Blue Story parents guide

Blue Story Parent Guide

This movie feels like an after-school special with a big helping of overwrought drama, stilted dialogue, and odd plot twists.

Overall C-

Best friends Marco and Timmy grew up in different neighborhoods of London, but remained strong in their friendship - until a violent gang war separates them and throws them on opposite sides of an escalating conflict over territory.

Release date May 8, 2020

Violence D
Sexual Content D
Profanity D
Substance Use D

Why is Blue Story rated R? The MPAA rated Blue Story R for violence and language throughout, drug use and some sexuality

Run Time: 91 minutes

Parent Movie Review

Gang life in London is divided by postcode, and best friends Marco (Michael Ward) and Timmy (Stephen Odubola) are on opposite sides of the conflict. Marco is from Peckham and Timmy is from Deptford, and the difference is a lot wider than just a few blocks. Having gone to school together for years, each does his best to protect his friend, but an escalating gang war makes that increasingly difficult. When Marco takes a nasty beating from the Deptford gang he blames Timmy for failing to protect him. Despite Timmy’s protestations that he didn’t even know about the assault, Marco swears revenge…

There are a mountain of content concerns here. Since most of the characters are in high school for a large portion of the music, the film depicts teenage drinking, drug use, sex, and violence. The most frequent issue is the profanity, with over 130 extreme profanities - perhaps that’s why it’s called the Blue Story. In fairness, that kind of language is exceedingly common in a gang environment, but that doesn’t make it any more pleasant or family-friendly.

Beyond the graphic nature of the plot, this isn’t as hardboiled a gang film as you might think. It actually feels strangely like an old after-school-special, with a heavy helping of overwrought drama, stilted dialogue, and odd plot “twists”. It doesn’t help that Rapman, the writer and director, pops up throughout the film to rap about the plot developments. While it’s an interesting narrative choice, it feels strangely out of place in a production with such intense violence.

To reinforce that after-school-special feeling, the Blue Story has a clear anti-gang message. The central thrust of the film is that gang violence, beyond being dangerous in and of itself, begets more violence and serious consequences for everyone in the communities it touches. I’m not criticizing that kind of positive messaging, but it is remarkably un-subtle. That might be an advantage for some audiences, but it does tend to feel a little over-the-top.

That positive message pales in comparison to the content issues though, making this completely unsuitable for family viewers. Perhaps older teens in need of a cautionary tale might make it through the film, but for viewers unfamiliar with the accents and slang of London street gangs, they may want to flick on the subtitles and keep a search engine open to keep up. If nothing else, Blue Story is clearly a personal effort by Rapman, and is vaguely interesting on that basis alone. However, unless you’re prepared for a storm of profanity, this isn’t a good option.

Directed by Rapman. Starring Stephen Odubola. Running time: 91 minutes. Theatrical release May 8, 2020. Updated

Watch the trailer for Blue Story

Blue Story
Rating & Content Info

Why is Blue Story rated R? Blue Story is rated R by the MPAA for violence and language throughout, drug use and some sexuality

Violence: People are shot, stabbed, and severely beaten. An individual suffocates in a fire. A person commits suicide. Notable nastiness includes a person being struck in the head with a brick, an individual deliberately breaking another’s arm, and someone being stabbed in the back. There are several depictions of real-life news footage which depicts violence and blood.
Sexual Content: There are two sex scenes, neither of which contains nudity. There are many instances of sexually graphic language. There is a scene of sexually suggestive dancing. There is a reference to an individual sending nude pictures (not shown).
Profanity: There are 134 uses of extreme profanity, 31 uses of scatological profanity, and dozens of minor profanities and terms of deity.
Alcohol / Drug Use: Teenagers and adults are shown smoking cigarettes and marijuana and drinking alcohol.

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Blue Story Parents' Guide

Blue Story very clearly depicts the dangers of gang life. Why do people get involved with gangs in the first place? What are the advantages? What are the disadvantages? Why is it so hard for people to get out of gang life?

Gang violence is often contagious, with one shooting leading to more, in a seemingly endless cycle of revenge. What can be done to break that cycle?

Mosaic: Violent crime is like infectious disease – and we know how to stop it spreading

The Guardian: Gang violence is a public health issue

Public Safety: Why Gang Violence Should Be Treated as a Public Health Issue

The Atlantic: Disrupting the Cycle of Urban Violence with Arts and Culture

 

Home Video

Related home video titles:

There are many films which depict brothers and friends turned against one another. For a younger audience, Thor shows the titular hero pitted against his envious step-brother, Loki. Marvel continues the theme of friends finding themselves opposed in a conflict in Captain America: Civil War. The Outsiders sets two groups of youth from different sides of the tracks against one another, with dangerous consequences for all. For adult audiences, All Day and a Night shows escalating gang violence in a Los Angeles neighborhood and has close friends against one another in an ensuing power struggle. Straight Outta Compton provides another look at gangs but with a less confused plot. Another non-American movie about the dangers of gang violence is Les Miserables, which takes place in a neighborhood in Paris.