Movie review by
Jeffrey M. Anderson, Common Sense Media
Sicario Movie Poster Image
Popular with kidsParents recommend
Violent drug-lord battle is masterful but pessimistic.
  • R
  • 2015
  • 121 minutes

Parents say

age 16+
Based on 7 reviews

Kids say

age 15+
Based on 20 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

Cynically/pessimistically, implies that the only way to deal with evildoers is to adopt their methods. Also advocates bending the rules to achieve a desired end. The main character, a woman, faces some discrimination, but mostly she proves herself a worthy warrior.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Though the movie is very pessimistic, and no clear victory is achieved, it does feature a strong, complex female lead character.


Frequent shooting and killing, with spurts of blood. Gory, decomposing bodies shown (characters vomit from the smell). Explosions. More dead bodies (some nude). Bloody injuries. Implied torture during questioning. Fighting. A woman is punched. Children are killed (off camera). Descriptions of killings in vats of acid. Frequent peril/danger.


Characters kiss and engage in foreplay. Sex is interrupted. No graphic nudity. Brief discussion of sexually transmitted diseases. Main character shown in her bra.


Uses of "f--k," "motherf----r," "bitch," "a--hole," "s--t," "Jesus" (as an exclamation).

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Drug dealers are at the heart of the movie's story. Characters drink beer in a bar. The main character smokes cigarettes and has trouble quitting. A man pours liquor in his coffee.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Sicario is a dramatic thriller about an FBI special task force dedicated to taking out drug lords in Mexico (the title means "hit man" in Spanish). It has a lot of strong, sometimes gruesome violence, with scenes of decomposing corpses, shootings, killings, fighting, bloody wounds, and explosions. A couple kisses and nearly has sex, but they're interrupted; the main female character is also shown in her bra. There's also some sex talk, as well as other strong language ("f--k," "a--hole," etc.). Drugs aren't readily shown, but characters sometimes drink or smoke a bit too much, and drug dealing is at the heart of the story. Though the material is intense and fairly grim, it's a masterful, often exhilarating movie with a complex, strong female lead character (played by Emily Blunt).

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byvxctor_ April 29, 2019

Excellent Film, Dark Topics

Sicario is very action packed, the suspense is nerve recking, and the harsh reality that this films very dark. It tells the dark side of American justice invol... Continue reading
Parent of a 12-year-old Written byMoviereviewsonandmom July 25, 2018
Not letting my 12yr old watch
Teen, 14 years old Written byTom Cruise Fan January 9, 2016

"Sicario" movie review

I just finished watching "Sicario" for the first time and I have to say this is the second best movie of 2015. "Sicario" is an authentic, vi... Continue reading
Kid, 11 years old February 16, 2016

Best Movie In Category but kinda gory

Honestly there is not to much bad parts in this movie except, for the fact that there is some parts for instance this guy attacking the main character, bodies h... Continue reading

What's the story?

In SICARIO, FBI agent Kate Macer (Emily Blunt) and her partner, Reggie (Daniel Kaluuya), raid a house in Arizona, where they discover decomposing bodies hidden in the walls -- as well as hidden explosives; it's the work of powerful Mexican drug cartels. When the mysterious Matt (Josh Brolin) shows up and asks Kate to join a new task force dedicated to bringing the drug lords down, she agrees. And after meeting up with the even more cryptic Alejandro (Benicio Del Toro), she discovers that there's more at stake than she imagined: She's given misinformation -- or no information -- and the task force's missions never seem to be more than arresting or shooting random thugs. As time goes on, Kate realizes that she's only a small cog in a much larger, darker plan.

Is it any good?

Aided by Roger Deakins' glorious cinematography, director Denis Villeneuve delivers an essential movie for our times: brilliant, bold, and unflinchingly pessimistic, but still exhilarating. Using a great first screenplay by actor Taylor Sheridan, Sicario places viewers directly in Kate's shoes; the movie spends long minutes simply watching, observing events without explaining them. It creates a world of tense uncertainty in which our hero could be in danger -- or safe -- at any time.

For such a complex movie, Sicario also manages to be strongly visual, underlining physical spaces -- open, shadowy, unsafe, tight areas -- and frequently noting how small Kate seems compared to her colleagues. It also manages a strong visceral sense of human capabilities and frailties (exhaustion, hunger, etc.), making later scenes even stronger. Given this powerful framework, the actors all deliver exemplary performances, with Del Toro perhaps at the forefront.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about Sicario's violence. Which parts were gruesome, and which were exciting? How did the movie achieve these effects? What's the impact of media violence on kids?

  • The main character seems to use smoking, drinking, and sex as ways to relieve stress. Is this healthy? What are the consequences? Are they realistic?

  • What does the movie have to say about law versus justice? What's the difference between the two? Does the end justify the means?

  • How do you feel about Kate? Is she a role model? What are her flaws or shortcomings?

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love thrills

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