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Trainspotting Review

Other Critics provided by

Critics scores range from 0 to 100, with higher scores indicating more favorable reviews.

  • 5.0

    out of 100

    Universal acclaim
    based on a weighted average of all
    critic review scores.

  • 100

    out of 100

    Entertainment Weekly Owen Gleiberman

    It would be hard to imagine a movie about drugs, depravity, and all-around bad behavior more electrifying than Trainspotting.

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  • 100

    out of 100

    Chicago Tribune Michael Wilmington

    Heroin may be a downer, but Trainspotting definitely takes you up…a series of roaring, provocative, outrageous highs. [26 July 1996, Friday, p.C]

  • 75

    out of 100

    Chicago Sun-Times Roger Ebert

    It uses a colorful vocabulary, it contains a lot of energy, it elevates its miserable heroes to the status of icons (in their own eyes, that is).

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  • 88

    out of 100

    ReelViews James Berardinelli

    There's nothing new or unique about the story, but it is presented in a manner that reinforces its immediacy and impact.

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  • 88

    out of 100

    USA Today Mike Clark

    A movie that rudely flings feces at the breakfast table isn't for everyone.

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  • See all Trainspotting reviews at

For Families provided by Common Sense Media

Pause for kids 16 & under

Graphic look into heroin addiction. Not for kids.

What Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this movie is, at its core, the story of a group of friends held together largely by their shared addiction to heroin. Much time is spent simply on presenting sounds and images meant to simulate either the euphoria of heroin highs or the wretchedness of heroin withdrawal. Violence is also present in their behavior of the friends, including fistfights and fights with blunt instruments and broken glass, which often have no motivation and can get quite bloody. The dialogue is almost wall-to-wall obscenities, although the Scottish tongue is often hard for Americans to understand. A baby dies due to the neglect of his heroin-addicted mother. Sex is discussed and displayed openly.

  • Families can talk about what gives this movie cult film status. Do you think it sensationalizes drug addiction or gives an accurate picture? How well does the film balance the euphoric visions of heroin highs with the low moments of addicts being driven to steal, hurt others, etc.? The narrator seems to present himself as in control of his actions, but is he really? Is his final betrayal of his friends warranted? Do we feel that he has truly changed his ways at the close of the film?

The good stuff
  • message true0

    Messages: Most characters are thieving junkies.

What to watch for
  • violence false5

    Violence: Fistfights and fights with blunt instruments and broken glass, which often have no motivation and can get quite bloody.

  • sex false5

    Sex: Strong sexual content, including a partial rape scene.

  • language false5

    Language: Very strong.

  • consumerism false0

    Consumerism: Not applicable

  • drugsalcoholtobacco false5

    Drinking, drugs and smoking: The film is based on heroin use.