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MPAA Rated PG-13 for violent content, some thematic material and language

Sex & Nudity

  • A student mentions that she was supposed to be the girl who gets pregnant by age 16, but that Erin's Room 203 class has helped her avoid such a path.
  • But another teen kisses her boyfriend and also asks Erin when two people mentioned in Anne Frank's book will "hook up."
  • While two girls get dressed, the camera catches a glimpse of a tattoo on the small of one girl's back.
  • Erin and her husband, Scott, kiss on a couple of different occasions.
  • From Scott's point of view, the camera briefly focuses on Erin's backside.
  • And Scott (vainly) attempts to initiate sex with his wife by talking about a school-teacher fantasy.
  • Barely any, though there is a lengthy kissing scene between a husband and wife that almost escalates into a sexual scene before ending.

Violence & Gore

  • It's obvious the filmmakers tried to show some restraint in depicting the all-too-real gangbanging surroundings of this story.
  • Much of the abuse, domestic violence, and race- and gang-related shootings are spoken of rather than shown.
  • However, we still see a young man mistakenly shot in a convenience store, and the camera spies a bullet hole in his chest as he lies in a pool of blood.
  • Two kids handle a newly acquired gun, which suddenly goes off and kills one of the boys. (He's shown slumped over on a blood-stained bench.)
  • A female student's mother is described as being "half-beaten to death" one night, and we see a man strike her a few times (drawing blood) and beat the student with a belt.
  • The man also abandons this girl and her young brother on the side of the road, forcing them to sleep on the sidewalk
  • A teen girl is chased down by three gang members, held and threatened at gunpoint.
  • She's also beaten up on two other occasions.
  • It's not surprising, then, that she tells Erin she wishes Anne Frank would "smoke" Hitler and motions with an imaginary gun to her head.
  • Another student says that "at 16, I've seen more dead bodies than a mortician."
  • Snapshots from a civil rights movement documentary show a mob beating up an activist (the after-shots are included as well), along with a bus that's been torched.
  • When a melee breaks out in the school courtyard, multiple students (guys and girls) are shown exchanging punches, kicks, shoves and various body blows.
  • A pair of girls wrestle and claw at each other.
  • A classroom scrap involves shoving and missed punches.
  • A child is shot accidentally off-screen (we see his body briefly), and a cousin is killed in a drive-by shooting (again, this is off-screen, but we do see him briefly on the ground). There is a brief shootout (nobody is shown being hit), as well as a crossfire scene where a teenager is shot accidentally when the target was actually another teenager. There are also several scenes of teenagers involved in gang-related fighting, and talk and scenes of a mother and a teenager being physically abused.
  • Additionally, there are discussions relating to the Holocaust, though with minimal visual display.
  • The film opens with apparent news footage from the Los Angeles Rodney King riots that depict explosions, fires, rioters, and police.


  • God's name is profaned on close to half-a-dozen occasions, two or three times in combination with "d--n."
  • The f-word is used once, while the s-word is uttered at least 10 times.
  • An additional 30-plus milder profanities are spoken ("d--n," "a--," "h---"), including a crude reference to male anatomy and a single mention of the n-word.
  • One use of the f-word. Teenagers do curse heavily, but use significantly milder obscenities.

Alcohol, Drugs & Smoking

  • Erin's father downs some liquor while he meets with his daughter.
  • Erin and Scott drink wine, mostly over dinner.
  • during a trying discussion about their damaged relationship, both drink several glasses of alcohol.
  • Scott comments on his wife drinking too much.
  • She replies that alcohol won't hurt her as much as their fighting does.
  • A rap lyric mentions how "alcohol followed me."
  • Though they're never shown, it's implied that drugs are readily available on campus.
  • To prove that those in her class aren't actually as different as they say they are, Erin begins by asking them how many know where to get drugs. (They all raise their hands.)
  • Later, it becomes clear that one student is working for a neighborhood drug pusher.
  • A teacher passes out sparkling cider (non-alcoholic) to her students and asks them to propose a "Toast for Change."
  • Adults drink wine with dinner and during a discussion at home while seated at a table.

Frightening & Intense Scenes

  • The opening of the movie shows harrowing true-life news footage from the Rodney King riots; the theme of the film is intolerance and racism during the Holocaust and how these prejudices play out today among teenagers and those involved in gang violence. Several characters are threatened by guns throughout the film, and three peripheral characters are killed. A miniature riot happens in a schoolyard, and various students use guns outside school throughout the film.
  • There is also some disturbing conversation about the Holocaust.

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