Common Sense Note
Parents need to know that this movie, based on the bestseller by Louis Sachar, has an edge to it, but it's not as gritty as it could be. Portraying a teen boys' work-camp could give excuses to broach more lewd subject matter, but this movie portrays the rough and tumble without devolving into a gross-out fest. There are some moments of racial and gender tension played out in glimpses of the past (reference to a lynching, men trying to force their attentions on a woman), which might be too intense for younger viewers.
Non-sexual scenes of boys showering (in their underwear). Stanley talks in passing about a fantasy he has of seeing a woman in a bikini.
Stanley is sent to a boys' work camp, where there is rough-housing and some fist fights. There are wild west flashbacks where a gun-toting female renegade kills men and then kisses their cheeks. Members of the old west community threaten to lynch an African-American man who loves a white woman -- he is shot as he tries to escape. Perilous moments on the face of a rock, as Stanley and Zero nearly fall to their deaths. A character commits suicide by allowing a poisonous lizard to bite her.
"Damned," "hell," "schmuck," and "jackasses" are all uttered.
Stanley and Zero are treated badly by adults at the camp who call them worthless and stupid. Stanley, however, takes on the task of teaching Zero how to read. He sticks out his neck for Zero and eventually saves his life.
Mr. Sir hands a guard a Coke. Characters revel in newly found wealth.
Drugs / Tobacco /
Mr. Sir has quit smoking at the start of the movie, but is back to smoking by the end. In an old West flashback, a sheriff admits that he is drunk.