Parents' Guide to

I May Destroy You

By Joyce Slaton, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 16+

Mature content in powerful portrait of rape's aftermath.

TV HBO Drama 2020
I May Destroy You Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this TV show.

Community Reviews

age 18+

Based on 1 parent review

age 18+

X Rated viewing

This is a very good series, but am surprised CSM has rated this 16+. The casual, graphic sex with strangers and constant drug taking felt very uncomfortable to watch. Rape, both gay and straight, along with consensual threesomes (all shown in graphic detail), would have been seen as the height of pornography only a very few years ago. The characters' lifestyles of insatiable drug-taking and constant, constant sex with people they have met for about five minutes also seems somewhat glamorized. Cannot imagine a high school kid watching this - super inappropriate and really could be scarring. If this is not an 18+ then what is?

This title has:

Too much sex
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say: (1):
Kids say: Not yet rated

This portrait of how rape affects otherwise happy lives like some kind of metastasizing emotional cancer is powerful, singular, and indelible. When we first meet Arabella, she's lingering on a sidewalk waiting for her ride share to pick her up, hinting around to her Italian boyfriend that she's love for him to make some sort of committment before she leaves for her flight. He doesn't; she accepts the blow straight-faced and immediately opens her computer, to work. We see her go home, deal with her editors, leave to meet friends at a bar where she dances and drinks until she stumbles out of the bar and into the street. Cut to the next morning; she's at her publishing house, working on her book again. Whew, looks like everything turned out fine. But then we see her phone is cracked. There's blood on her shirt. And hang on -- is that a cut on her head that's trickling fresh blood down her cheek?

The truth comes to her in brief, devastating flashbacks; in between, Arabella tries to go on living her easy, breezy life unaffected. Spoiler alert: It doesn't work. She takes solace in her friends, especially Kwame (Paapa Essiedu), a gay fitness instructor who's linked to Arabella by their shared history of sexual trauma, and in her work, where she's able to find some measure of control in writing about her experiences. It should be said that Michaela Coel, the award-winning actor who wrote and stars as Arabella in I May Destroy You, has been open about the fact that in 2016 she took a break from work to go to a bar with a friend, then woke up hours later at the office, unsure how she'd gotten there and what had happened. Later she pieced together that her drink had been spiked, and she'd been sexually assaulted. Does this give I May Destroy You a meta depth and power? It sure does. Is it simultaneously devastating and beautiful? It sure is. Should you watch? Yes.

TV Details

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