A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
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
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.
Violence & Scariness
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.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Professional dancer dances suggestively while singing a song about how men unfairly objectify women and use them for sexual fantasies.
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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."
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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.
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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. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
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.
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.