The Bling Ring



Glitzy but superficial dramedy has swearing, alcohol, drugs.
Popular with kids
  • Review Date: June 13, 2013
  • Rated: R
  • Genre: Drama
  • Release Year: 2013
  • Running Time: 90 minutes

What parents need to know

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

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.


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.


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.


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.


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.

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).

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.

Families can talk 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

Theatrical release date:June 14, 2013
DVD release date:September 17, 2013
Cast:Emma Watson, Israel Broussard, Katie Chang, Taissa Farmiga
Director:Sofia Coppola
Run time:90 minutes
MPAA rating:R
MPAA explanation:teen drug and alcohol use, and for language including some brief sexual references

This review of The Bling Ring was written by

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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What parents and kids say

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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 movie. It's definately off for kids under 13.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much consumerism
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
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 drugs, alcohol, violence, strong language, and sex makes this a film for only the most mature teens. Violence includes multiple robberies, fighting, shooting, interrogation, and a car crash. Sexuality is more of one of the movie's vibes, but still includes a graphic sex scene, flirting, kissing, m akin out, drunk intercourse, and scantily clad women. Drugs and alcohol use is one of the strongest elements of the story. There are teenage excessive use of heroin, weed, cocaine, and smoke cigarettes constantly, and lots of underage alcohol consumption. There is also lots of language, which includes several uses of f--k, s--t, d--k, c--t, c--k, a--hole, hell, wh-re, sl-t, b-tch, and p----y. In the end, this brilliant and really good sparkling crime drama is best left for the mature teens. Rated R For Teen Drug & Alcohol Use, Brief Violence, Some Strong Sexuality, And Language Throughout.
Written byAnonymous June 16, 2013

Pretty good

6.6/10 This movie was pretty good through the whole way but the ending could have been better. Drugs and drinking language suprisingly there is very little sexual content.
What other families should know
Too much swearing
Too much consumerism
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking


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