West Side Story (2021)

Movie review by Sandie Angulo Chen, Common Sense Media
West Side Story (2021) Poster Image

Common Sense says

age 13+

Dazzling musical adaptation has violence, language.

PG-13 2022 156 minutes

Parents say

age 14+

Based on 16 reviews

Kids say

age 12+

Based on 49 reviews

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Community Reviews

age 18+

Not appropriate for children… at all

This is an incredibly disturbing take on a classic that was ruined by Spielberg. I mean, if you like Temple of Doom blood splatter combined with singing and dancing, then great for you. Not appropriate for children in the slightest. For adults, if you want to spend nearly 3 hours of your life feeling horrible about the world, have at it. I can’t believe no one is mentioning this online at all, but that’s probably because not enough people are seeing this bomb!

This title has:

Too much violence
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
6 people found this helpful.
age 13+

Be aware of the violence - realistic and intense.

This is my all-time favorite musical. Stephen Spielberg did it justice! Outstanding music, dancing, and acting. The set and the costumes are remarkable. It is definitely oscar worthy! What parents need to know is that the violence is worse than the three dot rating Common Sense gave it. This is primarily because it is so realistic. Common sense media also gives threes for cartoon violence, but because this is so realistic, I consider it much worse. It is really gross and could be disturbing to some to see the nail in someone's ear. The camera is on it for several minutes (lots of blood) and you see someone pull it out. You also witness two people being stabbed. It isn't hidden from the camera in any way. There is also very visual hitting in the face happening (one of the characters is a trained boxer and people really hammer into each other - and the folly artist earned their pay check for the sounds of someone getting punched repeatedly in the face). The use of pipes, chains, knives, and a gun is really tense and scary. An entire dance scene revolves around (no pun intended) Tony trying to get a gun away from Riff and I was holding my breath the whole time even though I knew it wasn't going to kill anyone (because I know the story). Still, it was hard to watch. Also, they drop the F bomb in a PG-13 movie. That surprised me. I did not let my 10 year old watch this only because my sister gave me a heads up about the violence, otherwise I might have because I remembered the original 1961 movie to be nothing close to this with the violence. Also, any stage production of the musical is not this violent either. The attempted rape scene is also hard to take - I couldn't watch. Having said all of that, everything else about the musical was just fantastic!!!!

This title has:

Educational value
Great messages
3 people found this helpful.

Movie Details

Our Editors Recommend

  • West Side Story Poster Image

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  • In the Heights Poster Image

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    Joyous, touching musical has some innuendo, language.

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  • Romeo + Juliet Poster Image

    Romeo + Juliet

    Optically brilliant, violent update of classic.

    age 16+

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