We Are Your Friends

Movie review by
Jeffrey M. Anderson, Common Sense Media
We Are Your Friends Movie Poster Image
Empty, drug-filled drama about quest for music, fame, fun.
  • R
  • 2015
  • 96 minutes

Parents say

age 15+
Based on 4 reviews

Kids say

age 16+
Based on 3 reviews

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A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

Most of the movie is all about partying and trying to get famous. The movie tries to encourage artists to make their work personal and to put their own feelings and experiences into what they create, but that message rings hollow in such an impersonal film.

Positive Role Models & Representations

The DJ character learns to make "personal" music, expressing his own feelings and experiences, rather than following the crowd. He does something good and selfless at the very end of the film, but along the way, he indulges in quite a bit of reckless, selfish behavior.


Scenes of punching, fighting, with scrapes, bruises, and scratches on faces. A supporting character dies of substance abuse.


Three topless women shown. Quick sex scenes in a car and a bathroom; longer sex scene in a hotel bed. Kissing. Women are generally objectified. Partners cheat on one another.


Strong, frequent language includes "f--k," "s--t," "motherf----r," "p---y," "a--hole," "t-ts," "c--t," "bitch," "d--k," "jerk off," "piss." Middle finger gestures.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

A supporting character is a drug dealer. Main character has a PCP trip (melting colors, etc.). Drugs are shown/used -- including cocaine, pot, Ecstasy, and a spliff (combination of tobacco and pot). Drinking/partying. Painful hangovers.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that We Are Your Friends is a drama about DJ culture in Southern California's San Fernando Valley. Teens may be drawn in by the pulsing electronic dance music or stars Zac Efron and Emily Ratajkowski, but the material is definitely geared toward more mature viewers. Topless women are shown (and women are objectified in general), and there are sex scenes and kissing. Language is very strong, with frequent use of "f--k," "s--t," "c--t," and many others. Characters get in fights and drink a lot, as well as doing many different kinds of drugs, from cocaine to Ecstasy and pot. A key character is a drug dealer, and one character dies, apparently from consuming too much during a party.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byFaithOJ September 29, 2020

I never thought I'd love, but it's touching and it's the art music

I think that you should watch it with the perspective of your love for music. I love that it talks about the connection of music to the body, soul and spirit.
Adult Written byterry j November 11, 2017

Inspiring, fun, appropriate

me and my kid loved this movie!
Teen, 15 years old Written bytra127200 May 21, 2018

Zac Efron!!!!

I love any movie Zac Efron is in he is a great actor. Amazing part after the party (SPOILER ALERT) with the boy dying really shows teens a good lesson to learn... Continue reading
Kid, 9 years old May 13, 2016

Entertaining but drug and sex filled drama/comedy doesn't serve up too many laughs.

My rating:R for sexual content, nudity, language, disturbing images, and drug /alcohol use.

What's the story?

In the San Fernando Valley, four friends have hopes for a better life. Cole Carter (Zac Efron) wants to be a DJ, Ollie (Shiloh Fernandez) wants to be an actor, and Squirrel (Alex Shaffer) and Mason (Jonny Weston) hope to come along for the ride. The friends try to make a little money at a local nightclub, but nothing really works until Cole meets a famous DJ, James (Wes Bentley), and starts getting some expert advice. Meanwhile, the friends start working for a shady real estate broker (Jon Bernthal); at the same time, Cole becomes attracted to James' girlfriend, Sophie (Emily Ratajkowski). If he's going to be a success, Cole must learn to embrace what's real in his life and put it into his music.

Is it any good?

Zac Efron and Emily Ratajkowski are both extremely attractive people who seem better suited to modeling than acting; they give empty portrayals as empty characters in an empty film. But at least the music is good. WE ARE YOUR FRIENDS is about characters who don't really seem like they would be friends in real life. They have very little in common, and their goals are superficial: fame, fortune, and a good time.

This could have been a great party movie, if it weren't so lethargic and distracted -- or it could have been an inspirational musical, if it weren't so lifeless. It borrows just about every one of its plot twists from other movies, and even if Cole's eventual musical creation is exciting, the conceit behind it is stale. Everything rests on the shoulders of Efron, with his blank expression (he looks the same while attending a funeral and playing music), and Ratajkowski, with her posed, pursed lips. Still, it's likely that skilled actors would have made this shallow material even worse.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the alcohol, smoking, and drug use in We Are Your Friends. Are substances glamorized? What are the consequences? Are they realistic?

  • What did you learn about electronic music from this movie? Why is that kind of music appealing or unappealing?

  • How does the movie portray sex? Are partners viewed as companions, conquests, or both? Are women objectified? How? Parents, talk to your teens about your own values regarding sex and relationships.

  • The movie is in favor of "personal" works of art -- i.e. art in which the creator has put in his or her own experiences and feelings. Have you ever created anything that felt personal to you?

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love music

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