Iffy for 16+
Outlaw brothers wage war in violent Prohibition drama.
What Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Lawless is a dark, history-based drama that's not age appropriate for younger viewers, even though teens of all ages might be drawn in by stars Tom Hardy and Shia LaBeouf. There's lots of intense, cringe-inducing violence (including bloody scenes of torture, references to rape, and much shooting and brawling) and two scenes of nudity (one is sexual and one is menacing), as well as frequent use of strong language (including "f--k," racial epithets, and more). The themes are mature as well -- the heroes are murderous outlaws and the villains are ruthless dirty cops -- making the story too heavy for most teens.
- Families can talk about the way Lawless portrays alcohol and drinking. How did Prohibition affect the inhabitants of Franklin County? Does learning that this movie was based on real brothers make you want to learn more about them and the era of Prohibition?
- There are no truly "good" and "bad" characters in this movie. Which characters are the most sympathetic? Does the story glorify criminality? Who are the heroes, and who are the villains?
- How is the violence in this movie different than in action movies? Which has more impact, and why?
The good stuff
Messages: The only positive message is that brothers have one another's backs and should be there for each other unconditionally -- but the brothers here are murderous outlaws who do lots of terrible things, and the themes are dark and mature. Viewers will learn something about the history of Prohibition.
Role models: They're dangerous outlaws, but the brothers are incredibly loyal to each other, and Jack is very gentlemany toward Bertha, even though clearly his brothers wouldn't have cared if he'd tried to bed her. Despite her checkered past, Maggie is almost maternal toward Jack and takes care of the brothers. The "bad guys" are cops -- albeit ruthless, dirty ones.
What to watch for
Violence: Lots of unflinchingly violent and bloody scenes. There's some gun violence (a couple of shoot outs), but most of the violence is up close and personal: brass knuckles tearing through skin, a knife slicing a man's throat, a young man's neck broken, a boot smashed on top of a head. Someone is tarred and feathered. Rape is implied but not shown (bruises are later evident). The Bondurant brothers are brutal and take offenses to their family seriously. Every major character is nearly killed, and there's a body count from all the cops-versus-moonshiners-versus-gangsters fighting. A frightened and young-looking woman sits naked on a menacing man's bed.
Sex: For most of the movie, there's little more than long gazes between two of the brothers and their respective love interests. But in the final act, one brother finally kisses the girl he fancies, while another brother has an interested woman walk into his bedroom naked (viewers see her topless and flashing a lot of skin, but not full frontal) and get on top of him.
Language: Several uses of "f--k" and "s--t," plus "motherf---er," "c--k," "damn," "hell," "goddamn," "ass," and "Jesus Christ" (as an exclamation). And, because of the time period the movie is set in, there are also racist insults like "cracker," "hick," "negro," "hillbilly," "inbreeds," "mountain boys," etc.
Consumerism: Not an issue
Drinking, drugs and smoking: This movie revolves around making moonshine during Prohibition, so naturally there's a whole lot of drinking (frequently to excess). Lack of inhibition due to drinking is a theme of the movie. And because it was en vogue at the time, almost everyone smokes cigarettes, too.
Fan Reviews provided by
Lawless in the Bonny and Clyde type tradition by Darkola
This movie is made in the Bonnie and Clyde type tradition, no its not about bank robbers, and no it may not be as good as Bonnie and Clyde, but it is good. I've read alot of complaints about nudity and bloodshed, and after seeing this movie, I wonder what the complaints are about, as there was only a few nude scenes that were brief, I've seen far worst more often, and I've seen far more bloodshed in other movies. The acting in this all around was great, the story was a very good story, if anything, I would have liked a little more action myself. The movie is about 3 brothers who are bootleggers/moonshine in the 1930's era, and about the corrupt police who try to shake them down for a share, and later try and put them out of business. I go to the show often and wasnt expecting much out of this movie after reading the reviews, but was very surprised at how good this was, take my advice, skip the critics reviews and go see this, I'd give it 3 out of 4 stars myself, enjoy :)
Not Great, Just "Really Good" by Reel Reviewer
"Lawless" is the first film out the gate this pre-awards season and I suspect it's because it's missing that "it" factor that really gives movies that "remember me" feeling. Don't misunderstand me, I think this is a really well-done movie with seemingly nothing that I can knock. Tom Hardy's stock continues to rise, Shia reminds you why he's so got the weight of a younger, new generation of actors on his shoulders and Jessica Chastain's name will be remembered in those households that haven't yet taken notice. Guy Pearce's performance probably takes the cake, though. I really wanted him to die, even by my own hand if I had the opportunity. He may continue to be a big name, but I feel like he is remarkably underutilized in Hollywood. Story, character development and action scenes are proportioned but, as I said, it never digs in like a tick in the Virginia woods. I would not be surprised if many others rate this higher than me but despite the actor's best efforts it's only "really good."
