Movie review by
Jeffrey M. Anderson, Common Sense Media
Terri Movie Poster Image
Underdog teen drama has strong sexual content, drinking.
  • R
  • 2011
  • 105 minutes

Parents say

age 15+
Based on 3 reviews

Kids say

age 14+
Based on 1 review

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A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

Over the course of the movie, several severely outcast characters slowly begin to come together to form a kind of surrogate family. This inclusiveness comes without question or terms; each and every person is welcome without having to change or give up anything.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Though Terri doesn't change much over the course of the movie, his persistent kindness and intelligence eventually begin to work for him as he gains a new group of friends. School principal Mr. Fitzgerald is a very good, if slightly comic role model, showing strong empathy toward the kids who need it the most.


A boy bullies a girl into a sexual situation (he touches her under a desk at school). Terri kills several mice with mousetraps and brings their little corpses into the woods to feed the birds. There are some disagreements and arguments, but no physical contact. A minor character dies (off screen), and the other characters attend her funeral.


Teens frankly discuss various sexual acts. A teen boy sexually touches a teen girl in class, under a desk. No nudity, but the action is clear, and viewers see the girl closing her eyes and enjoying it -- despite the fact that the boy seems to have forced her into this position. Later, the same boy celebrates his "victory" by smelling his fingers. A teen boy and girl remove their clothes (no sensitive body parts shown) but wind up not touching each other.


Fairly infrequent use of words including "f--k," "s--t," "c--k," "t-ts," and "p---y," as well as "ass," "butthole," "balls," "damn," "breast," and "God" (as an exclamation).

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

In one scene, teens drink whiskey and take prescription pills belonging to the main character's uncle. They begin to act silly and sleepy (and a little touchy-feely), and then they all pass out on the floor. The uncle has an unnamed condition that seems to make him disoriented, and he takes the pills throughout. In another scene, an adult wakes up with a hangover, but he hadn't been seen drinking.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that while this indie coming-of-age drama about an obese 15-year-old boy is sometimes disturbing, it's ultimately thought provoking and good-hearted. That said, there's plenty of strong stuff here, particularly a scene in which a teen boy sexually touches a teen girl under a desk in class after bullying her into the situation. No details are shown, but the act is unmistakable. There's also a scene in which three teens take prescription pills and drink whiskey. Language is infrequent but strong, with uses of "f--k," "s--t," "c--k," "t-ts," and "p---y." And animal lovers should beware: There are several dead mice on view, plus a shot of a bird eating one of them. For older teens who can handle this intense content, the movie offers a worthwhile message: The main character manages to find friends on his own terms, without having to force himself to fit in -- a powerful example for teens who don't feel part of the mainstream themselves.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent of a 9-year-old Written byNancy M. January 2, 2017

Not for 13 year olds !!

I'm watching this movie right now and the kids are popping pills they stole from a family member, and drinking hard liquor they also stole, and a young ins... Continue reading
Adult Written byJohn Cowan August 15, 2011

A wonderful indie movie

"Terri" is the real thing, and conveys exactly what it's like to be lowest-ranking male in a primate group. The mention of "animal lovers... Continue reading
Teen, 15 years old Written byjenjay August 12, 2012

No violence but not happy or chidish either..

I might be 15 but actually i watched this on the plane without realising it was R rated ..... oh well. But although i'm quite innosent i didnt find it that... Continue reading

What's the story?

Overweight teen Terri (Jacob Wysocki of TV's Huge) lives alone with his sick uncle (Creed Bratton). Wearing pajamas to school every day, Terri accepts his position as an outcast. But things begin to change when the cheerful principal (John C. Reilly) calls Terri into his office and sets up a weekly "check-in" meeting. After a few hurdles, Terri begins to trust and look up to the principal. During this time, he also meets a fellow outcast, troublemaker Chad (Bridger Zadina). He even manages to befriend pretty Heather (Olivia Crocicchia) after an unfortunate classroom incident brands her a pariah. But will ever-unpredictable Chad throw a monkey wrench into Terri's life?

Is it any good?

A great deal rides on Wysocki's intuitive performance; he has a remarkable combination of strength, gentleness, and honesty that belies his sad-sack appearance. When one girl flirts with him and calls him a teddy bear, we can believe it. Likewise, comic character actor Reilly turns in a slightly deeper, more touching version of his usual positive-thinking goofball. This band of strong, fascinating characters overcomes the otherwise awkward combination of script elements.

The son of legendary New York experimental filmmaker Ken Jacobs (Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son), TERRI director Azazel Jacobs arrived on the movie scene in 2008. His first film, Momma's Man, was an exercise in the cinema of discomfort, but at the same time had a traditionally goopy Hollywood wrap-up. Terri treads the same path, but, lo and behold, after a while, these characters begin to show some integrity; they spring to life and find a truthful emotional connection.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how the movie handles sex. How are sexual relationships between teens portrayed? What message does the in-class encounter between Heather and the boy send?

  • How does the movie depict teen drinking? Why does Chad bring alcohol to Terri's house, and why do Terri and Heather decide to drink?

  • Is the principal a positive role model? Can someone be flawed and still be a good role model?


Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love offbeat stories

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