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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Mixed messages: The main characters concoct a preposterous scheme and suffer few, or only indirect, consequences. The only lessons they seem to learn are strangely unconnected. On the other hand, a developmentally disabled character is portrayed with compassion.
Positive Role Models
Even the smartest, most responsible character winds up participating willingly in an illegal, immoral scheme.
Violence & Scariness
An extremely violent beating/pummeling. Guns and shooting. Bar fight, with punching. Shovel to the head. Knife to throat. A man shoves a woman against a wall. A man takes a terrible spill down a hill, breaks arm. Talk of losing fingers and limbs. Characters die.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
There's a fairly graphic sex scene, though no sensitive nudity. Frank, colorful sex talk. Kissing. A woman straddles a man in a car and opens her top, revealing red lingerie. A woman's underwear is passed around at a party.
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Several uses of "f--k," plus "s--t," "bulls--t," "a--hole," "retard," "hell."
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Products & Purchases
A GoPro camera is part of the plot.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Characters drink frequently, both in bars and at parties. A secondary character carries and drinks from a flask. One character gets so drunk he goes to prison. A main character regularly smokes cigarettes.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Sugar Mountain is a mature thriller about a harebrained moneymaking scheme. It has heavy violence -- mostly punching, pummeling, and beating, though guns and shooting are also involved involved. Plus, there are painful falls, a shovel to the head, and a knife to the throat. There's a fairly graphic sex scene (though no sensitive nudity), as well as plenty of sex talk, a "seduction" scene that shows cleavage and ingerie, kissing, etc. Language includes multiple uses of "f--k," plus other words. Characters drink and smoke cigarettes frequently; one character carries a flask, and another gets so drunk he goes to jail. The movie's plot doesn't make much sense, and the characters aren't very likable, but at least the Alaska locations are beautiful. 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 ridiculous thriller centers on just about the dumbest scheme ever invented for a movie, yet the filmmakers don't show any awareness of the plan's absurdity; it's played dismayingly straight. That might have been excusable, given how reckless and short-sighted Miles is, but Liam is supposed to be smart and to know his way around the woods. Sugar Mountain's entire scheme just doesn't make any sense, and rudimentary mistakes are made.
Attempts to create a love triangle between the brothers, Lauren, and another female character also fall flat; they do seem like friends, but any other feelings are frustratingly opaque. Hardly anyone is even likable. The normally charming Elwes plays a nasty, vindictive sheriff, and Momoa's Joe Bright is an excessively violent thug who seems more animal than man. Director Richard Gray does use the film's Alaska settings well, and despite some uneven moments, Sugar Mountain is technically fine. But storywise, it'll leave you cold.
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.