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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
A character seems quite depressed and takes part in a clinical drug trial hoping to be cured of his malaise. But instead, his life grows more complicated and even dangerous.
Violence & Scariness
Les knocks people down if he thinks they're up to no good, regardless of what's really happening. A mysterious duo threatens him; a man stabs another with a pencil, and the aftermath is quite bloody. A man beats up two others with a stick. One driver deliberately runs over another.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Les has a crush on the girl at the convenience store, but nothing happens.
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Frequent swearing, including 'a--hole,' 'bitch,' 's--t,' 'piss,' and 'f--k.'
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Products & Purchases
Signage for a convenience store, banks, and a news broadcast logo.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
The main character takes part in a clinical trial for an anti-depressant drug. Supporting characters are shown smoking dope.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this depressing indie drama/fantasy -- which stars Michael Rappaport of Boston Public and Prison Break -- focuses on the side effects of an experimental drug that prove quite disturbing, and some scenes will be too much for younger teens and kids. Characters use drugs, and there's some upsetting violence -- including an attack with a pencil has a bloody aftermath -- as well as a fair amount of swearing (including "f--k" and "s--t") and a pervasive sense of disorientation and isolation. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
SPECIAL isn't at all special. Ambitious, yes. Its attempt to link mental illness and medication to superheroes is an interesting intellectual exercise. Lyrical even, at least visually in some parts. But the film moves along at snail's pace, interspersed with frankly creepy moments.
Though Rappaport gives Les a good go, his earnestness and efforts don't save the film (he deserves a better movie). Had Special focused on its central idea, it would have been far more successful. But it veers into pseudo-thriller territory -- corporate misdeeds gone way awry -- and loses what little steam it manages to gather in the early stages. Special is, in fact, a mess.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.