An excellent movie by grana.gina
I LOVED this film. They constantly kept you on the edge of your seat and always through surprises your way. The three brothers had so much synergy and worked so well together. You create this relationship with each character in your own way and it made the overall movie great. It's definitely an adult movie... lots of blood and cussing.. even nudity.. The director and writer did wonders with the script and filming. Kudos to everyone in the movie.. :)
Lawless by aguirrejerome
The movie was good but the story line was abit predictable. Shia LeBeouf has been critized lately because he's been bad mouthing big budget productions, he is a good actor but he still needs refinement. Tom Hardy and, of course, Guy Pearce, who has always done "Indie" films shines in this production, Mr. Pearce seems to immerse himself in his character. Shia's character seems "empty" at times, young, strong willed but to his feelings not given a chance to "show himself". He wants Forrest's approval so bad, that's were the film becomes predictable. The cinematography of the back hills of Virginia, during the 1930's, the rough, rawness of survival during Prohibition is excellently shown. Just barely enough money to get by, you see a little bit of the money their making from "Moonshine", but it's the times and they were hard.
Solid Movie by ODBPete
If your looking for a lot of special effects or insane action then don't see this movie !
if you want a wellacted movie go see this and you will enjoy it.
I was worried that maybe the picked the wrong person in shia labeouf to play a serious part.
he pulled it all great. Well acted Well rounded story.
Go see this
Lawless was good by BeasaBoo
The movie started out a little slow, but the story was intriguing...even moreso because it was based on a true story. The characters were interesting, and it was worth seeing!
The Fruits of Tyrannical Prohibition by SpiritMatter
This is a realistic slice of the grim history of government corruption and tyranny that got its biggest support durring and because of the prohibition of the recreational chemical, alcohol. Prohibition, then and today, unjustly punishes the responsible users in a lazy effort to get at and rightfully and justly punish the small percentage of abusers. Alcohol consumption actually increased durring prohition! Prohibition puts a spotlight on the substance prohibited and makes it more desirable. Prohibition drives the price up so gangs make more money moving less product and government enforcement branches thrive. The only ones who suffer are poor to middle class families with parents going to prison and the children farmed out to nightmarish child abusing money making foster care by the pedophile CPS. This is why the US has the highest percentage of its population in prison compared to any other country on the planet! The land of the free and home of the brave? Not yet, but one can dream.
Authentic And Entertaining. by Alon Patterson
The story is new. The subject isn't. Still, this film is expensively produced, well written and executed by some really great onscreen talent that do an excellent job of bringing it all together. I found the film engaging and thoroughly entertaining.. It's worth its ticket price. See it. You won't be disappointed.
It just wasn't that good. by hugh_who
I thought Tom Hardy was great in this movie, unfortunately he wasn't the star of the movie. Shia LaBeouf is the star of the movie and as the movie progressed I realized I didn't care about his character but unfortunately the movie revolved around him. Ultimately I thought the movie lacked as I didn't care about Shia's character and lost interest in the movie. Most of the other actors were great, I'm don't think Shia is leading man material.
Good Movie by Karen46
This is a good story, but I have to admit, it made me nervous to watch as in what horrible thing is going to happen next. There is very little nudity so I'm not sure what the big deal is there. Be ready for the bloody violence that is likely authentic to the place and era where the story is set.