Southpaw

Movie review by
S. Jhoanna Robledo, Common Sense Media
Southpaw Movie Poster Image
Deeply moving drama about boxing, life has brutal violence.
  • R
  • 2015
  • 123 minutes
Popular with kids

Parents say

age 9+
Based on 2 reviews

Kids say

age 13+
Based on 11 reviews

A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

No matter what circumstances you come from, you can find a way to transcend them and become a good citizen, especially if you have the support of a loving family and a network of true friends.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Maureen/Mo loves her famous boxer husband for all the right reasons. She's not afraid to tell him harsh truths, even if he doesn't want to hear them, and she's an engaged, dedicated mother and a smart businesswoman. Billy has loved his wife since they were teens (and remains devoted). His wife and child mean more to him than any material goods, and he's a loyal friend.

Violence

No punches are pulled when it comes to showing the price that a brutal fight exacts: There are plenty of close-ups of gaping wounds, boxers vomiting blood, swollen and battered faces, bleeding gums, knockout punches, and more. Plus, a gun goes off in the middle of a brawl, killing an important character. Another person is shown holding a different gun, seemingly contemplating suicide. He also points the gun at a mother and her children.

Sex

A woman is shown astride a man; her underwear is showing, and he's groping her; it's clear they're about to have sex. Scantily clad women are shown marching around a boxing ring.

Language

Frequent strong language includes "f--k," "s--t," "damn," "p---y," "bitch," and more.

Consumerism

Brands/products shown include Cartier, Maserati, Adidas, Minute Maid, Dasani, Everlast, iPhone, Bud Light, HBO, Coca-Cola, Caesar's Palace. 

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

One character drinks a lot. Frank discussion about whether someone is "on" something.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Southpaw is a deeply compelling drama (starring Jake Gyllenhaal and Rachel McAdams) that shows boxing at its most brutal and dispiriting. Violent fight scenes include close-ups of gaping wounds, boxers vomiting blood, knockout punches, and more. Plus, a gun goes off in the middle of a brawl, killing an important character. But almost even harder to watch is the way the movie shows how the sport, depending on how you approach it, can change you and lure hangers-on. Expect plenty of swearing ("f--k," "s--t," and more), some drinking, implied sex, scantily clad women, and plenty of label-flashing. But the main characters have been devoted to each other since they were in their teens, and they love their daughter.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byLeocol September 22, 2015

Best film I've seen in a long time!

Really pulls at your heart strings! My 8 year old loved it too as did the rest of the family must see!
Adult Written bythelolo January 14, 2016

great for kids

its perfect for kids who are not disturbed with violence it is emotional and appropriate
Teen, 17 years old Written bymovie loving teen July 24, 2015

Quite Possibly My Favorite Boxing Movie of All Time!

Southpaw takes a "been there, done that" boxing plot and puts it's own twists gritty dark twist on it. This movie is a tough pill to swallow, the... Continue reading
Teen, 15 years old Written byyayayayo June 15, 2016

Best movie I have seen

This movie is the best movie I have seen in a long time. Some of the topics dealt with are very heavy and could scare and shock young kids. This movie has A LOT... Continue reading

What's the story?

Billy Hope (Jake Gyllenhaal) is the light heavyweight boxing champ, undefeated and beloved. But after his most recent fight, his wife, Maureen (Rachel McAdams), tells him she's worried. The bout was more brutal than usual, exacting costs both physical and emotional, and Billy needs a break. Mo just wants him and their daughter, Leila (Oona Laurence), to have some time on their own, enjoying life as a family, with no hangers-on and no manager (50 Cent) hungry to make the next lucrative deal -- in other words, another fight -- for Billy. But at a charity event, Billy is hounded by a fellow boxer who's been challenging him to jump in the ring. A gun goes off, setting off a chain of events that undoes Billy and leads him to the fight of his life: putting himself back together and reuniting with his daughter. And, perhaps, with the help of coach Tick Wills (Forest Whitaker) at a back-to-basics boxing gym, Billy will have the chance to be great at the sport once more.

Is it any good?

Far from original, SOUTHPAW ticks off every boxing film standard: Everyman fighter, ultra-supportive wife, Phoenix-rising-from-the-ashes story line culminating in the fight of the century. Southpaw even features a hard-driving hip-hop soundtrack that meshes perfectly with jump-roping scenes and footwork-and-punching practice -- shot beautifully by director Antoine Fuqua -- and the requisite encouraging speech that inspires one man to dig deep for one last shot at redemption. They're all part of this movie, and we've seen them all before. 

And yet Southpaw is a tour-de-force, thanks in large part to outstanding performances from the cast, most notably an utterly transformed Gyllenhaal. He's ferocious and vulnerable and believable, sometimes all at once. See the movie for Gyllenhaal alone, though it helps that nearly all of his co-stars are also in fine form. He and McAdams share a great chemistry, and he clicks with Whitaker, too -- a crucial element in this genre. When the coach and his chastened pupil go to battle in Las Vegas for what may be the biggest fight of Billy's life, we want to be there with them to witness it all, even if we already know what will happen next.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the impact of the boxing violence in Southpaw. How does it compare to what you might seen in an action or horror movie? Which affects you more? Why? Does exposure to violent media desensitize kids to violence?

  • Are Mo and Billy role models? Why or why not? Why do you think Mo is suspicious of the members of Billy's circle? Is she right to worry that they don't have the best intentions?

  • Billy and Mo's daughter ends up in foster care. Talk to your kids about what that means and the events that led there. How are Mo and Billy depicted as parents?

Movie details

Themes & Topics

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