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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Taking responsibility for others, showing loyalty to family. Homophobic, racist, and sexist language and behavior. Violence and criminal activity is prominent.
Positive Role Models
Rather than go to school, Dean works hard to support himself and his troubled younger brother, Jimmy, after being abandoned by their parents. Bill has a checkered past but after being released from prison attempts to mend his ways. But along the way he still occasionally lies, sets a poor example to his sons, and behaves selfishly. Various supporting characters try to help support and encourage Bill and his sons, including parole officers, teachers, child protection agency workers, and the police.
The main cast is predominantly White and male, with slightly more diversity and gender representation within the supporting roles. Some racist, sexist, and homophobic behavior/name calling. Generalizations -- both positive and negative -- are made about about Polish and British people. The family dynamic shies away from more "traditonal" portrayals usually seen on-screen.
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Violence & Scariness
Reference to drunken violence. Threatening behavior used to intimidate others. Male character punches a woman in the face. Reference to a character being imprisoned partly due to charges relating to violence. Character fires a BB rifle. Adult character bends back the wrist of a kid and injures them. Character slaps someone in the face. Character grabbed by throat and face. Characters threaten and assault others with blunt instruments. Someone is kicked to the ground by multiple assailants. Punches, kicks, and biting in a brawl. Gunshot fired. Character beaten unconscious. Bloody injuries. References to rape in prison.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
References to sex and sex work. Crude sexual simulations, played mostly for comic effect. Flirting. Kissing. Characters strip to their underwear.
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Language used includes "gimps," "arse," "piss," "f--k," "skank," "bastard," "bloody hell," "s--t," "a--hole," "bollocks," "bitch," "f----rs," "c--ksucking," "suck my d--k," and "c--t." The British homophobic slurs "bender" and "batty boy" are also used, as are derogatory slang phrases for women. A Sikh character is referred to as "the turban." A grown woman is patronized by being called a “good girl.” Another is referred to as "pure filth."
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Products & Purchases
A young character experiencing poverty barters at school to obtain trainers and mature graphic novels. Another character references illegal gambling in prison. Characters sell drugs and steal to make and acquire money.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Underage kid appears hungover after drinking beer. Played for comic effect. Reference to drinking to excess and drug taking. Drinking in pubs. Character is seen to be extremely drunk. Reference to a character being imprisoned partly for dealing class-A drugs. Several characters are career drug dealers. Two young characters become drug dealers to make money. Other characters cut up, closely examine, and then snort cocaine. Characters smoke cigarettes and crack cocaine. Characters smoke marijuana, including kids.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Wild Bill is a well-crafted British comedy-drama that features drugs, occasional violence, and strong language. Having recently been released from prison, Bill (Charlie Creed-Miles) tries to reunite with his sons Dean (Will Poulter) and Jimmy (Sammy Williams) who have been abandoned by their mother. This family dynamic provides the movie's positive messages, despite being dysfunctional at times. The supporting cast consist of a number of criminals who use violence to hurt those who cross them. When Bill references his time in prison, there are some allusions to sexual violence. The cast is predominantly male and White. Some women and people of color feature, but only in supporting roles. The language is strong and consistent and includes "c--t," variants of "f--k," and racist, homophobic, and sexist slurs. Sex is referenced and one scene between a young couple shows them stripping down to their underwear, but there is nothing graphic. Drinking, drugs, and smoking feature often and are also occasionally shown to be done by kids. Drug dealing is central to the main plot, as characters both sell and use powdered cocaine, crack cocaine, and marijuana. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
Like its central character, this comedy-drama is a likable underdog in the collection of black-humored British crime movies influenced by the likes of Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels. Creed-Miles's leading man performance in Wild Bill is elevated by his agitated twitches and adept comic timing, both of which draw us in to how uncomfortable Bill finds it to be responsible for anything, let alone being a parent. But he also manages to convey a real sense of hostility and danger when the story calls for a glimpse back at Bill's fiery old ways. An early role for Poulter as eldest son Dean is another high point, particularly in the story's lighter moments, where he finds new ways to scold his hapless father.
Where the script shows its limitations is in its supporting cast, with female characters bolted on as little more than love interests and cliches. The collection of local villains is also less well-drawn than the leads, as the writers can't seem to decide quite how dangerous they're supposed to be. The ending arrives with no real surprises, either. But by that point, Bill and his brood have done enough to wrap up a credible, comical tale about trying to change your ways.
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.