Sucker Punch

Movie review by
S. Jhoanna Robledo, Common Sense Media
Sucker Punch Movie Poster Image
Impressive effects, but mixed messages about women.
  • PG-13
  • 2011
  • 109 minutes

Parents say

age 14+
Based on 18 reviews

Kids say

age 13+
Based on 67 reviews

A lot or a little?

Parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive messages

While the movie is about how a band of oppressed girls takes back their power, the film undermines that theme somewhat by having them clad in skimpy, provocative attire -- it reinforces some stereotypes about women while purporting to challenge them. Still, ultimately the movie is saying that you control your life, and you have the power to slay your demons so you can finally be free of them and free to be who you want to be.

Positive role models & representations

Although the way they're presented does buy into some stereotyping about women (babes with guns, sexy schoolgirls, etc.), for the most part, the main female characters support each other in an oppressive, male-dominated world (though one does snitch). Some act in selfless ways that help others. On the other hand, except for one, the male characters sexualize and abuse the girls.

Violence

Lots of cartoonish, exaggerated violence: Men hit women, women hit men, and there are shoot-outs, swordfights, hand-to-hand fights, stabbings, slicings, beheadings, and a lobotomy. A few scenes show men sexually assaulting women or threatening to do so.

Sex

One forced kiss. The women are basically prostitutes, and they discuss their work. They often wear skimpy clothing.

Language

Occasional use of “s--t,” “bulls--t,” "hell," "damn," "ass," “goddamn,” and “bitch.”

Consumerism
Drinking, drugs & smoking

A man smokes cigars. A background character drinks wine.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this comic book-like fantasy from the director of 300 has disturbing scenes that show men taking advantage of women ... whose sole purpose is to entertain the men. The main female characters are clad in skimpy clothing for much of the movie, too, which seems hypocritical, given that the film is about how a band of oppressed girls take back their power -- the movie ends up reinforcing some of the stereotypes it's theoretically out to bust. Though the fight scenes are often cartoonish in nature, they’re unrelenting and brutal, including shoot-outs, swordfights, stabbings, beheadings, and the threat of sexual assault. There's some swearing ("s--t"), too.

User Reviews

Adult Written byMildred Anderson July 10, 2012

My daughters and their dates had a good time. Heck, I had a good time!

I saw this film with my teenage daughters (13, 15) and their boyfriends, thank god they picked Sucker Punch over that horrid Justin Bieber sh*t. My daughters an...
Parent Written bysallyj1 June 4, 2016

This film is NOT for kids!!!!!

This film is absolutely awesome if you are an adult and can handle its dark and twisted storyline. The end is absolutely brutal!! For a teen/ pre teen I would s...
Teen, 16 years old Written byBryn Clare August 1, 2012

Sucker Punch

A good movie for mature teens. There is a lot of violence, but a good message, that tells viewers women aren't men's playthings.
Teen, 15 years old Written bySkeamstroke August 25, 2012

Not suitable for SOME kids.

This is an AMAZING movie just to let you know. It targets anime fans especially. I am 15 years old, and female. This is suitable for some kids, if they can hand...

What's the story?

Thrown into an insane asylum after mistakenly killing her sister while trying to defend herself from her menacing stepfather, Babydoll (Emily Browning) preserves her sanity and dignity by allowing her mind to roam free in an otherworldly parallel universe where she’s armed, dangerous, and stronger than anyone else. She enlists the help of four other young women trapped in the hospital: Blondie (Vanessa Hudgens), Amber (Jamie Chung), Rocket (Jena Malone), and Rocket's devoted sister, Sweet Pea (Abbie Cornish). They must stick together to survive the disempowered Madam Gorski (Carla Gugino) and sociopathic Blue (Oscar Isaac) and his goons, and all before the High Roller (Jon Hamm) makes an appearance.

Is it any good?

Director Zack Snyder may be trying to seduce us into thinking that SUCKER PUNCH is a great movie, but it’s not. He litters the screen with one fantastical fight scene after another, drains the color from all but a few set pieces (you know, to be artsy), and amps up the volume on the carefully calibrated soundtrack. Even though it sports amazing CGI effects and is certainly ambitious in its reach, the movie has no weight behind it, no compelling characters, no elegant storytelling -- in fact, no coherent story at all. (Why does the film place so much importance on Babydoll’s dancing, when it never actually shows her doing so? Why not just give her an entirely different, mesmerizing ability?)

That said, there are a few notable strengths, Cornish being the best of them. She can sell pretty much any role, even this (almost). Her interactions with Malone are so authentic that they seem like they’re in a different world altogether. But even her prodigious talents can’t elevate this strange brew of a movie.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how the movie portrays women. Do you think it reinforces stereotypes or undermines them? Who are the most powerful characters in the movie?

  • How do details like the characters' costumes and names affect how you feel about them? Which characters in the movie can be seen as role models?

  • What impact does the movie's violence have? Would it be different if it was more realistic instead of cartoonish? Why?

Movie details

For kids who love strong female characters

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