Parents' Guide to

The Bad Kids

By S. Jhoanna Robledo, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 14+

Moving doc about troubled teens has powerful themes.

Movie NR 2016 100 minutes
The Bad Kids Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

There aren't any parent reviews yet. Be the first to review this title.

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say: Not yet rated
Kids say: Not yet rated

The area surrounding the Mojave Desert is a starkly beautiful region but also tough and unforgiving; so is this deeply moving documentary. The material is compelling: A principal and her staff attempt to reach -- and teach -- teens whom some have deemed unteachable so they can find their place in the world with confidence and worth. And the way this story is told, with deep compassion, and the kids it follows, will break your heart and stick with you long after the credits roll.

The filmmakers refrain from pushing emotional buttons unnecessarily; they let the sad, brutal stories each student calls his or her daily existence do the work for you. And they back it all with memorable cinematography of a place that's both forlorn and unforgettable. The only thing missing from The Bad Kids, perhaps, is a follow-up right before the ending that closes the loop on each subject's arc. But perhaps that's the way it is in real life: There are very few easy, or happy, endings.

Movie Details

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.

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.

See how we rate