A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Characters break the law, get roaring drunk, and fight. In Iraq, soldiers are ambushed, shoot at civilians, save friends, and make mistakes.
Violence & Scariness
A shooting at a checkpoint leads to an ambush, which includes more shooting, explosions, and bloody bodies. Images of body bags and wounded men on gurneys; flashbacks throughout the film cut to bloody, loud fighting. At home in Texas, two men fight (punching and wrestling). Drunken men shoot at bottles and a snake. A soldier hallucinates that his friend is drowned in a pool. Two friends argue over one giving his fiancée a black eye. A man hits his guards and escapes custody. Brandon describes a soldier's violent death. A soldier is beaten by three robbers; he then beats them and scares them with a gun, leaving with a very bloody cut over his eye. Rico is injured in Iraq: At the hospital, he's scarred, blind, and missing an arm and a leg. A character shoots himself off screen. Two friends fight in a cemetery, sputtering, falling, and bruising.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Violence & Scariness in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Sex, Romance & Nudity
A video of a sergeant's girlfriend is sensuous (not explicit); his buddy comments on her "t-tties." When Steve is drunk, he strips to his underwear and passes out. Scantily dressed women appear at a distance; someone calls them "hookers" (and they look the stereotypical part).
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Sex, Romance & Nudity in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Pervasive language includes "f--k" (in both dialogue and song lyrics), plus "s--t" (with "bull-"), "damn," "ass," "hell," and "busting my balls." Racist use of the term "hajji" to refer to Iraqis.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Language in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Products & Purchases
Honda motorcycle, beer brands.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Heavy drinking (beer, tequila) and cigarette smoking at a welcome home celebration. A very drunk Steve digs a trench and wields his gun, and a drunk Tommy crashes his car. Soldiers, including Brandon, smoke cigarettes repeatedly and shoot at beer bottles and other objects while drunk. More drinking in a bar.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Drinking, Drugs & Smoking in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this mature war drama features some pretty graphic violence, including shootings, explosions, and angry fistfights, all of which result in bloody injuries, broken bodies, and deaths. These images appear both in present-time and in traumatic flashbacks. There are some sexual allusions and rowdy slang; other language includes frequent use of "f--k" and other obscenities. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
Kimberly Peirce's movie makes an impassioned case against the stop-loss policy by considering the costs of war and sense of betrayal felt by U.S. troops. It does this in several ways, some of which are more effective than others. While Michelle is a great sidekick -- tough, smart, and angry -- the fact that the male troops' traumatized reactions are basically a collector's set of stereotypes is unfortunate; Brandon is the anguished moral center, Steve the gung-ho hero, etc. Similarly, Brandon and Michelle's travels are punctuated by encounters with obvious "lessons": a crew of punks, a family dealing with a son's death, a veteran on the run who can't look after his sick child.
Despite these structural issues, Stop-Loss offers dense, compellingly detailed situations, especially concerning the young soldiers' efforts to rethink what it means to be men. With its focus on the unhealthy rituals of manhood and male community that are encouraged by the military (specifically, a fear of otherness that translates into racism and misogyny), the film recalls Peirce's Boys Don't Cry, a remarkable excavation of gender roles and bonds. As Steve can't face life away from his comrades (and with Michelle), Brandon agonizes over deserting his friends. Again and again, the film shows how the devastating experiences and impossible expectations of young men in wartime are unjustified. These problems are only compounded by the backdrop of the war in Iraq, where, flashback scenes reveal, troops are under-equipped, under-trained, and unguided. If this message requires pretty young actors to get out to an audience, so be it.
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.
Suggest an Update
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