Parent reviews for West Side Story (2021)

West Side Story (2021) Poster Image

Common Sense says

age 13+

Based on our expert review

Parents say

age 14+

Based on 15 reviews

Kids say

age 12+

Based on 49 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.
age 16+
Families should be aware of the violence, language and rape scene.

This title has:

Great role models
Too much violence
2 people found this helpful.
age 11+

Depends on maturity

West Side Story (2021) has numerous amazing role models like Tony (Ansel Eglort). The message is beautiful and was conveyed nicely. It was beautifully choreographed and scripted. Now for the questionable things. Let's start with violence, the film consists of multiple fistfights between the Sharks and the Jets, the slightly disturbing mention of attacking a child, when Chino (Josh Andrés Rivera) shoots Tony with a gun about five times, and more. So -sex Maria (Rachel Zegler) sleeps with Tony and is seen "naked" when they wake up, Anita (Ariana DeBose) was sexually assaulted by multiple members of the Jets who tried to remove her dress as they piled on top of her (her bra is seen), and Anita and Bernardo (David Alvarez) are seen passionately kissing and having implied sex. Multiple curse words and insults are used and shared between the Jets and the Sharks. The words used are a**, sh*t, bit*h, g-damnit, spick, Polak, bastard, dickless, titty, and black pig. Now last but not least Drugs/Drinking/Smoking, Characters are shown drinking alcohol and discussing drugs. Overall it depends on the child's maturity and if they can handle death and gore.

This title has:

Great messages
Great role models
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
1 person found this helpful.
age 8+

Perfect for the whole family!

This movie was so amazing! Don’t believe the other reviews, this movie was not at all inappropriate. I went with all of my kids and we all enjoyed it. It really does the original justice. There is some very mild brief language and some kissing but who hasn’t seen kissing! Would definitely see again with my kids: Marcia (8) Cynthia (10) Marco (11) Samuel (13) Joseph (15) Elizabeth (16)

This title has:

Great messages
Great role models
1 person found this helpful.
age 16+

Should be rated R

I'm glad I didn't take my 14 year old! There are some pretty violent scenes, two violent deaths, and one scene where a gang rape is about to happen but someone stops it just in time. No sex scenes but there are a couple times where it's alluded to including one showing a young couple in bed. One of the characters is grieving and alludes to shooting herself. There are also references to drugs and derogatory slang words for private body parts.

This title has:

Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
1 person found this helpful.
age 13+

Stunning Update That Celebrates the Original and Further Improves Upon It.

The story is the same and maybe even better with small changes that help create more historical and cultural context and relevance than before. The cinematography, acting, singing, dancing, choreography and re-staging are all masterful and fun. The ending is stirring in a more profound way. Steven Spielberg has made another masterpiece that honors the past but still take everything to a new level. The violence of the final rumble and closing scenes may be a bit much for 11-13 year olds but I think it is a fantastic movie for discussion at 13-14+.

This title has:

Great messages
1 person found this helpful.
age 13+

The film I didn't know I wanted

I did not want this film, I was not asking for this film and I thought Spielberg was a busybody that was out of touch for even wanting to make this film. I was wrong on all counts. This is the film I wanted the 1961 to be. This is the film that Rita Moreno deserves (and she once again is stunning in her role). This film is sumptuously shot and offers some choice nostalgic references but is fully its own work of art. This film corrects the previous film's racial transgressions and Spielberg goes further to frame this version in a stronger societal moment. We are rewarded with complexity, richness and a Bernstein and Sondheim soundtrack that pounds its way into your head.
age 18+

Do not let your kids see this movie

There is a rape scene folks! And the boys who attempted it do not face any ramifications at the end. Maria walks away as a martyr, and nothing left is seen or heard of Anita. The film may be racially & ethnically diverse, but completely fails in female casting and power.

This title has:

Great messages
Too much violence
Too much consumerism
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
age 18+
Not appropriate for children Heads up about the stabbing, rape scene, and profanity