Steal This Movie

Movie review by
Nell Minow, Common Sense Media
Steal This Movie Movie Poster Image
Abbie Hoffman biopic is unsatisfying.
  • R
  • 2000
  • 107 minutes

Parents say

No reviews yetAdd your rating

Kids say

No reviews yetAdd your rating

A lot or a little?

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

Violence

Some violence at demonstrations.

Sex

Sexual references and situations.

Language

Strong language.

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Drug use and references.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this movie may be very confusing for anyone who does not remember the 1960s, and teens who want to see it may need some background. The movie has strong language, fairly mild sexual references and situations (including adultery), permissive drug use, and illegal activity by both protesters and the government.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say

There aren't any reviews yet. Be the first to review this title.

There aren't any reviews yet. Be the first to review this title.

What's the story?

This biopic chronicles the adult life of 1960s left-wing activist Abbie Hoffman (Vincent D'Onofrio). Hoffman joins civil rights workers in the South, then loses his short hair, suit, and tie to connect with college students protesting the war. He meets his future partner Anita (Janeane Garofolo), and helps to embarrass the Nixon administration in order to show others that they can change what they see as the nation's undesirable status quo. Hoffman and seven others are arrested for protesting at the Democratic convention. At their trial, they publicize what they see as a fundamental injustice in American life with antics that land them on the front page of every newspaper. The government now sees them as such a serious threat that they engage in a campaign of disinformation and persecution. Hoffman is eventually charged with selling cocaine and escapes underground, but can't resist becoming involved and helps organize an environmental protest. But the pressures of living underground and the increasing chemical imbalance of the bipolar disorder turn him fearful and angry.

Is it any good?

This movie may be very confusing for anyone who does not remember the 1960s, and teens who want to see it may need some background. This biopic adopts a Citizen Kane-style structure, with a journalist interviewing Hoffman's associates to determine whether he was crazy or a victim. The conclusion seems to be that he was both. It might have worked if the film had been frustrating in the way that the peace movement or the 60's as a whole were frustrating. But this movie is unsatisfying for a far more mundane reason -- a script with a wavering point of view.

While sympathetic to Hoffman's efforts, the story is balanced enough to show parallels between Hoffman and his enemies. Ultimately, though, Steal This Movie is as unsatisfying as its snippets of classic rock song covers -- it never really tries to show how truly revolutionary Hoffman's ideas were.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about what their older members were doing during this period and how they felt about Hoffman's activities.

Movie details

For kids who love dramas

Our editors recommend

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

See how we rate

About these links

Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization, earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes when you use our links to make a purchase. Thank you for your support.

Read more

Our ratings are based on child development best practices. We display the minimum age for which content is developmentally appropriate. The star rating reflects overall quality and learning potential.

Learn how we rate