Low Down

2014 R 1h 59m DVD

Low Down

2014 R 1h 59m DVD
  • Overview
  • Details
Jazz pianist Joe Albany's turbulent life story is recounted by his daughter Amy, who grew up surrounded by the rebellious spirit of the 1960s. Amy's memories of her father are shadowed by his heroin addiction in this candid family memoir.
John Hawkes, Elle Fanning, Glenn Close, Peter Dinklage, Lena Headey, Flea
Jeff Preiss
Widescreen Anamorphic 1.85:1
English SDH
English: Dolby Digital 5.1, English: Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround
R - Under 17 requires accompanying parent or adult guardian. Contains some adult material. Parents are urged to learn more about the film before taking their young children with them.
age 17+
Common Sense rating OK for kids 17+
age 17+

Common Sense Note

Parents need to know that Low Down is a biopic about the brilliant but drug-addled jazz pianist Joe Albany (John Hawkes), told from the point-of-view of his young daughter Amy-Jo (Elle Fanning), who grew up with him in a seedy part of Hollywood in the 1970s. Albany battled heroin addiction for much of his life, and the movie includes a few graphic depictions of his drug use amid the bleak desperation of his world as it crumbles around him. Plus, a young mother dies of a drug overdose, Amy-Jo's mother gets so drunk she collapses, and teenagers get high off nitrous oxide. Characters drink and smoke constantly, and there are cigarettes in nearly every scene. There's some sexual content, including when Amy-Jo accidentally witness a porno shoot, but there's no nudity or anything sexually graphic. There is plenty of profanity, including tons of "f--k"s and a mother viciously calling her daughter a slut. The movie has too much edgy material for most teens (and the slow pace and unfocused narrative would likely lose their interest anyway), but valuable lessons could be gleaned about the dangers of drug addiction.

Sexual Content

No nudity/explicit scenes, but plenty of sexual activity. Amy-Jo's parents get physical in a darkened room while she's falling asleep. She hears her dad having sex with an unknown woman through their front door. Amy-Jo also accidentally sees a porno movie being shot while looking out a window; although the scene is pretty innocuous, it's suggested what the actors are doing. Joe talks to Amy-Jo when she and Cole become sexually active and kindly tells her that she can come to him with any questions or worries.


The movie begins with Amy-Jo looking at a newspaper with Vietnam War photos of dead and battered soldiers. Gram smacks Joe really hard across the face. It's revealed that Cole's stepfather beat him, which is when he began having seizures. A young mother is shown dead of a drug overdose.


Many uses of "f--k" and and its variations, including "motherf--ker" and "f--k you." Also "ass," "hell," "bitch," and "slut."

Social Behavior

Could definitely serve as a warning about the devastating consequences of drug use. There's also very real love between Amy-Jo and Joe; despite all their difficulties, they remain close and communicative with each other.


Not applicable

Drugs / Tobacco / Alcohol

Explores the devastating impact of drug addiction; some scenes are very candid. Joe is continuously battling his heroin addiction; he and his friends are high in several of scenes. One graphic representation of him shooting heroin. Amy-Jo goes to a drug dealer's house to buy Joe drugs. Amy-Jo and Cole get high on nitrous oxide, and Cole takes medication for "seizures," but it's revealed that he also takes anti-anxiety medication and presumably struggles with drug addiction. Most of the characters drink; many scenes in bars and clubs. Amy-Jo's mother is an alcoholic who gets so drunk she can't walk and ends up collapsing. A young mother overdoses on drugs and is found dead. Joe was deported from Europe because he was busted with marijuana. Many of the characters smoke cigarettes; smoking in nearly every scene.

  • Age appropriate
  • Not an issue
  • Depends on your child and your family
  • Parents strongly cautioned
  • Not appropriate for kids of the age

This information for parents is provided by Common Sense Media, a non-profit organization dedicated to improving kids' media lives.

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