Movie review by
Tracey Petherick, Common Sense Media
Twist Movie Poster Image
Modern take on Oliver Twist has some violence, bad language.
  • R
  • 2021
  • 88 minutes

Parents say

age 13+
Based on 3 reviews

Kids say

age 13+
Based on 2 reviews

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A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

The power of imagination and its ability to take you anywhere you want to go. What it means to be part of a family -- even if it's a chosen, as opposed to biological, family. The importance of teamwork -- working together and supporting each other. The value of seeing the good in people and learning who you can trust. Though much of the story focuses on a criminal underworld, ultimately the movie shows that crime doesn't pay.

Positive Role Models

Several characters display contradictory values -- they're petty criminals but they have good hearts and a strong moral code. Dodge and Batesy are thieves but they justify their actions -- they only steal from criminals. They are also generous, brave, and loyal. Red is cool-headed, playful, and tough, but she also shows tenderness and vulnerability. Oliver is a talented artist who shows inner strength and independence. He's sensitive, kind, and charming, and ultimately wants to "go straight." A tactless comment about guys being stronger than girls shows his naivety but he is swiftly rebuked by Red. The production sees women playing some of the male roles from the original story.


In the opening scene, a character is thrown off a roof and hits the ground, dead. It's alarming but not graphic with no blood. Later another character falls off a building and their body is shown lying on the ground in a pool of blood. Several scenes in which characters are holding guns, sometimes pointing them at people. Twice, characters are shot and some blood is seen. Several fist fights include a brawl in a pub where lots of punches are thrown, a glass is smashed over someone's head, and a pool cue is used to hit someone. Another fist fight ends with five police officers lying on the ground unconscious. Character frequently behaves sinisterly and aggressively, alongside their Doberman dog. Character left with a bloody nose and lip after an off-screen incident of domestic violence. A character hits another between the legs with their walking stick, causing great pain. A character kisses another, seemingly against their will, holding their face aggressively.


Flirty and sometimes smarmy behavior between characters. One phone sex comment. Two characters swim together fully clothed, then kiss. Later they kiss again.


One instance of "f--k," several "s--t," one "bastard" and two "arse." Other language includes "sod off," "bloody," "hell," and "screwed."


Some characters place value on material things, wanting the best clothes and shoes. Boxes of stolen goods from a sports store are stacked up in a warehouse -- the brand of trainer is clearly depicted. A group of food delivery cyclists are carrying bags that look very much like a U.K. food delivery service company.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Character has a glass of red wine at the dinner table. Later two characters drink red wine together. Characters drink pints of lager in the pub, with one of them seemingly drunk. Two instances of a character smoking a cigarette. Characters drink beer from bottles.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Twist is a gritty British modern day retelling of Oliver Twist, with fast-paced action, gender-flipped characters, and some strong language and violence. Though the main characters are all thieves and hustlers, they mostly display good moral values and positive traits such as loyalty, bravery, and kindness. The value of teamwork is a key theme, but there's no escaping the fact that petty crime is being glorified. One particularly villainous character -- Sikes (Lena Headey) -- could bother younger viewers and the story briefly touches on the death of a mother and the idea of being alone in the world. There are several guns, two shootings, and some fist fights along with language that includes one "f--k." After a character is seen with a bloody lip and nose, it's suggested that she has been the victim of domestic violence. There is some smoking and drinking with one depiction of drunkenness. A lot of the characters initially put great importance on material goods, and some well-known brands are depicted. Despite this, the overall tone is one of a mischievous adventure, with cool characters and a rousing soundtrack.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byfunyonrings March 5, 2021
Parent of a 13-year-old Written byMax B. February 7, 2021

Perfect family action fun.

A truly entertaining modern take on the classic story. Twist is a fast paced heist-caper with spectacular rooftop chases across modern London. The pace will k... Continue reading
Kid, 10 years old August 10, 2021

Fun Action Heavy Spin On A Classic

I think that if your child is mature enough to understand an action movie and that some characters are not role models, this movie will be nice to watch espec... Continue reading
Kid, 10 years old January 29, 2021

Quite violent

I think it’s great but is quite voilent a few swears and one bullet shot

What's the story?

A modern interpretation of Dickens' Oliver Twist, TWIST sees artist Oliver (Raff Law) get involved with a rag-tag group of young grifters, led by master thief Fagin (Michael Caine). Seeing the potential in this streetwise charmer, the gang immediately enlist Oliver in their latest hustle -- an audacious art heist to retrieve a valuable painting that was stolen from Fagin many years before. As they come up against a smarmy art dealer, two earnest police officers, and the psychopathic Sikes (Lena Headey), Oliver and his new friends prove themselves to be expert con artists -- but when the heat is on, do they really know who they can trust?

Is it any good?

With a free running chase across London rooftops and a murder in the first five minutes, this modern spin on Dickens' classic sets itself up as a high-octane crime caper right from the off. Reminiscent of any number of Guy Ritchie movies, Twist is a morally ambiguous tale. Baby-faced con artists justify their thieving ways (they only steal from criminals) and charm themselves into the audience's affections with their audacious rule-breaking and lovable rogue shtick. A sparkling cast of top British talent includes the legendary Caine as a modern-day Fagin, and newcomer Law (son of Jude Law and Sadie Frost) as Oliver. Uncannily like his real-life father, Law has swagger but also a certain sensitivity. Sophie Simnett as Red (aka Nancy) is coolheaded and natural, while Headey plays the psychopathic Sikes with a chilling malevolence.

A misjudged moment when Sikes kisses Red -- against her will -- is overly uncomfortable and sinister, but goes against the generally larky tone of the story. Much is changed from the original Oliver Twist -- not least the gender-flipped Dodge and Sikes characters and the core plot line surrounding an elaborate art heist. But the essence is still here -- orphans, misfits, and thieves with honor working together to stick it to the man. It's clever, funny, and full of energy. Edgy enough for teens to enjoy but compelling enough for their parents too.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the violence in Twist. Did the overall tone of the movie affect how impactful the violence was? What's the impact of media violence on kids?

  • Discuss the language used in the movie. Did it seem necessary or excessive? What did it contribute to the movie?

  • Discuss the "gender flipping" in the movie -- when a traditionally male character is re-imagined as a female role. Did it work for you? How did these characters compare to how you might have seen them portrayed before? Can you think of any other movies that have used "gender flipping" for certain roles?

  • Do you think any of the characters in the movie make good role models? Fagin's gang are hustlers but do they also have strong morals? Which characters displayed strengths like empathy, teamwork, or integrity?

  • How did this retelling of Dickens' classic compare to the original story? Do you think this is a clever interpretation or an unnecessary update? Should modern adaptations stick more faithfully to the novels they are based on?

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