The Bling Ring

Movie review by
S. Jhoanna Robledo, Common Sense Media
The Bling Ring Movie Poster Image
Glitzy but superficial dramedy has swearing, alcohol, drugs.
  • R
  • 2013
  • 90 minutes
Popular with kids

Parents say

age 17+
Based on 1 review

Kids say

age 13+
Based on 20 reviews

A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

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 & Representations

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

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.

Sex

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.

Language

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.

Consumerism

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.

What 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).

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent Written bymoniquemom September 11, 2013

The Bling Ring - Parent Review

Great movie good for anyone grades 6 and up, because some tweens are very mature.
Teen, 14 years old Written byHeyItsKay13 June 26, 2013

I liked it but...

I loved the movie, but it used constant swears. I liked it, and I'm pretty mature, but other teens who aren't that mature shouldn't see this movi... Continue reading
Teen, 16 years old Written bySean Broucek June 13, 2013

Really Good Mature Crime Drama

Parents, this new glitzy crime drama from the director of "Lost In Translation" is really good with stellar performances and an intense plot, but the... Continue reading

What's the story?

Marc (Israel Broussard) is the new kid at a Los Angeles high school that's filled with glamorous types who've dead-ended elsewhere or who aren't in a hurry to get anyplace else. Unsure about his place on the totem pole, Marc is quickly embraced by Rebecca (Katie Chang), an amiable, fashionable, and -- he later realizes -- calculating thief who shows him how to check parked cars in her tony neighborhood for stuff to steal. She graduates pretty quickly to casing houses, especially those of the celebrities she worships and fawns over in gossip magazines and tabloids. Soon, they're joined by other like-minded teens: insipid, longing-to-be-famous Nicki (Emma Watson), whose mother (Leslie Mann) thinks teaching from self-help books like The Secret counts as home-schooling; Chloe (Claire Julien), who seems to know as many hipster underground fences and con men as she has friends; and more.

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.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how the Bling Ring came to be. Can you understand why members of the group wanted to steal from the rich and famous? What drove them? Did they find what they were seeking?

  • What is the movie saying about the allure of fame and the famous? Why did these kids want to be like the stars so much they started stealing their stuff? Does the media glorify fame?

  • Are teenagers really this label-hungry? How do they even hear about what celebrities wear and own? What explains all this consumerism?

  • How does the movie portray underage drinking and drug use? Are there any realistic consequences?

Movie details

For kids who love true stories

Our editors recommend

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

About these links

Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization, earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes when you use our links to make a purchase. Thank you for your support.

Read more

Our ratings are based on child development best practices. We display the minimum age for which content is developmentally appropriate. The star rating reflects overall quality and learning potential.

Learn how we rate