JJ+E parents guide

JJ+E Parent Guide

The negative content is only part of what makes this movie so objectionable. Its celebration of adolescent rebellion is a much bigger problem.

Overall C-

Netflix: John John and Elisabeth may live in the same city, but that's where the similarities end - until an unlikely series of coincidences bring them together. Will their burgeoning romance be able to bridge the gap between their lives?

Release date September 8, 2021

Violence C-
Sexual Content C-
Profanity D
Substance Use C

Why is JJ+E rated TV-14? The MPAA rated JJ+E TV-14 for language, smoking

Run Time: 90 minutes

Parent Movie Review

It’s a familiar story – a boy from the wrong side of the tracks meets a beautiful girl from the social elite. Various obstacles are placed in their way, but - cue swelling violins and glowing sunsets - love conquers all. JJ+E is a contemporary European take on the familiar storyline, but it fails to deliver any emotional rewards for its unfortunate viewers.

The star-crossed lovers are Elisabeth (Elsa Öhrn), a classic Swedish blonde beauty, and John John (Mustapha Aarab), a person of color who lives with his single mother in the projects. When a joyride on the lake sees JJ save the life of Elisabeth’s little sister, the two briefly connect. But their relationship finally takes off when both teens wind up in the same highly competitive drama program.

However, the course of young love never runs smooth, and these besotted adolescents face a few serious challenges. For starters, John John runs with a group of friends who are on the express lane to juvie (or the enlightened Swedish equivalent). JJ is a bright kid who’s academically successful and crime is not his first choice. But loyalty and fear bind him to his friends and get him involved in a series of thefts that cast long shadows over his future. Given JJ’s background, Elisabeth’s father isn’t enthused about the relationship and finally forbids contact. But as all moviegoers know, forbidding a girl from seeing a boy is a surefire way to ensure the relationship continues…

I’ll be brutally honest here: JJ+E is not likely to be a big hit with parents. The content issues are bad enough: there are close to four dozen sexual expletives, scenes of teens smoking cigarettes and consuming alcohol, and scenes where people are assaulted and murdered. There’s also sexual content, including a non-explicit scene of adolescent sexual activity that is preceded by a discussion of contraception. Even more off-putting is the production’s endorsement of anti-social adolescent behavior. The film is carefully non-judgmental about JJ’s criminal activities, and while I can’t say it glamorizes youth crime, it certainly celebrates rebelliousness. This attitude – that rules don’t matter and emotions should be followed regardless of consequences – is really the last message that most parents want their teens to absorb.

There’s little else in the movie that would make it worth watching. The acting is unexceptional, the sound design is annoying, and the conclusion is frankly ridiculous. This story has been done before and done better. Don’t waste your time with warmed up leftovers.

Directed by Alexis Almstrom. Starring Magnus Krepper, Markia Lagercrantz, and Simon Mezher. Running time: 90 minutes. Theatrical release September 8, 2021. Updated

Watch the trailer for JJ+E

Rating & Content Info

Why is JJ+E rated TV-14? JJ+E is rated TV-14 by the MPAA for language, smoking

Violence: A character points an unloaded gun at a friend. A man hits a teenager on the head. An adult kicks a teenager and kneels on his neck. A teen points a gun at an adult. A young woman is threatened and a man pulls a knife. A man hits a young woman in the face. A young man is shot in the head off screen; he’s seen in a pool of blood. There are scenes of people pointing guns at each other.
Sexual Content:   There is passing use of a slang term for masturbation. An impressionist painting of a nude woman is briefly seen. Someone is teased about sniffing a girl’s panties. The bare back of a woman is seen as she is embraced by a man: sex is implied. A teen girl and guy take off their clothes and go swimming in their underwear. They kiss on several occasions.  A teenage guy and girl undress: she’s seen topless from the back. She asks if he has a condom. The couple kiss and embrace in a scene of non-explicit sexual activity.
Profanity: There are approximately six dozen profanities in the movies, including 45 sexual expletives, 10 scatological curses, ten crude terms for anatomy and genitalia, and a handful of minor curse words and terms of deity.
Alcohol / Drug Use:   Adults drink wine with meals. There’s mention of someone’s past heroin use. Teens and adults smoke cigarettes. Open bar at a kid’s birthday party. Teens drink alcohol in social situations. Teens drink alcohol at a party.

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JJ+E Parents' Guide

Why does JJ get sucked into criminal activities with Sluggo? Does he have any way to break free? What would you do if you were in his place?

Why does Elisabeth make the choice she makes at the end of the film? How do you think this decision is going to affect her future? What would you do if you were her?

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