School of Rock

Movie review by
Nell Minow, Common Sense Media
School of Rock Movie Poster Image
Parents recommendPopular with kids
Standout Jack Black in nerds-become-cool comedy.
  • PG-13
  • 2003
  • 108 minutes

Parents say

age 10+
Based on 33 reviews

Kids say

age 9+
Based on 131 reviews

We think this movie stands out for:

A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

Hard work, practice, and dedication are a huge part of any success. It's important for kids to follow their dreams and to apply their talents to their fullest potential. An emphasis on finding your passion and giving it your all. Also, in a comedic manner, the roles of different instruments are discussed, and the film does touch on the work and practice required to be in a successful band. Dewey gives a body-positive pep talk to a girl who's feeling embarrassed about her weight.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Dewey starts out as a slacker and misleads others for his own gain. But as the movie progresses, he finds real joy in working with kids and finds ways to be supportive and inspiring to them, and he's ultimately selfless. Characters learn and demonstrate self-control, perseverance, and teamwork.

Violence

Early in the film, a character dives off a stage. No one catches him and he lands on his face. 

Sex

Nothing at all, though one girl says groupies are "sluts."

Language

Occasional profanity: "ass," "s--t," "pissed." A 10-year-old uses the word "stupid-ass." Early in the film, the main character uses an obscene gesture, sort of. A child talks about "sluts" briefly.

 

Consumerism

Band stickers are pretty much everywhere.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

As some of the film is set in rock clubs, characters hold beers and cigarettes. During one scene, Dewey has a beer with the principal of the school. The principal starts to act tipsy, but that could just as easily be the effect the Stevie Nicks song on the jukebox has on her. 
 

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that School of Rock is as much a vehicle for Jack Black to make rock 'n' roll faces while playing guitar as it is hilarious fun for musicians and music fans of all ages -- even younger than the PG-13 rating would suggest. There is occasional profanity -- some of it spoken by 10-year-olds -- and Black's character freely discusses his hangovers with the class he's teaching. There are brief shots of adult characters drinking and smoking (this is about playing rock 'n' roll, after all), but nothing terribly gratuitous. Beyond this, School of Rock is an enjoyable way for kids to learn about music, and for families to talk about the amount of work and personal satisfaction that results in starting a band. Furthermore, the film addresses body issues in a positive way when one of the girls in class is afraid to sing because she thinks she's "too fat." 

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User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byerinmidwife December 29, 2018

contains sexist and sexually explicit content

This movie is more for adults than it is for kids, and it's not even entertaining. Maybe if you like butt rock. But there IS sexually explicit language des... Continue reading
Adult Written byANnoynomuss December 7, 2018

Yes!

Saw this musical. Definitely amazing but if profanity is a problem in your family this is not of you. Frequent uses of ass hell shut up and bitch. Little to no... Continue reading
Teen, 16 years old Written byNerdytomboyishgirl June 14, 2020

It’s amazing

This movie is amazing, but it has swear words and drinking. I love the songs and I like the talented students in the film. I would recommend it for 10 and over.
Kid, 10 years old May 31, 2020

great, though there's swearing, drinking, innuedo

really great film!
LANGUAGE: "ass", "slut", "stupid-ass" "hell".
DRINKING/SMOKING/DRUGS: a rock band smokes. Dewey is i... Continue reading

What's the story?

In SCHOOL OF ROCK, Jack Black plays Dewey Finn, a musician who doesn't just live for rock -- he barely acknowledges that there is anything else. Like the music he loves, Dewey is loud, immature, messy, self-absorbed, passionate, incapable of complying with any authority, rule, or attempt at civilization, and just about irresistible. So he is astonished when he is fired by his band. And when his best friend Ned (screenwriter Mike White), a former rocker-turned-substitute teacher, says he will have to move out if he does not start paying rent. When Dewey intercepts a call from Principal Mullins (Joan Cusack) offering Ned a substitute teacher position for fifth graders at a posh prep school, he accepts and shows up pretending to be Ned. The kids and Dewey learn something new through the experience.

Is it any good?

If there was ever someone born to portray the true spirit of rock 'n' roll, it's Jack Black. That is what School of Rock needed, and that is just what he does.

This is by far the most accessible and conventional film from director Richard Linklater (Waking Life, Dazed and Confused) and White (Chuck and Buck, The Good Girl), neither of whom are known for heartwarming, feel-good movies. But that is what this is, a sort of To Sir With Love crossed with This is Spinal Tap. Black is enormously entertaining and the kids are terrific.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how much Dewey loves rock 'n' roll in School of Rock. Why is it so important to him? What does it allow him to express? 

  • How does School of Rock compare with other movies you've seen about starting or performing in a band? 

  • What's the most important thing Dewey learns from the kids, and what is the most important thing they learn from him?

  • How do the characters in School of Rock demonstrate self-control, perseverance, and teamwork? Why are these important character strengths?

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love music for teens

Character Strengths

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