story is based on a novel by Jason Matthews, and it's structured adequately; Red Sparrow looks and sounds good, but it just fails to find a spark -- and it's far too chilly to be sexy.

It also never generates much suspense; it moves sluggishly and gets more and more tiresome as it trudges through its 139 loooong minutes. Director Francis Lawrence brought this same quality to his massively popular Hunger Games movies -- he helmed the final three in the series of four -- and their brooding quality appealed to teens. But this attempt an an edgier thriller still feels juvenile as it dabbles in excessive amounts of sex and bloodshed; its attempt at stoicism just feels like boredom. Try as it may to unveil twists and surprises, Red Sparrow remains routine -- it only manages to emphasize the "cold" in Cold War.

Talk to your kids about ...

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love spy thrillers

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