Parents' Guide to

Sound of Metal

By Jeffrey M. Anderson, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 15+

Powerful, emotional drama about deafness has salty language.

Movie R 2020 121 minutes
Sound of Metal Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 14+

Based on 2 parent reviews

age 15+

Demands you to listen in a different way

A compelling and powerful performance from Ahmed and from the sound designers of this film. The sound is definitely the other main protagonist of this film. A strong way to decenter the auditory experience that is typically geared towards those that merely use their ears to listen to a film. This film demands that you use your other senses in order to stay within the world of the film. Ahmed is the real deal Holyfield in this film (and others). A film that demands that you listen in a different way and forces you to do it. Wonderful!
age 13+


Mesmerising acting in lead role. I would give 5 stars for positive role models and positive messages. A mature 12/13 year old could gain a lot from watching this. We took our 12 year old son and we all couldn’t stop talking about it on the way home. Yes there are f bombs- totally forgettable in my opinion. Appropriately used and barely noticeable against the power of the story, characters, amazing use of sound and the messages conveyed. Cannot think of a single criticism. It will be on my mind a long time

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (2 ):
Kids say (5 ):

With its focus on characters, emotions, and ideology, this powerful drama with great performances easily overcomes its few flaws to drum up enormous empathy and heartbreak. The feature directing debut of Darius Marder, who co-wrote The Place Beyond the Pines, Sound of Metal uses a rather drab, realistic palette that matches Ruben's rock-rebel sensibility (his wardrobe consists entirely of battered band-logo shirts and hoodies). There may be one scene too many of handheld cameras capturing moments of brooding. But the actors immerse themselves into the movie's world with total commitment. Ahmed, unsurprisingly, is amazing, though his best work isn't so much the rage that Ruben expresses about his deafness but the earlier scenes of existential terror when he first realizes what's happening to him.

Another standout is Raci, who brings a powerful weight and history to Joe (it turns out that he's an actual veteran and the child of deaf parents, and he plays in a band that performs in ASL). His signing is almost like a dance. Another masterstroke is the movie's sound design, which brilliantly suggests what it might be like in Ruben's head, both muffled and stuffy in the early scenes and then using a buzzing, tinny sound to replicate the effect of the implants. (The movie's title likely has a dual meaning.) The post-implant scenes are the most heartbreaking in Sound of Metal, but its conclusion, both ambiguous and unforgettable, offers an amazing moment of serenity.

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