Sleight

Movie review by
Jeffrey M. Anderson, Common Sense Media
Sleight Movie Poster Image
Strong character-driven superpower tale has violence, drugs.
  • R
  • 2017
  • 90 minutes

Parents say

age 18+
Based on 1 review

Kids say

age 11+
Based on 1 review

A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

The highly dangerous life of selling drugs is made to look unappealing; rather, family and love are seen as ideals, as is following your own dream.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Even though the main character is a drug dealer, he has a line he won't cross, and he decides to leave when things get violent. He sells drugs to care for his younger sister (their parents are dead), and he treats everyone with respect and kindness (even some of his customers).

Violence

Hand is chopped off, blood shown. Guns drawn. Beating, punching, with blood spurts. Gold teeth ripped out of a man's head, with blood spatter. Beating with baseball bat. Foreign object embedded in skin; slightly infected arm. A young woman has a bruised face (beaten by her mother). Story of a magician cutting his hand with a blade. Burned arm. Young girl kidnapped (offscreen).

Sex

Main characters flirt and kiss. They sleep in the same bed, but sex isn't mentioned or presumed. Cleavage is briefly ogled at a party.

Language

Several uses of "f--k," "f---ing," "motherf----r," and "s--t," plus uses of "a--hole," "hell," and "my God" (as an exclamation).

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Main character is a drug dealer. Drug deals and bags of white powder (presumably cocaine) shown. "Molly" (ecstasy) mentioned. Main characters drink shots in bars or at parties. Secondary character smokes pot. A young woman's mother is said to beat her when drunk.

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.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written bySusan B. January 11, 2018

Mixed Feelings

The main character is a realistic portrayal of a young adult struggling with negative influences and making choices. There are some positive messages mixed in w... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written byHonest_Review April 14, 2018

Shouldn't be R

The only innapropriate aspect of this movie are drugs. Lots of people around me already learned about drugs since the 1rst grade. This movie is based around dru... Continue reading

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 ...

  • Families can talk about Sleight's violence. How much was shown, and how did it affect you? Was it shocking or thrilling? How did the movie achieve that? What's the impact of media violence on kids?

  • 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?

Movie details

Themes & Topics

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