She Made Them Do It

Movie review by
Tracy Moore, Common Sense Media
She Made Them Do It Movie Poster Image
Tawdry dramatization of real-life double murder.
  • NR
  • 2013
  • 90 minutes

Parents say

age 15+
Based on 1 review

Kids say

age 13+
Based on 1 review

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A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

Loyalty; education, even during imprisonment; believing in people even when they make mistakes.

Positive Role Models & Representations

The protagonist is portrayed as both manipulative and guilty but possibly innocent. Several supporting characters trust that she's innocent and risk their own safety and freedom to hide her but also are portrayed as being roped in by her manipulations. As a result, nearly every character is a mixture of well-intentioned and naive, or simply self-serving, to one degree or another. 


Someone shoots a man and a woman with a shotgun; they struggle, bleed profusely, and die. Several reenactments of the murders from different imagined perpetrators, the bloody crime scene, the bodies being disposed of. A woman nearly dies of an allergic reaction or poisoning.



A man and woman kiss against a wall; her underwear drops to the floor. Numerous scenes of implied intercourse throughout; a woman in a bra straddles a man as they kiss; discussion of birth control and using a condom before a woman agrees to sex; the unzipping of a man's pants; a man meets a prostitute at a hotel, where they kiss and are shown in bed together; two women dance seductively together, half-dressed. Two women kiss, implying a secret lesbian relationship.


"Dammit," "douche bag," "crap," "eat me," "bitch," "ass."

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Man snorts cocaine off coffee table; man and woman sell marijuana at a party; party attendants drink out of red cups; people drink beers at a house party; a man lights a joint; casual cigarette smoking; prison inmates drink a mixture of coffee, "dihexadryl" (antihistamine), and sugar; women smuggle antihistamine pills into prison and sell them to other inmates.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that She Made Them Do It is a Lifetime movie about the true story of Sarah Jo Pender, a woman convicted of double murder who escaped from prison, was caught and returned, and proclaims her innocence to this day. It features multiple graphic reenactments of the murders, drug dealing, numerous scenes of implied intercourse, and mature themes and ultimately implies that Pender is a sociopath who orchestrated everything. There also is some minor profanity ("bitch," "damn") and smoking and drinking. Teens may be interested, since Jenna Dewan is the star.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byPCDberry June 18, 2015

She made them do it… extremely gory

In this film it shows a character shooting 2 people 1 time in the chest and the girl 1 times 1 in the breast and the other in the head the girls death is very g... Continue reading
Teen, 15 years old Written bybhadb August 4, 2018

Good movie

Real life example but drugs are involved

What's the story?

Sarah Jo Pender (Jenna Dewan) has been convicted of double murder but insists on her innocence. After exhausting her options for appeals, and with the help of a security guard, her present and former fellow inmates, her father, and an unlikely ally, she plots her escape while continuing to proclaim her innocence.

Is it any good?

SHE MADE THEM DO IT tries to have it both ways, and it ends up a muddled mess. Pender is a gifted manipulator of others who excels at playing victim; no, she's an innocent who got mixed up with the wrong crowd and made some bad choices.

Though movies like this make no attempt to educate or inform, they may do worse by deliberately misleading our understanding of the crimes committed where the victims' own innocence is in question. In news reports of the case, Pender was a secretary, not a drug dealer as the film depicts; the letter used to convict her was never found with her fingerprints, which is omitted in the film, and the crime scene never returned any of Pender's DNA, another fact left out in the movie. What's left, then, is a tawdry, sexed-up dramatization of a vixen who alternates between innocent and deviant; graphic reenactments of the murders in question; some Cinemax-style implied intercourse; and the lingering sense that justice likely will never be served here, nor will we gain much insight into the criminal mind. Not appropriate for young kids and, at best, a study in the sensationalist true-crime biopic for teens.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the film's portrayal of Sarah Jo Pender. Do the filmmakers depict as her a believable person? Why, or why not?

  • Can we count on movies such as this one to tell accurate accounts of the crimes they portray? Why, or why not? 

  • Do you think crime dramatizations are helpful or harmful to society? Why? What about when the offenders' or victims' families are still alive? How could films such as this one be more helpful in understanding crime or helping those wrongfully imprisoned? 

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love dramas

Themes & Topics

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