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Lean on Me Review

For Families provided by Common Sense Media

OK for kids 15+

Inspirational movie about a controversial teacher.

What Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this true story of one teacher's crusade to reform a violent high school has many inspiring moments, but the lead character's tactics are often questionable. Kids will hear lots of profanity, heavy use of racial epthets and other humiliating language, often aimed at teen characters by adults.

  • Families can talk about the advantages and limitations of using films to dramatize real stories. Can movies tell a real-life story in ways that other media, such as books or radio, can't? Where do they fall short? For example, are the conversations dramatized onscreen what was really said? Can you trust that everything you see onscreen really happened? What might filmmakers change in order to make a story more engaging or dramatic?

The good stuff
  • message true0

    Messages: The protagonist uses intimidation as much as inspiration to motivate his students.

What to watch for
  • violence false3

    Violence: None gratuitous, but plenty of fighting.

  • sex false3

    Sex: Teen pregnancy.

  • language false3

    Language: Lots of profanity, though the principal's humiliating language is often worse than swearing. Heavy use of racial epithets.

  • consumerism false0

    Consumerism: Not an issue

  • drugsalcoholtobacco false0

    Drinking, drugs and smoking: Not an issue