Ten Thousand Saints

Movie review by
S. Jhoanna Robledo, Common Sense Media
Ten Thousand Saints Movie Poster Image
'80s-set teen drama has lots of drug use, profanity.
  • R
  • 2015
  • 104 minutes

Parents say

age 17+
Based on 1 review

Kids say

age 15+
Based on 2 reviews

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A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

When a teen dies in a tragic accident, his family and friends try to keep his memory alive, but they eventually realize they can't live their lives in the quest to keep their late loved one with them -- they have to make their own decisions about what's best for the living.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Two teens in a tough situation turn to a less-than-responsible adult for help -- he's a pot farmer who smokes weed with his son, has no parental boundaries, and has a seriously unreliable track record, but he also gives sensible advice that turns out to be very helpful.


A group of teens gets in a fight that leaves one bruised and lying on the ground.


Two teens kiss and get undressed. It's clear that more happens off screen, because the girl gets pregnant and much of the film focuses on how she tries to resolve it.


Frequent swearing, mostly by teens, including "s--t," "a--hole," "p---y," "goddammit," and "f--k."

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

The teenage main characters do lots of drugs, including pot, cocaine, and inhalants. One has a father who grows pot and often smokes with his son, doing little to discourage the boy's activities. But part of the film focuses on a group of "straight edge" kids who refrain from drugs, drinking, and sex and try to encourage others to live a healthier, more wholesome lifestyle.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Ten Thousand Saints is an edgy drama about two teens in a tough situation, set in 1980s New York. They smoke pot and take plenty of other drugs (including cocaine and inhalants); their parents are absent, preoccupied, or just oblivious; and the kids spend much of their time hanging out on the streets or with homeless punk rockers squatting in abandoned buildings. There's lots of swearing (including "s--t" and "f--k"), some sexual references (including an unplanned pregnancy), and a lot of questionable decisions. It's best for older teens, especially if parents are there to discuss it with them.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byabbacus February 8, 2016

Movie with great cast good for older teens.

I enjoyed this movie. I think it is a film that would be enjoyable for older, mature teens, but I could see where some adults wouldn't like it. The only r... Continue reading
Teen, 14 years old Written byrachel_142 January 9, 2017

For Mature Teens

I've watched this quite a few times. I did read the book which is what drew me to watch it in the first place. I really did like the book and i think that... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written byCrymaydie 12 March 19, 2016

What's the story?

In the aftermath of a tragic accident, Jude (Asa Butterfield) moves from a small Vermont town to live with his father (Ethan Hawke) in New York. He quickly becomes embroiled in the 1980s punk scene and gets involved with his dad's girlfriend's teenage daughter, Eliza (Hailee Steinfeld), who's also reeling from the tragedy and is dealing with a complicated problem of her own. Together, they try to figure out the meaning of "family" when neither of them has particularly reliable parents, while also dabbling in drugs, hardcore music, and Hare Krishna ceremonies. 

Is it any good?

This definitely isn't a typical teen coming-of-age movie, though its protagonists do come of age. It's also not a romcom, though the characters do fall for each other and have sex. It's more of a family drama, though not a single character in the film seems to have much of an idea of what it really means to be a family. The teens are mostly raising themselves, and the parents have much more important things to do than actually be parents, especially Hawke as Jude's weed-growing dad, who gives his son free rein in New York and likes to smoke pot with the kid. It makes mid-1980s New York look pretty rough.

But give the film time to do its thing, and all these dysfunctional families/characters start to grow on you, even Hawke, who turns out to give the most sensible advice of anyone in the film. Butterfield and Steinfeld are outstanding (angsty, yes, but excellent, too) and Emile Hirsch, as a punk-rock member of their extended family who's trying to figure out who he really is, also gives a strong performance. TEN THOUSAND SAINTS takes some unexpected twists, but it's an interesting -- and sometimes fun -- ride nonetheless.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about coming-of-age movies. How is Ten Thousand Saints typical of the genre, and how is it different? 

  • What do you think about Jude's relationship with his father, Les? Is Les a good dad? What about the other parents shown in the film? Would you call any of the characters role models?

  • How realistic is the drug use here? Is it glamorized? What are the consequences, if any?

  • How does the movie handle the topics of teen sex and unplanned pregnancy?

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love coming-of-age tales

Themes & Topics

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