Want more recommendations for your family?
Sign up for our weekly newsletter for entertainment inspiration
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Has a message about not selling, buying, or taking drugs, but it doesn't really propose alternatives; it paints a picture of a poor, destitute city that has no opportunities to get ahead. It's just as it is.
Positive Role Models
The family members are somewhat sympathetic and do try to support one another. While their actions are highly questionable, they do face the consequences -- sometimes at too high a price.
Violence & Scariness
Characters buy and sell guns, including high-powered rifles. Several scenes of shooting; characters get shot, with spurting blood. A young boy is shot in a drive-by. Kids carry guns; they shoot at a nest of rats, spraying blood all over a kid's shirt. A man beats another man with a liquor bottle, bashing his face bloody. Car slides on ice, smashes into side of road.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Violence & Scariness in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Sex, Romance & Nudity
Brief topless female dancer (breasts partly covered by long hair). Teen main character kisses another teen; tongues are shown. Later, she's given birth to his son. Teen main character ogles a sexy woman dancing and later makes out with her. At home, he smells his fingers. Dancing girls objectified.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Sex, Romance & Nudity in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Constant strong language includes "f--k," "motherf----r," "s--t," the "N" word, "a--hole," "ass," "bitch," "piss," "pr--k," "d--k," "goddamn," "hell," plus "Christ" (as an exclamation).
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Language in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Products & Purchases
Mention of Kmart.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Main characters are drug dealers. Montages show making crack cocaine. Drug buys shown. A secondary character is an addict who goes through painful detox and eventually recovers. A woman snorts cocaine. Scene inside a crack den. Frequent social drinking. Cigarette smoking.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Drinking, Drugs & Smoking in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that White Boy Rick tells the true story of Rick Wershe Jr. (Richie Merritt), who worked for the FBI in the 1980s in Detroit pretending to buy and sell drugs -- and later began selling for real. Violence is frequent and strong, with lots of guns, shooting, characters being shot and killed, blood spurts, and kids carrying guns, and a man bashing another man's face with a bottle. Drugs are also prevalent; they're shown being made, bought, sold, and used. A woman has a painful detox, and a crack den is shown. Social drinking and smoking are also seen. Language is extreme, with constant use of "f--k," "s--t," the "N" word, and more. The teen main character kisses a girl and gets her pregnant (she's shown later, after the child is born); he also kisses an older woman. Women are ogled at dance clubs, and a woman is shown partially topless. Despite some sympathetic characters and a strong family dynamic, the movie is depressing and doesn't seem to know what to say. Matthew McConaughey and Bel Powley co-star. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
This gritty biopic starts well, with fine casting and performances and vivid emotional bonds, but it eventually becomes a stern cautionary tale and sinks into a downbeat, hopeless final act. Directed by Yann Demange ('71), White Boy Rick re-creates a blown-out Detroit landscape, where the perpetual cold, drizzly weather only highlights the graffiti-covered ruins. By comparison, the local roller-skate club, with its throbbing lights and music, feels like paradise. The movie's cast seems to fit right in (especially newcomer Merritt), feeling authentic and home-grown rather than made-up. Even frequent sex symbol McConaughey looks authentically wretched in his greasy mullet and sleazy mustache.
Aside from a few movie-ish conventions (montages, musical needle drops, etc.), the movie surges on its immersive human connections, even between Ricky and the FBI agents (well played by Jennifer Jason Leigh and Rory Cochrane). It also manages a striking visual or two (e.g., Rick carrying a large stuffed duck he found on the sidewalk). The filmmakers decide to stick too close to the real, harrowing story, but they can't seem to find anything to say about it other than "Isn't this terrible?" White Boy Rick can't decide whether it wants to be about the characters or the broken system, and both sides of the story suffer for it.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.