A brilliant film that is a good example of how to properly use violence, swearing, sex, and drugs as cinematic tools. Without them, Trainspotting would be nowhere near as dark, humorous, or memorable. That said, it is not a film for the faint of heart (or stomach), or for those not mature enough to handle it. "Hard" swearing is used in almost every sentence. Drugs are shown being explicitly taken. Numerous people are bloodily beaten for little reason. Sex is shown twice explicitly. But, it all has a purpose. The swearing enforces the lower class Edinburgh atmosphere. The violence illustrates the insanity and wantonness of one of the characters, Begbie. Nobody likes him because he is always violent and cruel. The sex always has consequences and is not taken lightly. And the drugs are not glorified or demonised, simply included as they are, with both the high and the withdrawal, the carefree life and the stealing and betrayal required to uphold it. And at its core, Trainspotting isn't really about heroin. That's the main misconception I see about it- it is set in the '80s heroin epidemic, all the main characters take it, but to say it is a "graphic look into heroin addiction" is like saying that The Godfather is a "graphic look into the mafia". It uses the mafia for almost all of its plot, but at its core it is about Michael Corleone, not the organisation he runs. Likewise, Trainspotting uses heroin for its main plot points, but the film at its core is about Mark Renton and his search for redemption and purpose in life, not the drugs he takes.
Trainspotting is a deep film with roaring humour that is unforgettable, although it relies upon drugs, violence, and excrement (example: a man is embarrassed about having let loose his bowel upon his bedsheets, so he gets in a tug-of-war over them so that the other person does not see what's inside them, and ends up spraying diarrhoea's produce all over three people eating breakfast, this may sound stupid but it's incredibly funny). It also features character development and commentary on life, youth, society, friendship, sex, Scotland, and (of course) drugs. These combine to make the finest piece of cinema that I have ever seen. However, it relies almost exclusively upon adult content to achieve this. As such, it is not appropriate for children of any age, and some younger teens might not be able to handle it. I have heard of adolescents thinking it a glorification of heroin, and proceeding to think heroin cool. Know your child. I personally saw this when I was 13, and understood it fine and was mature enough to handle the violence, sex, swearing, and drugs. Anyone above 15 who is at a normal level of maturity should be able to get it.
If you are mature enough and tolerant of swearing, sex, and violence, see Trainspotting. It is a truly brilliant film that you will never forget. I give it a 10/10,as I have been unable to find one thing that I dislike about it.