A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Art and creativity provide a sense of self-worth and self-esteem.
Positive Role Models
Characters too archetypal/stereotypical to be considered positive role models.
Violence & Scariness
Pimp physically and verbally abuses prostitute in front of a gas station. Teens bully a disabled teen -- punching, shoving, and verbally taunting him. Baseball bats are pulled and threatened to be used on a pimp and two underage teens who try to buy cigarettes at a truck stop. A teen girl who works as a prostitute implies that she was sexually abused by her stepfather. Gun violence, character killed. Antagonist pulls shotgun on two truck stop employees while outside acting as if he's under the influence of drugs.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Violence & Scariness in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Sex, Romance & Nudity
The female lead plays a teen prostitute working in front of a truck stop. She's shown getting into trucks, no sex or nudity shown. During a scene in a hotel room, she starts to get on her knees and undo a man's pants in an attempt at oral sex, but then stops when she realizes what she's doing. Antagonist pulls down his pants and "moons" two truck stop workers. Women at a bar talk about sex.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Sex, Romance & Nudity in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Frequent profanity, including regular use of "f--k" and variations. "S--t," "p---sy," "asses," "retard."
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Language in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Products & Purchases
Budweiser, Pabst Blue Ribbon, and Coca-Cola cans or bottles prominently shown.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Beer drinking. Cigarette smoking. Reference made to acid. The lead antagonist, a pimp, often acts stoned or drunk, speaking in an incoherent manner, stumbling around, yelling "yahoo!" for no discernible reason, pulling a shotgun at a truck stop, mooning the employees of a truck stop.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Drinking, Drugs & Smoking in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Safelight is a 2015 indie-drama in which a disabled teen boy finds self-worth and escape through photography when he meets a teen prostitute who encourages him. Prostitution, sexual abuse, bullying, teen runaways, abandonment from a parent, sibling death, and parent death comprise much of the subject matter of this movie. A pimp is physically and verbally abusive to a prostitute outside a truck stop; this pimp often acts stoned or drunk even though he's only shown drinking beer. Frequent profanity, including regular use of "f--k." Bullies call the disabled teen "retarded." Cigarette smoking. During a scene in a hotel room, a prostitute starts to get on her knees and undo a man's pants in an attempt at oral sex, but then stops. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
While there's an undeniable earnestness and appeal to this film, there are also some problems. For starters, the story in Safelight itself is an indie staple that has been done to death: The damaged and apprehensive male who is shown how to live life to the fullest by a free-spirited female who knows the ropes. We see desperation, heartache, and yearning for escape in small-town America. Everything slows down to give the actors and the story room to breathe; everything but the obligatory Zach Braff-esque indie-rock soundtrack to heighten the moments of connection.
And then the stock characters. The sassy truck stop cashier who can put a flirty trucker in his place with a playfully caustic one-liner that also masks the hurt of multiple heartbreaks and divorce. The rural white pimp who walks around shirtless and tatted, screaming "yahoo!" like a maniac for no discernible reason, abusive one moment then affectionate the next. The proverbial "hooker with the heart of gold." Put all this into a mix in which "the 1970s" is only conveyed by characters saying the decade aloud and a gas pump that reads "leaded," subplots that meander before fizzling out, and an amateurish production overall, and you have a well-intentioned but mediocre movie.
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.