Wild Child

Movie review by
Joly Herman, Common Sense Media
Wild Child Movie Poster Image
Too much teen drinking/bad behavior for Emma Roberts fans.
  • PG-13
  • 2007
  • 99 minutes

Parents say

age 13+
Based on 5 reviews

Kids say

age 12+
Based on 42 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

Spoiled, bad behavior has few consequences for most of the movie.

Positive Role Models & Representations

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

Mention of the main character's mother who had died.

Sex

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.

Language

"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.

Consumerism

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.

What 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.

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User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byCandiiey March 9, 2016

Stop Expecting Movies to Raise Your Children

As long as your beliefs aren't in line with those in some of these other reviews which state that this film does not encourage good "role-modeling... Continue reading
Parent Written byAquestra August 10, 2018

Boring

This movie is really boring and predictable. Bad role models
Teen, 13 years old Written byGirlistique January 12, 2016

I love it!

You may think the language is too strong for eleven year olds but it's nothing they haven't heard already, trust me! Poppy is bad in the beginning but... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written byGraceg1357 May 29, 2018

Normal Teen Girl Movie

That kind of typical "Mean Girls" style movie with a bad girl gone good plot. Quite good but not the best. It does have a good message though.

What's the story?

Poppy (Emma Roberts) wakes up one morning in her beautiful Malibu Beach bedroom to the realization that her new stepmother is going to be moving in. She takes action, inviting a gang of friends over to ravage the moving truck, stealing or vandalizing all of her stepmother's belongings. Then she jumps off a cliff into the ocean. Her father (Aidan Quinn), enraged and red-faced, berates her and sends her to England to an all-girl's boarding school. There she tries to get kicked out of school by breaking as many rules as possible so she that can get back to Malibu. Somehow her roomates tolererate her long enough to help her in her scheme to get expelled. In the meantime, the teens bond and become friends. When Poppy is brought before the school's Honor Court, she has fully come around to realize what true friendship means. But is it too late?

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.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about consumerism. Poppy and her American friends have everything that money can buy. Where do they get the money? Learn more about how kids spend money, and how the media targets teens to do so. 

  • What do you think of the stereotype of rich, spoiled American kids? Is the portrayal of teenage life true to life in your community?

  • Poppy admits to having a "hole in her heart" since her mother died. How could her father have better addressed her misery? Was sending Poppy to boarding school the proper thing to do?

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love high school stories

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