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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Spoiled, bad behavior has few consequences for most of the movie.
Positive Role Models
Mrs. Kingsley, the Headmistress, has a knack for relating to teens. She speaks to Poppy in a way that she can understand, while standing her ground. "You are cleverer and better than this," she tells Poppy after a round of bad behavior. "Show [your father] that you can rise to the occasion. Don't give up on yourself." Poppy actually listens to her.
Violence & Scariness
Mention of the main character's mother who had died.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
The ease with which girls make out with guys is startling. Poppy's friend is in bed with her boyfriend, of which the viewer sees bare shoulders, implying that they are naked. Girls tromp about in next to nothing. References to sexual positions.
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"S--t" is the first and second word in the movie. From there it doesn't get much better: "bi-yach," "suck," "asshole," "Christ," "bloody", "asses," "slutty," "whorey," "s--t brain," "prostitute," "bitches," "friggin." Most of these words are frequent insults lobbed among girls.
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Products & Purchases
In Malibu it's all about the clothes and the swag. Mentioned specifically: Jimmy Choo, Gucci, iPhone, People magazine, US Weekly, Target, Manohlo Blanik, etc...
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Underage buying of alcohol and consuming in excess. Girls are so drunk they tell of being passed out in one another's vomit. One girl vomits during the lacrosse game the next day.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that teens will want to see this girl-bonding movie because of Emma Roberts' star appeal. And though there is a redemptive quality to the movie in the end, the damage is done by the very fact that her father would let her have unlimited Jimmy Choo's and Gucci ensembles in her closet to begin with. Although she proves to be a good kid after all, Poppy gets away with a whole lot of obnoxious behavior, which is the norm among her American friends. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
The ending of WILD CHILD is satisfying, but only because Emma Roberts is bright enough to allow a redemption for her rotten character to shine through. Here is a girl so spoiled that she can't think straight. Don't parents in Malibu have boundaries too? Ostensibly, she has been acting the spoiled brat because her mother has died and she is mourning. But what excuse do her spoiled friends have?
Luckily, there is a world outside of Malibu populated with adults and peers who are emotionally balanced and loyal to one another. Does it take such an extreme life change to knock sense into a girl like Poppy? Does Poppy deserve the kindness that her peers at Abbey Mount prep school shower her with? These real-life questions hang over the movie, detracting from what could amount to an effective moral tale. However, we viewers can suspend our disbelief only so long before we question whether the means justify the end.
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.