Movie review by
Tara McNamara, Common Sense Media
Stuck Movie Poster Image
Mature themes, swearing in kindness-and-connection musical.
  • PG-13
  • 2019
  • 90 minutes

Parents say

No reviews yetAdd your rating

Kids say

No reviews yetAdd your rating

Did this review miss something on diversity?

Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive, diverse representations in books, TV shows, and movies. Want to help us help them? Suggest a diversity update

We think this movie stands out for:

A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

Aims to reignite art of human connection, pointing to idea that if we just talk to strangers around us (in favor of using devices), we may find encouragement or direction we need at that moment. Clear messages of compassion, understanding. Mature themes include homelessness, disability, loss, sexual assault, immigration, poverty, unwanted pregnancy.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Characters are diverse and inclusive, representing wide swath of ethnicities, disabilities (both physical and mental), social situations. Some representations are stereotypical (a young unmarried black woman pregnant by two-timing lowlife, a nerdy white guy into comic books, a poor Hispanic man who works three jobs, etc.), but that's part of the point: Film plays on snap judgments we make of people based on age, skin color, circumstances.


Flashes of images of girl beaten up (bloody lip and nose), struggling against three men -- no actual depiction or words, but close-ups of her reaction make it clear that they sexually assaulted her. In cartoonish fantasy sequence, villainous doctor throws syringes, a superhero uses laser blasters. A woman threatens physical violence. Shouting/arguing; an older teen cruelly puts down a boy's ability to make conversation with her.


Professional dancer dances suggestively while singing a song about how men unfairly objectify women and use them for sexual fantasies.


Profanity includes "ass," "bitch," "bulls--t," "freaking," "f---ing," and "s--t." Shouting, mean comments, and prejudicial language, including calling a Hispanic man "Speedy Gonzales."

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

A homeless man is asked whether he drinks or does drugs (he doesn't). An empty wine bottle is given another purpose.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Stuck is the film adaptation of a stage musical that implores audiences to treat strangers with kindness and compassion. It focuses on six multicultural New Yorkers trapped in a subway car who at first appear to live up to their stereotypes. But once they open up and admit their personal struggles, it eventually becomes clear they're not all that different. Mature themes include homelessness, disability, loss, sexual assault, immigration, poverty, and unwanted pregnancy; the film doesn't get political, but some heated debates feel lifted straight from cable news. Language includes "s--t," "bitch," and "f---ing" but isn't frequent, and the dialogue works around harsher terminology like "abortion" and "rape." It's the same for imagery: Enough is shown to imply the rough stuff being depicted without getting super graphic. For instance, a young woman is brutally assaulted, but viewers only see flashes of three men grabbing her, followed by her reactions in close-up, where she has a bloody nose and lip. One scene includes suggestive dancing during a song about the objectification of women. The film is earnest and clear about its positive message -- to put down our devices and our differences and engage with the world around us -- but it's unlikely to result in a single teen changing habits.

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?

In the musical STUCK, six New Yorkers from different walks of life -- played by AshantiGiancarlo Esposito, Amy Madigan, Omar Chaparro, Arden Cho, and Gerard Canonico -- are trapped in a subway car for an hour. Over time, they realize that their assumptions about one another are incorrect. The group connects through age, race, gender, and social class, making a lasting impact on one another's lives.

Is it any good?

This modern musical so earnestly sings about Americans' social issues that it's essentially Sesame Street for teens and adults. Every topic -- from mental illness to unwanted pregnancy -- has its own song designed to expand our understanding that each person is more than a label. The intention is fantastic, but the obviousness can feel a bit like SNL's recurring "High School Theater Show" sketch, in which teens think they're pointing out society's injustices in an avant garde way.

Putting a bunch of extreme personalities into a room and forcing them to interact is a tried-and-true plot trick of the stage that's been employed to great effect in movies like 12 Angry Men and The Breakfast Club. It's often used for the purpose of breaking down prejudice to show people for who they truly are, just like in Stuck. What's new is adding music to it, and Riley Thomas' music is exceptional -- clean, concise, and clear in its messaging. It's all very Free to Be You and Me, but -- unlike that hallmark soundtrack -- it probably won't change anyone's outlook. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about Stuck's suggestion that the support many people need may be as close as a person sitting next to them on a train. Do you think there's a benefit to be gained by talking to strangers? If so, how do you square that with the warnings we so often give kids ("Don't talk to strangers!")?

  • How does Stuck address the stigma of mental illness, especially in its connection to the unsheltered? How does the film argue for compassion?

  • What do you think of the movie's metaphorical message about how we're all "stuck" on the journey of life together? What's the value of treating others with kindness, regardless of circumstance? Should that change if you disagree with their life choices?

  • How does music deliver the messaging of the film differently than a non-musical would? Do you think it's more or less effective?  

  • What is the movie's take on device use? How does that compare to your own perspective?

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love musicals

Character Strengths

Find more movies that help kids build character.

Themes & Topics

Browse titles with similar subject matter.

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

Streaming options powered by JustWatch

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.

Learn how we rate