The Murder of Nicole Brown Simpson

Movie review by
Jeffrey M. Anderson, Common Sense Media
The Murder of Nicole Brown Simpson Movie Poster Image
Violent true-crime thriller is a badly filmed bad idea.
  • R
  • 2020
  • 85 minutes

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A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

No real messages here, other than to provoke and titillate like a tabloid story. After the credits roll, the movie does offer a real-life abuse hotline number to call.

Positive Role Models & Representations

It would be nice to think that Nicole is a strong female character, but she spends most of the movie as a victim, barely in control of her own destiny.

Violence

Blood and gore. Stabbing and throat-slicing. A man strangles a woman, suffocates her with a plastic bag, and sets her car on fire. Dead bodies. Nightmare sequence shows a character being attacked and thrown around a room by an unseen force. Woman with bruised face. Threats, yelling, and arguing. Brick thrown through car window. Alarms going off.

Sex

Somewhat explicit sex scene shows a man thrusting on top of a woman; no graphic nudity. Mature sex talk and sexual banter. Man's naked bottom almost visible, but it's obscured by shadows. Two characters who are about to kiss are interrupted. Shirtless male. Woman in skimpy/revealing clothing.

Language

Strong language includes uses of "f--k," "s--t," "bitch," "son of a bitch," "d--k," "hell," and "goddamn."

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

A supporting character is depicted as having a vague substance abuse problem; she slurs her words and weaves while walking. Cocaine shown. Characters drink at social gatherings.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that The Murder of Nicole Brown Simpson is a poorly made, tabloid-like true-crime movie that tries to argue that a serial killer committed the murders that O.J. Simpson was charged with. It feels extremely exploitative, especially considering that it ends with a recording of a 911 call that the real Nicole made the night she died. Expect to see blood and gore, throat-slashing, stabbing, and strangling, dead bodies, and more. In a nightmare sequence, a woman is attacked and thrown around a room by an unseen force. A couple have sex; there's thrusting, but no graphic nudity. A man's naked bottom is partly visible in low light. Two women almost kiss, there's some strong sex talk/banter, and both women and men wear skimpy/revealing clothes. Language includes several uses of "f--k," "s--t," and more. A supporting character appears to have some kind of substance abuse problem, but no details are given.

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What's the story?

In THE MURDER OF NICOLE BROWN SIMPSON, newly divorced mom Nicole (Mena Suvari) is raising her two children by former husband O.J. Simpson. Anxious and afraid due to her ex's frequent attempts to intimidate her, Nicole tries desperately to get her life in order, including going to therapy and hiring handyman Glen (Nick Stahl) to get her condo into shape. Unfortunately, after sleeping with Glen, Nicole learns that he's not the most stable person in the world, and he threatens to kill her. The cops don't believe her, and her attempts to find out more about him come to nothing. Then, one fateful night in 1994, Nicole and her friend Ron (Drew Roy) meet a violent end. Did O.J. do it, or was it Glen?

Is it any good?

If it weren't so flat-out cruel to the real-life people involved in its tragic story, this true-crime "thriller" might have entertained cult audiences willing to laugh at its jaw-dropping awfulness. After the great documentary O.J.: Made in America effectively placed this tabloid story into a broader historical perspective -- arguing that race and celebrity are at the center of just about everything -- trashy exploitation like The Murder of Nicole Brown Simpson seems even more thoughtless. It essentially wants to argue that a serial killer ("The Casanova Killer") committed the murders that O.J. was charged with. But to do this, it cruelly asks us to watch and identify with Nicole in the months leading up to her inevitable death.

Then there's the matter of the incredibly poor filmmaking and awkward, overwritten dialogue that seems intent on explaining things more than once (or, more likely, killing time and stretching this non-story out to 85 minutes). Wobbly camerawork, lame attempts at suspense -- shadows darting past the frame, the killer magically appearing and disappearing -- and a truly bizarre nightmare sequence are interspersed with dramatic moments in which Nicole hangs out with Kris Kardashian (Agnes Bruckner) and predicts her own death. At least Taryn Manning provides a campy, unhinged performance as interior designer Faye Resnick. But otherwise, The Murder of Nicole Brown Simpson is no fun.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about The Murder of Nicole Brown Simpson's violence. How did it affect you? Does the fact that it's based on real life make it seem more gory or upsetting than other movie violence?

  • How is sex depicted? Is there trust or communication involved? What values are imparted?

  • How is drinking and/or substance abuse depicted? Is it glamorized? Are there consequences? Why does that matter?

  • Does the movie make a reasonable case for the "Casanova Killer" being the actual murderer? Why or why not?

  • How does it feel watching a fairly sympathetic character like Nicole while knowing that she'll die at the end?

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love dramas and thrills

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