Metal Lords parents guide

Metal Lords Parent Guide

This heartfelt story is sadly swamped by a tsunami of profanity and other negative content.

Overall C

Netflix: Determined to win the Battle of the Bands, two friends recruit a cellist to round out their heavy metal band.

Release date April 8, 2022

Violence C
Sexual Content C-
Profanity D
Substance Use D

Why is Metal Lords rated R? The MPAA rated Metal Lords R for language throughout, sexual references, nudity, and drug/alcohol use – all involving teens

Run Time: 97 minutes

Parent Movie Review

Being good isn’t enough: Hunter (Adrian Greensmith) wants to be a god in the world of heavy metal rock. The teen guitar player begins his quest for musical glory by persuading his compliant best friend, Kevin (Jaeden Martell), to be part of a band, which he names “Skullf*cker”. Swiping his father’s credit card, Hunter heads off to the music store, to emerge thousands of dollars later with an impressive drum kit for his friend, and a list of music for Kevin to learn. There’s only one problem: they need a bass player and no satisfactory candidate has appeared.

Kevin thinks he’s found a solution to their problem. Fellow marching band musician Emily (Isis Hainsworth) is a gifted cellist and she and Kevin have been practicing metal standards together. Hunter is unconvinced of Emily’s suitability for Skullf*cker: he’s certain that a classical cellist doesn’t have enough metal in her soul to be part of their band. With the school’s Battle of the Bands coming up in a matter of weeks, finding a bass player is becoming a critical problem – but not nearly as serious as the consequences of Hunter’s increasingly poor behavior.

Metal Lords is an intensely sympathetic film, illuminating the agonizing challenges of adolescence. It’s really Kevin’s story and the narrative follows him as he falls in love with Emily and tries to reset his friendship with Hunter on a more equal basis. Kevin learns a lot about friendship, love, loyalty, and self-respect in this film - and those are all critical lessons for teen audiences. Also beneficial is the script’s refusal to pigeonhole its characters: the protagonists make bad decisions from time to time, and even some of the “jerks” get a chance to learn and grow. Characters mature through the film, recognizing their own errors and learning to move past those of others.

Unfortunately, these valuable messages are submerged in a tidal wave of profanity. There are 80 sexual expletives in the film (several of them spoken in the band’s name and others heard in song lyrics) as well as sexual hand gestures. Crude anatomical terms – for a comprehensive range of male and female sexual anatomy – also show up frequently in the script. It can be argued that this is simply an accurate representation of how teens speak, which might be true. However, that feels like a weak excuse for a profanity-laden script. Movies are entirely aspirational: almost everyone in a film is thinner, better-looking, and better-dressed than people in real life. Their homes are larger, better decorated, and more lushly landscaped and their cars are newer and cleaner. If everything in a movie looks better than it does in real life, shouldn’t it sound better too?

The profanity isn’t the movie’s only problem – there are frequent scenes of teen drinking and drug use and many instances where sex is a topic of conversation. There is also an implied sexual relationship between two teenagers.

The negative content is particularly unfortunate here because the storyline has so much going for it. The characters are all painfully vulnerable: Hunter uses his obsession with heavy metal as a way to blot out the pain of his fractured family and to give himself a sense of meaning, Kevin tries to maintain his friendship with Hunter while still being true to himself, and Emily copes with the challenges of mental illness. They all flounder and fall and get back up and try again. They are real and sad and hopeful and funny and very, very human. It’s unfortunate that the negative content wrapped around this heartfelt tale will keep it from being seen by a broader audience. It deserves better.

Directed by Peter Sollett. Starring Joe Manganiello, Jaeden Martell, Bret Gelman. Running time: 97 minutes. Theatrical release April 8, 2022. Updated

Metal Lords
Rating & Content Info

Why is Metal Lords rated R? Metal Lords is rated R by the MPAA for language throughout, sexual references, nudity, and drug/alcohol use – all involving teens

Violence:   A photo has a person’s face torn out of it. There are briefly seen images of the devil in a heavy metal context. An angry teen screams profanities and throws a musical instrument. A student knocks another one into the lockers. Guys push and shove another teen, throwing him into walls. While playing a game a person uses violent language and discusses maiming a character. Some song lyrics are violent or focused on the occult. A teen has his mouth duct-taped and some hair cut off before he’s punched. A student posts “What would Satan do?” posters. A vehicle is vandalized: the windshield is broken and there is paint on the windshield and feces on the hood. A guy yells at and intimidates a girl in class. A girl throws books and furniture at a classmate who bullies her: he’s later seen with a bruise on his face. A teenager pushes and punches people.  A person’s leg is broken in an accident: blood is briefly seen. A security guard hits someone in the groin with a baton.
Sexual Content: There are several scenes of teenage boys and girls kissing. There is brief mention of rape. There are posters of musicians with bare chests. An image of a stylized penis on a poster is briefly seen. Teen characters discuss their virginity and having sex. There is coded mention of contraception. A teen boy and girl discuss having sex and intercourse is implied but nothing is seen. A teen girl asks a guy to lay on top of her: both are fully clothed and there is no sexual activity. A teenage boy and girl kiss and embrace. Teenagers go skinny dipping: buttocks are seen as are breasts from the side.  A girl kisses a guy on the neck.
Profanity:  There are well over 100 profanities in the movie, including 80 sexual expletives and 27 scatological curses. There are frequent, crude anatomical terms, including vulgar terms for female genitals and breasts as well as all parts of male sexual anatomy.  A crude term for women is used   Sexual hand gestures are seen frequently. There are a couple of terms of deity in the script and a minor profanity. “Hail Satan” is spoken and a person describes Christianity as “Jesus crap”.  The term “gay” is used as an insult; not to describe a person’s sexual orientation.
Alcohol / Drug Use:   Teens drink alcohol at a party: a main character gets drunk and vomits all over. A teen drinks a bottle of champagne and gets drunk. Teens smoke marijuana in more than one scene; one is frequently described as high and winds up in rehab. A girl mentions “taking meds” to treat her mental illness. An adult adds alcohol to his orange juice. A teen discusses being “wasted”.

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Metal Lords Parents' Guide

Why does Kevin consistently follow Hunter’s lead? What changes his perspective on their friendship? What changes Hunter’s perspective?

Why do you think Hunter is so drawn to heavy metal music? Do you share his appreciation for this type of music? What is your favorite genre of music? How does it make you feel?


Home Video

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