Charlie’s Angels Parent Guide
Violence is the dominant feature of this movie: casual, kinetic, loud, and occasionally sexualized.
Parent Movie Review
How do you define a strong woman? Is it someone who has endured hard times and managed to survive and thrive? Is it a woman who has demonstrated courage and integrity rather than compromise her convictions? Perhaps you think of a woman whose achievements have inspired and blazed a path for others. Or maybe it’s someone who has dedicated her life to improving the lives of people in her community.
From the perspective of Charlie’s Angels, a strong woman is one who can be even more violent than a man. If that’s your idea of strength, this is the movie for you. If not, there isn’t any reason to watch it.
The plot for this flick isn’t important: it’s pretty much interchangeable with any number of spy thrillers. Elena (Naomi Scott) is a computer programmer who has led the development of a new technology that will revolutionize the world of electricity. However, the system has a bug could enable hackers to focus electromagnetic pulses on to people, with fatal results. Elena wants time to fix this vulnerability in the computer program, but her supervisor (Nat Faxon), insists that the product launch cannot be delayed. Frantic with worry, Elena brings her problem to the Angels, only to find herself caught up in a web of violent intrigue.
Violence is the dominant feature of this movie, with physical combat dominating most scenes. Jane (Ella Balinska) is the weapons expert and fires automatic weapons, handguns, tranquilizer darts, and any other projectile she can lay her hands on. She is also capable of lethal hand to hand combat as is Sabina (Kristen Stewart). There are so many violent scenes it’s hard to tell them apart as people are shot, stabbed, thrown down stairs and our of windows, choked, punched, kicked, thrown into walls, and impaled. But there are some scenes that stand out, and not in a good way. The movie opens with some sexualized violence: a man thinks Sabina is seducing him as she slides her foot up his thigh, wraps drapes around him and flips through the air. Only when he’s completely tied up does the penny drop. The most disturbing violent scene in the film is also sexualized: one of the women is captured and has a metal collar and chain snapped around her neck and pulled to cause pain. Parents aren’t going to be thrilled with scenes like this, or with the movie’s casual attitude to death and carnage. “Collateral damage” quips one of the Angels to Elena when she is upset about having inadvertently killed a man. And Jane jokes about killing another. Treating violence and death as comic fodder is unlikely to impress most adult viewers.
There are a few, very few, bright spots in Charlie’s Angels. Its greatest strength is its unsparing look at the sublimated rage of women who have been patronized, lied to, subjected to mansplaining, or had their achievements negated or coopted. And Elizabeth Banks’ Bosley character hits the nail on the head when Sabina mentions that she’s starving. “Women are always starving” says Bosley matter-of-factly. Sadly, viewers of any sex who are looking for meaty roles with strong female protagonists are going to go away hungry from Charlie’s Angels. There’s lots of violence, a bit of glamour, and no substance.Directed by Elizabeth Banks. Starring Naomi Scott, Kristen Stewart, Jane Kano, Sam Claflin, Patrick Stewart. Running time: 119 minutes. Theatrical release November 15, 2019. Updated November 14, 2019
Watch the trailer for Charlie’s Angels
Rating & Content Info
Why is Charlie’s Angels rated PG-13? Charlie’s Angels is rated PG-13 by the MPAA for action/violence, language and some suggestive material
Violence: Frequent, detailed scenes of physical combat. Characters are punched, hit, kicked, thrown, choked, stomped, head-butted, shot and stabbed. People throw furniture at other people and hit them with broken glass. A woman seductively ties up a man to immobilize him. A character pushes another off a roof: she’s on a safety harness. Reference to a man having a stroke from an electro magnetic pulse. Another man is killed by the same kind of pulse. A main character throws a man out of a second story window. Two scenes show women stomping a man’s crotch. Two parties have a gun battle in the streets of a major city. A car is rammed and forced into a river; a man drowns. A building explodes. A man is thrown off a balcony and impaled on an ice sculpture. A main character drives a motorcycle into a man. People are frequently rendered unconscious. A woman shoots tranquilizer darts at people. A main character rubs hand sanitizer into someone’s eyes. A character rinses someone else’s toothbrush in the toilet. A man is shot in the head, execution style. A man falls into a rock grinder. A metal collar is put on a woman and it is pulled to cause her pain. A man is tied up and stuck in an armoire. A man pushes a woman by the chest. A man is tasered and thrown down the stairs. A man is stabbed in the leg.
Sexual Content: A woman sucks a man’s finger and slips her foot up his leg and apparently into his groin. He rubs her leg up to her thigh. A woman is forced into a metal collar and dragged by a chain. Women wear extremely low cut shirts, strapless dresses, and very short skirts and shorts. A packet of birth control pills is seen. There is a scene involving suggestive dance moves.
Profanity: There are approximately one dozen profanities, principally scatological curses and terms of deity. I heard one sexual expletive and a slang short form of another sexual expletive. There is one sexual hand gesture.
Alcohol / Drug Use: Background characters hold glasses of alcohol at a party.
Page last updated November 14, 2019
Charlie’s Angels Parents' Guide
How does your culture define strength? What traits do you equate with personal strength? Do you think a person must be violent to be strong? Do you think stereotypically female traits are signs of strength or do you think women need to adopt stereotypically male characteristics to be seen as powerful?
Loved this movie? Try these books…
Teen readers who want stories with female protagonists in exciting situations can start with the Nancy Drew series by Carolyn Keene. Jessica Martinez’s novel, Kiss Kill Vanish, throws a young woman into a tense, dangerous situation when she learns that her father is involved in a criminal syndicate. Ally Carter tells a story about a private school for female spies in I’d Tell You I Love You, But Then I’d Have to Kill You. A similar story, set in Victorian England is spun by Y.S. Lee in The Agency: A Spy in the House. Young women ostensibly attend a boarding school which is really a front for a secret criminal investigation unit.
If you’re looking for family-friendly detection stories for teen and adult readers, you can’t go wrong with Alexander McCall Smith’s The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency. Set in Botswana, the series features Precious Ramotswe, a lovable protagonist whose intelligence and intuitive brilliance are matched only by her kindness.
A young woman leads an exciting life as a private detective in 1920s England in Jacqueline Winspear’s Maisie Dobbs. Charlotte Pitt becomes involved in her husband’s cases in Anne Perry’s Victorian mystery series. The first novel, in which Charlotte meets Thomas Pitt, is The Cater Street Hangman.
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Hollywood has tried to reboot the franchise on two previous occasions. Charlie’s Angels debuted on theater screens in 2000, with the three women seeking a kidnapped computer software designer. The trio returned in the somehow even worse sequel, Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle in 2003.
If you’re looking for light-hearted, family friendly spy movies, try Spy Kids or Spy Kids 2: Island of Lost Dreams. In both of these movies, two siblings work together with some cool gadgets to save the world.
Real strength can be found in courage and integrity; not just physical violence. If you’re looking for movies with strong female characters who demonstrate moral strength, we recommend Official Secrets, with its story of a whistleblower who alerts the British public to illegal behavior on the part of the government. Love her or hate her, there’s no doubt Margaret Thatcher acted on her convictions. Watch Meryl Streep’s portrayal of Britain’s first female prime minister in The Iron Lady. We think everyone will be awed by the courage of Harriet Tubman, as depicted in Harriet. And a biracial woman in 18th century England joins the struggle to end slavery in Belle. An African-American police officer goes on the run when her integrity prevents her from covering up a murder committed by fellow officers in Black and Blue.