A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this gritty police drama set in New York City in the months following 9/11 begins (in flashback) as a scared, cornered young boy shoots and kills a violent man and then accidentally kills another man. There's a good deal of blood, plus several more killings later in the movie and strong verbal violence. Sexual content is limited to once scene, but it's a very disturbing one in which a grown man gives oral sex to a pre-teen boy (the act is shown from a distance, and the man's head is seen hovering over the boy's crotch). Language is nearly constant, with "f--k" in almost every sentence.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
In 1986, young Jonathan "Milk" White accidentally kills two lowlifes in the New York City's Queensborough projects. His friend Vinnie agrees to keep it secret, though Vinnie also has a disturbing secret of his own. Years later, in 2002, grown-up Jonathan (Channing Tatum) is married with a daughter and works as a New York police officer. Unfortunately, anonymous letters are being sent and published in the paper that relate directly to Jonathan's past. The police captain (Ray Liotta) puts Jonathan on the case, but he may have other reasons for doing so. Who's behind the letters, and how will this past tragedy affect Jonathan's future?
Is it any good?
For his third movie, writer/director Dito Montiel goes out of his way to capture a "true" New York City feel, with lots of honest-to-goodness, run-down streets and buildings, graffiti, and garbage. Unfortunately, he puts less effort into his script. It's hard to believe that a boy could kill two grown men, and it's even harder to believe that Jonathan would spend every second brooding about it. (After a long day of brooding at work, he drives to his old neighborhood so he can sit in his car and brood some more.)
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the film's violence. Is it necessary to the story? How would such a violent childhood affect the main character growing up?
Do you consider any of the characters role models? Are they intended to be?
Did the police do the right thing in trying to protect Jonathan and cover up his crimes? Is it true that no one cares about his victims?
- In theaters: November 4, 2011
- On DVD or streaming: February 21, 2012
- Cast: Al Pacino, Channing Tatum, Katie Holmes, Ray Liotta
- Director: Dito Montiel
- Studio: Anchor Bay Entertainment
- Genre: Drama
- Run time: 93 minutes
- MPAA rating: R
- MPAA explanation: violence, pervasive language and brief disturbing sexual content
- Last updated: September 21, 2019
For kids who love thrills
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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.
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