A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Sleight is an unusual mix of urban drama and indie sci-fi story. It's good enough and unique enough that it might appeal to teen viewers as a word-of-mouth hit. But given that the main character is a drug dealer, you can expect plenty of mature content: Drugs (cocaine and ecstasy) are shown and mentioned; characters also drink, smoke pot, and talk about drunken violence. Speaking of violence, there are scenes of a hand being chopped off, plus beating and punching, face-tearing, blood spatters, guns, burns, and other gross stuff. Language includes several uses of "f--k" (in various permutations), "s--t," and more. The main male and female characters flirt and kiss and are shown sleeping in bed together, but sex isn't shown or implied. It's worth noting that, in the end, the movie doesn't glamorize drug dealing; it's shown as a dangerous job to be avoided.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
In SLEIGHT, Bo (Jacob Latimore) is a young L.A. street magician who does amazing card tricks but specializes in making metal objects move and float. After his parents' death, Bo must take care of his younger sister, Tina (Storm Reid); to make ends meet, he sells drugs for Angelo (Dule Hill). Bo meets the pretty Holly (Seychelle Gabriel) while performing a trick on her ring, and they immediately hit it off. Unfortunately, when rival dealers move into their territory, Angelo recruits Bo for a dangerous, violent job. Bo decides to get out, but Angelo catches him cutting the drugs and demands retribution: $45,000 in one week. And to drive home his point, Angelo kidnaps Tina. Can Bo save the day?
Is it any good?
Director by J.D. Dillard brings this under-the-radar drama close to genre cliches but deftly avoids them with his strong characters, fine storytelling, and vivid atmosphere. The performances in Sleight are its strong point, with Latimore creating a sympathetic, kind, and yet believable drug dealer. Gabriel never lets us doubt for a second that she and Bo could have an instant attraction, and Hill is quite scary and effective as a sophisticated drug lord.
Even the marginal characters seem to have inner lives; a next-door neighbor talks about how much she's been studying lately, and a drug lackey talks about his upcoming mix tape. The physical space feels alive and used in ways that support the story, and the magic tricks seem truly magical, not overcooked visual effects. Best of all is the way that Dillard never lets the movie's "superpower" aspect get too out of hand (there are no explosions), nor does he follow any of the obvious threads to end his story. His actual final scene is like the conclusion of a great magic trick; it elicits a "wow."
Talk to your kids about ...
The main character is a drug> dealer, and yet he's still likable. What makes that possible? What makes a character relatable and appealing?
Does the movie make drugs or drug dealing look appealing? What's the risk of movies glamorizing substance use?
Is this a superhero movie? If your answer is yes, how does it compare to other superhero movies?
- In theaters: April 28, 2017
- On DVD or streaming: August 1, 2017
- Cast: Jacob Latimore, Seychelle Gabriel, Dule Hill
- Director: J.D. Dillard
- Studio: BH Tilt
- Genre: Thriller
- Topics: Magic and Fantasy, Brothers and Sisters
- Run time: 90 minutes
- MPAA rating: R
- MPAA explanation: language throughout, drug content and some violence
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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.