Hit Man parents guide

Hit Man Parent Guide

It may be witty, glossy, and clever, but this film delivers some truly appalling moral messages.

Overall D+

Theaters: A fake hitman finds himself falling for one of his potential clients.

Release date May 24, 2024

Violence D
Sexual Content C-
Profanity D
Substance Use D

Why is Hit Man rated R? The MPAA rated Hit Man R for language throughout, sexual content and some violence.

Run Time: 115 minutes

Parent Movie Review

Is your personality fixed? Can you change who you are? What if you pretend to be someone else? If you do it for long enough, will your personality shift?

All of these questions are relevant to Gary Johnson (Glen Powell). The philosophy and psychology professor is an introvert who spends his time reading, bird-watching, and caring for his cats. For a side gig, he provides tech support for the New Orleans police in sting operations.

One day, an undercover cop is suspended, and Gary is pressed into service as a putative hit man. It turns out that Gary has a flair for getting people to talk, and soon his would-be clients are on trial for their attempts to have their spouses, lovers, or parents murdered.

Gary’s perfect arrest record comes to an end when he meets Madison Masters (Adria Arjona), a desperate wife who wants to be free of her controlling husband. Convinced that the doe-eyed young woman isn’t a killer, Gary discourages the hit and suggests an escape from her marriage. He also gives her his number in case she needs help…and when she calls, the two begin a torrid relationship.

Madison knows Gary as Ron, his hit man alter ego. Gary finds that this other personality adds spice to their relationship, and soon the new persona is seeping into his teaching and other aspects of his life. And when a real murder interrupts their romance, it’s an open question if Gary or Ron will take charge…

I had low expectations going into this film: Netflix originals are not famous for their quality and even the fact of a theatrical release didn’t give me much hope. Hit Man breaks the mold and is a quick-witted, glossily produced, darkly funny crime thriller. The writing is clever, the pacing is brisk, and the acting is stellar. Even the plot twists are effective and only the most cynical viewers will see them coming.

For me, and most readers of this website, the biggest problem with Hit Man is its complete lack of morality. This is a film almost totally devoid of consequences. Yes, some would-be murderers go to jail, but more serious crimes are treated with light-hearted indifference and are even celebrated. Gary tells his college students that there are no absolute truths and that reality is relative, and that pretty much sums up this film’s moral outlook.

Also troubling is the film’s overly abundant negative content. There are 140 sexual expletives and another five dozen profanities in the script, as well as scenes of adults smoking and drinking alcohol. Sexual activity is prevalent, with frequent sex scenes involving vigorous activity in bed and side views of a woman’s breast. But the biggest content issue is violence. Not only is murder frequently discussed, but one killing occurs off-screen and the audience watches another person die as the killers enjoy celebratory sexual activity. It’s deeply disturbing and qualifies as overkill for a film that tries to balance comedy with crime.

As a family movie critic, productions like Hit Man drive me crazy. Based on a true story, there is an intriguing and compelling narrative here, with the potential for pathos and comedy. Instead of producing a wry, clever, funny PG-13 film, director Richard Linklater chose to ramp up the sexual content and murderous violence, giving audiences a much more morally murky tale than the subject deserves. It’s not a crime, but it is a pity.

Directed by Richard Linklater. Starring Glen Powell, Adria Arjona, Austin Amelio. Running time: 115 minutes. Theatrical release May 24, 2024. Updated

Watch the trailer for Hit Man

Hit Man
Rating & Content Info

Why is Hit Man rated R? Hit Man is rated R by the MPAA for language throughout, sexual content and some violence.

Violence:   Contract killings are a basic plot point in the film. There are frequent discussions of murder, dismemberment, and disposing of bodies. A montage of movie clips shows multiple people being shot. The death penalty is mentioned on a few occasions. A man pulls a gun on someone who threatens his girlfriend. There’s mention of a man’s murder and a person confesses to it. A man is drugged and suffocated on screen; his slow death is seen as his murderers celebrate.
Sexual Content: There is a crude discussion of a man’s genitals and what it would be like to have sex with him. There are frequent scenes of a man and woman kissing passionately, sometimes in bed. There are sex scenes between a man and woman which involve views of the side of her breast as well as moaning and thrusting. A man and woman are seen in a bathtub together. A couple make out on a dance floor.
Profanity: The script contains 140 sexual expletives, almost four dozen scatological curses, and a smattering of minor profanities, terms of deity, and crude anatomical terms.
Alcohol / Drug Use: Adults drink beer, smoke cigarettes, and smoke what looks like marijuana (which is not legal in Louisiana). A person consumes beer that has been drugged without his knowledge; he passes out as a result.

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Hit Man Parents' Guide

You can read about the real life Gary Johnson in Hit Man, published in Texas Monthly.

What effect did playing a part have on the Gary Johnson portrayed in the film? Do you think it’s difficult to pretend to be someone for a long period of time? Gary tells his students to act like the person they want to be until they become that person. Do you think you can “fake it ‘til you make it”? Have you ever tried? Do you think pretending is part of positive change or do you think it’s just self-deception?


Home Video

Related home video titles:

If it’s comic crime dramas you want, we suggest My Cousin Vinny, Red Notice, Knives Out, See How They Run, The Sting, Clue, RED, or Cruella.

Family audiences can turn to Megamind, The Bad Guys, Despicable Me, Fantastic Mr. Fox, or Zootopia.