By Jeffrey Anderson,
Common Sense Media Reviewer
Common Sense Media Reviewers
Well-meaning but uneven desegregation drama has language.
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Takes on prejudice, asking big questions such as "Why do White people hate Black people so much?" and "If I'm not racist, but I don't do anything about other racists, does that make me just as bad?" Also questions where racism comes from. The big issue -- the idea of mandatory desegregation -- is shown as problematic, but the movie doesn't offer alternative ideas. Still, the major takeaway is that, despite all the layers and gray areas, the best you can do is try to be kind to everyone.
Positive Role Models
The movie has four "good" characters, though some are a bit thinly written. Black teen Wendy stands up to hatred with love and forgiveness at her new White school. Her father has the same values and is an EMT who saves lives. White police officer Billy tries not to be racist and frequently shows kindness to Black characters, but he could be seen as a "White savior" character. His wife, Pat, advocates kindness and appreciates her husband's attempts to do the same.
Story hinges on issues of integration and race. Some positive depictions of Black characters, but -- largely because of the 1970s setting -- they're generally portrayed as somewhat powerless and largely without agency. Some minor Black characters are depicted as pimps, sex workers, thieves. A White woman is from an unnamed foreign country (the actor is from Siberia) and is teased for "talking funny," but she still shows kindness and forgiveness. Racial slurs are used in a negative way.
Inclusion information: Black actors
Inclusion information powered by
Did we miss something on diversity? Suggest an update.
Violence & Scariness
A character gets shot; he throws himself in front of a bullet to protect a teen. Man shoves teen girl down on grass and punches another man repeatedly; bloody face. White characters throw rocks at two Black characters in a car. Tense, angry protest sequence with man shoving cop. Robber is arrested, slammed into roof of car. Strong violence described in dialogue. Arguing, shouting.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Violence & Scariness in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Sex, Romance & Nudity
Teen couple caught kissing. Sex-related dialogue. Married couple kissing.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Sex, Romance & Nudity in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Extremely strong, constant language includes "f--k," "motherf----r," "c--ksucker," "s--t," "t-ts," "p---y," "a--hole," "whore," "goddamn," "pr--k," "balls," "hell," "damn." Racial slurs include the "N" word, "nigga," "coon," "spade," "spear chuckers," "negro," "in the jungle," "cracker."
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Language in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Character drinks several cans of beer on front stoop. Casual social drinking, mostly beer and whiskey. Cigarette smoking. Some pot smoking and cigar smoking. A character appears to have used heroin; a rubber hose is tied to his arm. Spoken references to drugs.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Drinking, Drugs & Smoking in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that The Walk is a drama about an attempt to desegregate Boston schools in 1974. The story focuses on the buildup of tension before the first day of school, but the movie is so talky and static that it lacks any drama or power. Language is constant and extremely strong, with uses of "f--k," "c--ksucker," "pr--k," and many more, as well as many racial slurs. Violence includes a man being shot, a man shoving a teen girl to the ground and repeatedly punching another man (with blood), teens throwing rocks at a car, tension and shoving at a protest, and violent dialogue. There's also kissing and sex-related dialogue. Characters drink beer and whiskey, mainly in social settings, and smoke cigarettes, cigars, and pot. A character appears to have used heroin (he's shown with a rubber hose tied around his arm).
To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Where to Watch
Videos and Photos
There aren't any parent reviews yet. Be the first to review this title.
What's the Story?
In THE WALK, it's 1974 in Boston, and the Massachusetts Supreme Court has ordered a mandatory desegregation busing plan. Several high school seniors have been forced to switch schools, with some White students attending the Black Roxbury school, and some Black students attending the White Southie school. Kate (Katie Douglas), who lives with her progressive parents Pat (Anastasiya Mitrunen) and police officer Billy (Justin Chatwin), has started dating local "bad boy" John (Matthew Blade), picking up racist behavior as a result. Meanwhile, widowed EMT Lamont (Terrence Howard) and his daughter, Wendy (Lovie Simone), are preparing for Wendy's year at Southie with courage and forgiveness. At work, Billy feels pressure from his old Southie cronies (Malcolm McDowell and Jeremy Piven) to try to prevent integration, but Billy is committed to protecting all the kids, regardless of color.
Is It Any Good?
Well-meaning and full of progressive, anti-racist themes, this drama is nevertheless directed like a static after-school special. It's all heavy dialogue, with little emotional involvement or visual flair. The Walk -- not to be confused with the same-named 2015 movie about tightrope walker Philippe Petit -- opens with several slides full of historical data. It's a clunky way to pass on a great deal of information that's essentially about the Supreme Court outlawing segregation and the many years that passed while nothing was being done. And while the movie seems to agree that mandatory busing of kids to other districts wasn't the greatest idea, it doesn't offer any better ones.
Likely modeling itself after Crash, The Walk tries hard to paint its characters in shades of gray, but it also has a need to drive home its messages, resulting in most characters neatly falling on either one or the other side of the line. The most interesting character is Kate, who was raised well by her progressive parents but easily slips into racist behavior anyway. Douglas plays her in a rounded, organic way, but the movie still doesn't quite know what to do with the character or how to explore her. And some of the setups are so laughable -- Pat carrying groceries through a shadowy parking lot at night, for one -- that they negate the scenes' meaning. The big moment -- the first day of school and a violent protest -- feels artificial and clumsy. It's less a history lesson than a sleep "walk."
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about The Walk's violence. How did it make you feel? Was it exciting? Shocking? What did the movie show or not show to achieve this effect? Why is that important?
How does the movie address issues related to race and diversity? Do non-White characters have power or agency? Why, or why not?
Is Billy's character a positive role model? In what ways could he improve? Is he also a "White savior"?
Why do you think it took so long for Boston (and other cities) to implement desegregation? Why was the idea to bus teens to other schools problematic?
How are drug use, smoking, and drinking depicted? Are they glamorized? Are there consequences?
- In theaters: June 10, 2022
- On DVD or streaming: June 10, 2022
- Cast: Justin Chatwin, Katie Douglas, Lovie Simone, Terrence Howard
- Director: Daniel Adams
- Inclusion Information: Black actors
- Studio: Vertical Entertainment
- Genre: Drama
- Run time: 105 minutes
- MPAA rating: R
- MPAA explanation: language throughout including racial slurs, and some violence
- Last updated: December 7, 2022
Inclusion information powered by
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.
Suggest an Update
Where to Watch
Our Editors Recommend
Best History Documentaries
Black History on the Screen: Arts, Business & Culture
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