A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that T2 Trainspotting is a sequel to the 1996 cult hit Trainspotting. Set 20 years later, it follows the same characters (including one played by Ewan McGregor), some of whom are still dealing with their heroin addictions (others are trying to kick the habit or using cocaine instead). Not surprisingly, then, there's lots of drug use, as well as drinking (a pot farm is also shown). Language is extremely strong, with many uses of "f--k," "c--t," and more. Sexual content is also graphic, including full-frontal nudity, oral sex, and scenes with sex toys. There are also scenes of prostitution, with various sex acts shown (in many positions). Violent sequences include a brutal fight and characters getting hit, smashed, and knocked out with blunt objects. There's a shootout, with a character's arm sliced open. And a character attempts suicide with a bag over his head, then vomits inside the bag. The movie seems aimed at the original's now-likely-middle-aged fans and is unlikely to convert many young viewers, although it may send them looking for the original.
What's the story?
In T2 TRAINSPOTTING, 20 years have passed since the events of 1996's Trainspotting. After living abroad in Amsterdam, Renton (Ewan McGregor) decides to return home to Edinburgh. Spud (Ewen Bremner) is still addicted to heroin, and though he's tried to kick the habit, he has lost his job and his family. So he tries to kill himself, but Renton arrives just in time to stop him. Then he reconnects with "Sick Boy" (a.k.a. Simon) (Jonny Lee Miller), who now owns a pub, is a regular cocaine user, and is still angry at Renton for stealing his share of the money two decades earlier. Nonetheless, Simon invites Renton to join in on his plan to build a strip club, hoping to exact his revenge somewhere down the line. Meanwhile, the violent, volatile Begbie (Robert Carlyle) escapes from prison, and he's really angry at Renton.
Is it any good?
Director Danny Boyle's sequel, arriving 20 years after his groundbreaking original, maintains an energetic visual flair, as well as confronting, rather than ignoring, the passage of time. Trainspotting exploded on the film scene with incredible electricity, pulsing music, and powerful, often harrowing visuals. Like Pulp Fiction, it felt like it could change the world. T2 Trainspotting manages to establish that that kind of youthful exuberance can't last forever, but that, even as reality sets in, life doesn't stop either. ("Choose life.")
The characters still have a fascinating chemistry, now working because of their history rather than energy. Boyle's smart choice of music includes new remixes of some of the original's classic tunes (like the iconic "Born Slippy"). The new film includes many choice flashbacks, as well as modern mirror images of the original, but it also cleverly acknowledges the trappings of nostalgia. On the downside, the screenplay has a particularly sloppy plot hole, and the women (Shirley Henderson and Kelly Macdonald) are relegated to small roles. That said, striking newcomer Anjela Nedyalkova holds her own against the lads as Simon's sort-of girlfriend Veronika.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about T2 Trainspotting's drug use. Many characters are in various stages of drug addiction/drug use; does the film glamorize any of it? Does it look exciting? What are the consequences?
How does the movie handle sex? Is it loving and respectful? Parents, talk to your teens about your own values regarding sex and relationships.
How does this movie compare to the original? How have the characters changed? How are they the same?
In what way have the characters grown up? In what ways have they stayed the same? How does the movie handle the passage of time?
- In theaters: March 17, 2017
- On DVD or streaming: June 27, 2017
- Cast: Ewan McGregor, Jonny Lee Miller, Ewen Bremner
- Director: Danny Boyle
- Studio: TriStar Pictures
- Genre: Drama
- Run time: 117 minutes
- MPAA rating: R
- MPAA explanation: drug use, language throughout, strong sexual content, graphic nudity and some violence
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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.