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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Protagonist is initially aggressive, then both chastened and frustrated by his brother's murder; aggressive competition between fraternity steppers; very positive and welcome affirmation of African-American historical legacies; doing the "right thing" by his girl wins honor for the hero in the end.
Violence & Scariness
Early scene shows the murder of the protagonist's brother by gunshot (bloody, upsetting); stepping routines are aggressive (one team uses a live snake to show "potency," another wears wolf masks and costumes).
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Several scenes feature college-age students dancing provocatively (in clubs and in competitions) with girls wearing midriff/cleavage-baring outfits; sexual connection between characters; romantic slow dance leads to a kiss on the dance floor; DJ makes fun of his own flirting with April by making kissy noises in the library; start of their sexual relationship is signaled by her entering his dorm room and him shutting the door on the camera; handsome, well-toned step team goes jogging in slow motion, sweaty and shirtless; couple does homework in underwear and T-shirts.
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A couple of uses of the "N" word (by African-American characters); other language includes "s--t," "ass," "bitch," "hell," and "damn."
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Products & Purchases
Coca Cola logos (film is set in Atlanta); MTV News (Sway "covers" and narrates the final competition).
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Drinking (beer, shots, other liquor) in clubs; background characters smoke cigarettes.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this film's second scene is violent, then sad: A fight between groups of boys (featuring hectic editing and aggressive camerawork) ends when the main character's brother is shot and killed (bloody wound is visible). Characters discuss sex (one young man shows his selection of condoms) and use sex-infused slang. Aggressive language includes "bitch," "s--t," "hell," "asshole," and derogatory terms; a couple of African-American characters use the "N" word to show hostility. R&B singer Ne-Yo is one of the film's stars. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
Heavy-handed and well-intentioned, Stomp the Yard proposes that step groups (and similar organizations) provide structure and inspiration for students in need of guidance and a sense of belonging. It's a decidedly masculine melodrama. Not only does DJ contend with paternal disapprovals (his uncle thinks stepping is a waste of time, and April's dad warns him that "My daughter is not some shorty for you to mess with!"), but he must also come to terms with his own competitive hostility and Duran's death. At the same time, he has to come up with a killer step routine for the group. Luckily, DJ is inspired by Truth's amazing array of sorority and fraternity alumni, who are enshrined in Heritage Hall -- the list includes Esther Rolle, Hines Ward, Michael Jordan, Rosa Parks, and Coretta Scott King, among others. Yes, it's a strained conceit, but Sylvain White's movie does well to remind all of us of these powerful embodiments of resistance, motivation, and "truth."
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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