Spring Breakers

Movie review by
Sandie Angulo Chen, Common Sense Media
Spring Breakers Movie Poster Image
Former Disney starlets go bad in super-edgy crime comedy.
  • R
  • 2013
  • 94 minutes

Parents say

age 15+
Based on 16 reviews

Kids say

age 16+
Based on 43 reviews

A lot or a little?

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

Positive messages

The movie's most important message -- that the sexualization and "party till you drop" nature of spring break and the obsession with that lifestyle is ridiculous and in no way helps a young person discover who they really are -- may be clear to adults, but it may not be obvious to most teens.

Positive role models & representations

No positive role models; the main characters are involved in sex, violence, and substance abuse. That said, at least Faith has the good sense to listen to her instinct that Alien bailing them out of jail could only lead to disaster, so she heads back home. When she says that she was wrong about what spring break ended up being like, she's completely right.

Violence

A shoot-out leaves at least a dozen people dead, and in another sequence, the girls rob a restaurant with squirt guns that they wield as if they were real. A drug dealer's henchman shoots at a car, and Cotty gets shot in the arm (but survives). Alien is obsessed with his machine guns and pistols and lets the girls play with them. Brit and Candy each pull a gun on Alien and even stick it into his mouth, but then the violence turns sexual.

Sex

The entire movie is highly sexualized. From the opening scene, there are countless close-up shots of topless, bikini-clad young women -- at the beach, at motels, and at parties. There are two three-way sex scenes, one of which shows topless older women and the other the bare backs and bottoms of the younger women. Widespread debauchery tied to substance use. Shirtless guys pour beer (strategically placed in front of their crotches) into the mouths of topless girls on the floor below; young men and women snort cocaine from a topless woman's chest -- some of them stopping to kiss her breasts. A topless woman teases a guy "You're never gonna get this p---y," and much, much, much more.

Language

Not quite Quentin Tarantino-level, but pretty close: tons of "f--k" (including both the sexual connotation and "motherf---er"), plus "s--t," "a--hole," "bitch," "p--y" (as both an insult and a euphemism for "vagina"), "t-ts," "d--k," "ass," "hell," the "N" word, several "goddamn"s, and more.

Consumerism

El Camino, Camaro, and a Ferrari are featured, and random beer brands are shown. Tie-in products include clothes and shoes based on the characters' apparel in the movie.

Drinking, drugs & smoking

Barely a scene that doesn't feature college students (most of whom are underage) drinking copious amounts of alcohol, smoking marijuana, and even snorting cocaine. Many of the scenes of substance abuse are repeated and incorporate sexual acts as well, like people snorting cocaine off of a topless young woman's chest, doing body shots, etc. There's also drug dealing and scenes that show people packaging and weighing drugs.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that even though former Disney stars Selena Gomez and Vanessa Hudgens are in Spring Breakers, it's absolutely not appropriate for teens. This is a hard-R film from controversial director Harmony Korine (Kids), and it explores the naivete of college students who expect spring break to be an otherworldy, life-changing experience. There's constant, overt sexuality (including three-way sex scenes and lots of toplessness), substance abuse (mostly marijuana and cocaine), swearing ("f--k," "s--t," and much more), and violence. People die from being shot and are injured with bullet wounds. Underage men and women are arrested and indulge in sexual acts with strangers they've just met. Bottom line? Every terrible thing that a parent could imagine happening during spring break is unflinchingly on display in this envelope-pushing satire of teen comedies.

User Reviews

Parent Written byBridgit Anderson December 2, 2013

very very very very disapointing

it was horrible. I don't think selena gomez would do such a thing, but she did.... iam very concerned because my kids used to like her..... :(
Educator and Parent Written byCandycanesara August 6, 2013

Don't bother with it.

(*Spoilers*) The first few minutes were just a ton of shirtless girls (yes, bare chest and all) jumping around on a beach. It felt more like a low-class porno t... Continue reading
Teen, 17 years old Written byCandylove1o1 March 19, 2013

It's Not so Bad...

From watching the trailers and sneak peeks, you can automatically tell it's bad. But according to this generation, studies show kids under the age of 10 pl... Continue reading
Kid, 10 years old July 11, 2013

for 9 and up. omly not for kids nine and under.

for kids nine and up no younger and it's not a bunch of sec like they say the girls well be shaking their but but who cares just skip the part you don... Continue reading

What's the story?

College party girls Brit (Ashley Benson), Candy (Vanessa Hudgens), Cotty (Rachel Korine), and their straight-edge best friend Faith (Selena Gomez) are desperate to make it to Florida for spring break. When they realize they're low on funds, the wilder trio decides to rob a restaurant with ski masks and squirt guns. Now flush with cash, the girls head down to the sunny beaches of St. Petersburg, Fla., where the SPRING BREAKERS are letting loose with a seemingly never-ending supply of liquor, drugs, and promiscuity. During a particularly hedonistic room party toward the end of their trip, the girls -- now broke again -- get arrested and are subsequently bailed out by Alien (James Franco), a local drug gangsta with a gold grill and a serious adoration of Scarface. While he doesn't demand that the girls do anything specific in return for his help, Faith gets a bad feeling and flees, while the other girls stick around and delve even deeper into a world of crime and debauchery.

Is it any good?

This movie's likely to make audiences ridiculously uncomfortable with its realistically graphic scenes of adolescent sex and substance abuse. Director Harmony Korine (Kids) can't seem to help but push buttons and cross boundaries. For adult viewers, the movie's salacious close ups of bouncing breasts and gyrating bikini bottoms, the repetitive scenes, and the general plotlessness make sense, because Spring Breakers is ultimately poking fun at the misguided nature of the spring break party scene and the college kids who think this that a week of booze, booty, and getting high is what they're meant to experience -- and what they deserve.

But teens -- who may well be drawn to the movie by the idea of Disney starlets doing their version of "Girls Gone Wild" (Gomez less shockingly than Hudgens, who's startlingly sexual as wicked Candy) -- won't necessarily understand the cliches that Korine is skewering. They'll be too distracted with the nonstop titillation (no matter how uncomfortable it is) to see the film for what it is -- a subversive treatise on the naivete and downright idiocy of this out-of-control rite of passage. The young actresses hold their own, but it's Franco who chews up the scenery with his hilarious minor kingpin who loves to shout "Look at my s--t!" and sing "Spring break, spring break, spring break forever!" Adults able to deal with the movie's carnal excess will be able to see its clever messages, but if an audience just wants to see breasts and beer and coke-snorting, then they've proved Korine's point.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families whose teens do see Spring Breakers may want to discuss how it portrays teenage sexuality and substance abuse. What message is it intending to send? Do you think that message gets through to teen viewers?

  • What do you think of Hudgens and Gomez starring in this film when they still have tween and young teen fans? Does it change how you think of them as actresses? Do you think actresses who start out acting in kids' programming have a responsibility to be careful with their career choices?

  • What alternatives are there to the "booze and booty"-filled spring break scene? Talk about some guidelines for high school and college spring break trips -- and real-life cases of spring breaks going terribly wrong.

Movie details

For kids who love teen movies

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