Savages

Movie review by
Jeffrey M. Anderson, Common Sense Media
Savages Movie Poster Image
Oliver Stone thriller is all about sex, drugs, violence.
  • R
  • 2012
  • 129 minutes

Parents say

age 18+
Based on 7 reviews

Kids say

age 17+
Based on 10 reviews

A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

Characters work together to solve a problem, but at the same time, their behavior is hugely destructive and unhealthy.

Positive Role Models & Representations

One of the characters, Ben, occasionally dabbles in humanitarian aid, working toward clean energy and water for African nations. But he's also a drug dealer and user and engages in destructive and unhealthy behavior.

Violence

Strong, brutal violence, with lots of blood and shooting. Viewers see severed heads and spattering brains. Two girls are kidnapped and treated roughly. Implied sexual assault. A man is tortured and burned alive. Lots of fighting and punching and exploding cars. Several characters die.

Sex

The lead female sleeps with the two leading men alternately and claims to love them both. There are two graphic sex scenes, but neither has much nudity. A minor female character appears naked (full frontal) in one scene.

Language

"F--k" is used frequently. Also "s--t," "God," "ass," "a--hole," "damn," "goddamn," "t-ts," "d--k," and derogatory language like "f----t," "Jap," and "sand n--ger."

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

The main characters are drug dealers (pot) and drug users, so the whole story revolves around drugs. Characters are seen smoking pot and getting high in several scenes. Characters also drink beer and harder alcohol and are seen smoking cigarettes.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Savages (from director Oliver Stone) is about two drug dealers who share the same girlfriend (Gossip Girl's Blake Lively) and must rescue her after she's kidnapped by a powerful cartel. There are strong sex scenes, one scene of full-frontal nudity by a minor female character, and lots of pot smoking, as well as some drinking and cigarette smoking. You can also expect graphic violence, including women being kidnapped and held prisoner (with sexual assault implied), guns and shooting, lots of blood, severed heads, brains blown out, exploding cars, a man being tortured and burned alive, and many dead bodies. Language is also strong, with uses of "f--k" and other words throughout.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written bychristian2011 January 19, 2014

The title definitely lives by the brutal graphic content, also interpreting drug usage and sex.

Savages is about two easy going, anonymous, laid-back pot dealers who each love and share a woman (also known as the sex taboo subject polygamy), lives their li... Continue reading
Adult Written byrsf2view February 8, 2013

For adults only!

This is an awesome movie, but it's definitely not for kids. It's extremely brutal and graphic, and there's quite a lot of profanity. Do not, I re... Continue reading
Kid, 12 years old August 15, 2012

All about drugs

Blake lively lOoks good though
Kid, 10 years old November 17, 2012

Should have been a LOT better.,

This was not a great movie. It could have been a great movie, but it was let down in two major ways. First off, two of the three lead characters are awful. Bl... Continue reading

What's the story?

In SAVAGES, O (Blake Lively) narrates the story of her love affair with two Laguna Beach pot-growers: the Zenlike, laid-back Ben (Aaron Johnson), and the hard, ex-military Chon (Taylor Kitsch). A large drug cartel offers to buy their operation, but Ben and Chon refuse. Unfortunately, this results in O being kidnapped. Ben and Chon draw on all their knowledge and friends, including a crooked DEA agent (John Travolta), to rescue her. Unfortunately, they're dealing with the extremely dangerous drug empress Elena (Salma Hayek) and her homicidal henchman, Lado (Benicio Del Toro). It's going to take everything they've got to survive the final showdown.

Is it any good?

This Savages is a snooze. Oliver Stone's movies were once incendiary and had the power to get people talking about strong issues. For example, Natural Born Killers used a pulp story to say something about the callousness of media. Now Stone has made an ordinary pulp movie with very little to say, and he seems rather bored with pulp for pulp's sake. He sometimes adjusts the movie's color scheme to make things look sun-baked yellow or tropical fishtank rainbow, but otherwise he's asleep at the controls.

Moreover, the Ben and Chon characters are too one-dimensional and too stuck by their character limitations to be compelling; they bend and change according to the whims of the plot. When they're onscreen, the movie just evaporates. Thankfully, Travolta, Hayek, and Del Toro bring some infectious bravado to their supporting roles. They recall the kind of savagery that Stone used to have but doesn't seem to have anymore.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about Savages' strong violence. Is it necessary to the story? How does the impact of this kind of violence compare to what you see in horror and action movies?

  • How does the movie portray sex and relationships? Can O really love both of them equally? Can they both love her equally and not feel jealous?

  • Can Ben be considered a role model? Does his helping others help erase the destructive, illegal, and immoral things he does?

Movie details

For kids who love thrills

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