Parents' Guide to

Starred Up

By Jeffrey M. Anderson, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 17+

Hard, powerful prison drama offers a glimmer of hope.

Movie NR 2014 106 minutes
Starred Up Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

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

Community Reviews

age 18+

Based on 1 parent review

age 18+

Shockingly good in all ways possible!

Starred Up is a powerful experience about a 19-year old who was bound to a union with his absent father even if not under the best circumstances. Not only is it powerful, but truly captivating and that is whether in literal and figurative retrospect to the film's synopsis and hence unflinching choice of setting. It is a truly and unforgettable and relentless experience. (Note: the film has non-sexual but explicit male nudity, strong pervasive language, bloody violence and some disturbing content throughout)

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (1 ):
Kids say (2 ):

English director David Mackenzie (Young Adam, Spread) has never made films that were easy to watch or easy to like, but with STARRED UP, he seems to have found some kind of balance at last. As it begins, with its hard, unflinching look at a prisoner transferred to an adult institution, it might recall Steve McQueen's very tough Hunger (2008), but though Starred Up always retains its edge, it finds a sympathetic heart as well.

Certainly it could easily have turned into a goopy, Hollywood-lite movie about redemption, but vivid details and the excellent, wounded performances help anchor things in something closer to truth. O'Connell gives a star-making performance, and Friend plays the therapist with a certain resigned gravity. Mackenzie's camera could easily have slipped into documentary-like shaky-cam, but it's as reserved and unfazed as the concrete walls all around it. This is a powerful film that's also surprisingly watchable.

Movie Details

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