A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
If there's anything positive here, it's that old cliché that crime doesn't pay. Also: Having the Louboutins that Paris Hilton walks in doesn't make you Paris Hilton.
Positive Role Models
You'd be hard-pressed to find role models in this movie; the teens are sad, lonely, greedy, angry, yearning, misguided or, depending on the character, all of the above. The adults seem out to lunch at best and delusional at worst. One home-schooling mother bases her "lessons" on the tenets behind the self-help program called The Secret.
Violence & Scariness
Characters yell expletives and scream at each other; a young man finds a gun, which a young woman brandishes around and fires accidentally. A car crash with injuries.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Teen girls are shown scantily clad while changing clothes and making out with guys, some of whom are older than the girls are. Sexual references.
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Frequent use of words including "f--k," "s--t," "d--k," "a--hole," "bitch," "goddamn," "slut," "whore," "ass," "damn," "hell," "oh my God," and more.
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Products & Purchases
Tons of brands/labels seen and mentioned: Louboutin, Herve Leger, Kitson, Chanel, Dior, BMW, Mercedes Benz, Porsche, Rolex. Also, plenty of name-dropping of celebrities: Paris Hilton, Lindsay Lohan, Orlando Bloom, etc.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Lots of underage drinking (beer and hard liquor), both at homes and in clubs and bars. Also, teens use cocaine and smoke pot, both with and without bongs and paraphernalia. Cigarette smoking.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that The Bling Ring is based on the real-life escapades of a group of teenage thieves who raided the homes of Hollywood's rich and famous for their high-end clothing, accessories, and more. While Sofia Coppola's drama demonstrates a clear awareness of the sadly aspirational yearnings and self-aggrandizement that fueled the robberies, it emphasizes the glamor in it, too, as it seeks to uncover exactly how and why the so-called Bling Ring came to be. Be prepared for an almost nonstop litany of label-flashing -- the acquisitiveness factor is set to the max, with an almost slavish detail to the name brands of the items that were stolen -- as well as lots of swearing (from the comparatively tame "ass" to "f--k" and more) and plenty of underage drinking and drug use (both weed and cocaine). To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
THE BLING RING, like the rest of director Sofia Coppola's filmography, is an intoxicating, beautiful ride. It transports the audience to a world in which California teens can cherry-pick everything they've lusted after from the homes of their idols, whose privacy they've breached in search of the fabulous life. Or at least lives more fabulous than the teens' already privileged existence. But this movie doesn't have the heart of Lost in Translation, the compassion of Marie Antoinette, or the pathos of The Virgin Suicides. Its main characters keep the audience at a remove, so we're left to observe but not really understand, let alone care, about who they are or why they've done what they have.
As commentary, The Bling Ring is pretty interesting, if not very deep. Watching it feels like going on a high-octane shopping trip and then heading home, bags filled, and realizing that your credit cards have yet to be paid. (Though it has to be said that Coppola's sometime use of webcams to capture the characters' narcissism is virtuoso.) No one comes out unscathed here, not even the celebrities who are ostensibly crime victims. Their seemingly endless array of bling and fabulosity isn't just a lure for a band of high-end thieves, but it also calls into question their own complicity in a culture that celebrates labels, money, and luxury.
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.