The Gift

Movie review by
Jeffrey M. Anderson, Common Sense Media
The Gift Movie Poster Image
Popular with kids
New twist on familiar thriller setup has tension, swearing.
  • R
  • 2015
  • 108 minutes

Parents say

age 15+
Based on 5 reviews

Kids say

age 15+
Based on 10 reviews

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A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

Presents a very vivid (and rather nasty) view of bullying and the long-term hurt it can cause.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Both of the main male characters resort to underhanded, sometimes cruel behavior to get what they want. The main female character is kind-hearted but not particularly strong.


Brief fight between two men. A woman slaps a man. A brief jump-scare. Arguing. Dead fish in koi pond.


Husband and wife kiss. Brief sexual references/innuendo.


Several uses of "f--k," plus "motherf----r," "a--hole," "s--t," "son of a bitch," and "idiot."


A character frequently drinks Gatorade after running. Heineken and Pabst Blue Ribbon beers also shown.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

The wife deals with a former drug addiction; she steals prescription pills, hides them, and takes one. Frequent social or background drinking by adults. Characters sometimes seem a bit drunk.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that The Gift is a thriller that offers a new twist on the frequently used "psychotic intruder" formula (The Boy Next Door, etc.). While there's plenty of tension, violence is limited to a brief fight, a slap, arguing, dead fish in a pond, and one quick jump-scare. Frequent strong language includes several uses of "f--k," "a--hole," "bitch," and "s--t." A husband and wife kiss and touch, and there are some brief sexual innuendoes/references. Characters drink fairly frequently, but always in social occasions (twice, it seems like people have had a bit too much). Reference is made to a character's former drug problems; she steals and takes a prescription pill from a neighbor. The movie addresses bullying and its long-term impact.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent of a 10-year-old Written bysah777 October 10, 2019

Creepy thriller best avoided...

Features creepy evil adult revenge for childhood bullying. Discusses/shows heavy themes: child molestation, child attempted murder and rape as revenge. Best avo... Continue reading
Parent of a 5 and 10-year-old Written byKeegs M February 28, 2016

Thriller, The Gift, Chills But A Little Dissapointing

The Gift Is About A Husband & Wife Who Moved From Chicago To LA, and Meet A Childhood Friend. After Being A Little Too Clingy, He Begins To Do Disturbin... Continue reading
Teen, 15 years old Written bythemovieenthusiast August 10, 2015

Excellent movie! Maybe not for kids...

I personally loved the movie and thought it was very well done. There are some disturbing scenes, none of them are very graphic but still it can be scary. I... Continue reading
Teen, 15 years old Written bytamir.v February 18, 2021

Good thriller it is scary and even traumatizing at moments.

It’s a good movie!!! I can’t deny that!! I love psychological thrillers and this is a good one! It is well made and builds up the suspense. Only thing is that i... Continue reading

What's the story?

Simon (Jason Bateman) has a good life. He's just landed a fancy new job and bought a new house with his wife, Robyn (Rebecca Hall); they hope to have a baby, though Robyn has already had one miscarriage. While shopping, they run into an old classmate of Simon's, the slightly strange Gordon "Gordo" Mosley (Joel Edgerton). Gordo begins showing up and offering gifts, making attempts at friendship, but his presence gives Simon the creeps. After Gordo is caught in a lie, Simon tries to break it off with him. But Robyn learns that something terrible happened between the two men during high school, and that things aren't as they seem.

Is it any good?

Making his feature directing debut, Edgerton takes the old thriller formula about a creepy, psychotic intruder and turns it upside down, giving it real-world weight and consequence. As the movie goes along, it hits all the expected beats, and Edgerton gets viewers thinking: Why won't this creepy guy leave this nice couple alone? But then, via some subtly skilled strokes, you start to think that maybe the nice couple isn't so nice, and maybe the creepy guy isn't so bad.

It's a welcome effort from Edgerton, who's part of an Australian film collective that routinely makes intelligent, compelling films (Animal Kingdom, Wish You Were Here, etc.), largely in the crime genre; Edgerton has already worked on several screenplays (The Square, The Rover) and short films. As with the others, THE GIFT peers a little closer at a familiar genre, asking smart questions about what makes it human.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about The Gift's violence. How strong is the violence here compared to what you've seen in other, similar thrillers? How does their impact compare? Do movies have to have moments of actual violence in order to be scary? Why or why not?

  • Do you think this movie improves on a familiar formula? Is it always possible to improve on stories that have seemingly already been done?

  • How much drinking is shown? Does it appear to be social, for pleasure, or for other reasons? What about the wife's pill-taking? What are the consequences? Are they realistic?

  • What does this movie have to say about bullying? Is the bully dealt with in a way that seems reasonable or fair?

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love thrills

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