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Concrete Cowboy | 2020 | R | – 1.5.10

content-ratingsWhy is “Concrete Cowboy” rated R? The MPAA rating has been assigned for “language throughout, drug use and some violence.” The Kids-In-Mind.com evaluation includes a kiss between teenagers, a hug and some flirting, a death by gunshot with bloody wounds, a threat with a gun, discussions of violent deaths, discussions of people serving time in prison, arguments, expulsion from school and over 80 F-words and other strong language. Read our parents’ guide below for details on sexual content, violence & strong language.


Inspired by the real-life Fletcher Street Stables: When a 15-year-old (Caleb McLaughlin) is expelled from high school after repeatedly getting into fights, he is taken to live with his estranged father (Idris Elba) in North Philadelphia. There he discovers the city’s urban cowboy community, which provides him with purpose and a refuge from gang violence. Also with Lorraine Toussaint, Jharrel Jerome, Method Man, Swen Temmel, Byron Bowers and Terez Land. Directed by Ricky Staub. [Running Time: 1:51]

Concrete Cowboy SEX/NUDITY 1

 – Men and women dance together at a party, with some hip thrusting and caressing. A woman sits on a man’s lap at a table. A teen boy and a teen girl flirt in a couple of scenes, and the girl kisses the boy in one scene. A man and a woman hug tenderly.
 A man jokingly talks about “roping” a woman up, like with a horse.
 A young woman wears low-cut and cropped tops in a few scenes (cleavage and bare abdomen are shown). A shirtless man is seen sitting in his apartment (we see his bare chest, abdomen and shoulders). A man takes a teen boy’s shirt off to clean him from blood and we see the teen’s bare shoulders, chest and abdomen.

Concrete Cowboy VIOLENCE/GORE 5

 – A teen boy in a car in a parking lot is shot several times and we see his dead body with bloody wounds when another teen pulls him out and holds him briefly before running away.
 Two men run behind a teen boy and slam him against a car, drag him to the trunk of the car, throw him in and threaten him with a gun; the car speeds away as police approach and the teen in the trunk jumps out and rolls on the ground before running away with another teen and they are chased by a police officer but get way and hide in a tunnel. A woman yells at her son and hits him in the head.
 A woman leaves her teenage son on the street with his possessions in plastic bags and drives away as the boy pounds on her car window and pleads with her not to leave him behind. A man throws a teen boy’s bag of possessions at him when he drives up in a car after being out all night; the man yells at the driver of the car, kicks the car and tells him to leave, and then threatens the teen boy that he cannot stay with him if he is going to hang out with the other boy. A teen boy breaks into a horse stable, climbs into a stall through a window and is confronted by a horse that snorts and pushes him against a wall but calms when the boy pets its nose. A man at a party confronts a teen boy about someone moving in on their corner and tells him to let him know if he hears anything. A man shoves a teen boy onto a sofa and yells at him; the boy argues with him and complains about there not being any food in the fridge. A teen boy asks his father, “Why you hate me?” Two teen boys argue about what they are going to do now that a plan to make money seems to have been discovered. A teen boy argues with his father about not standing up to animal control people taking their horses away. A man and a teen boy break into a horse stable and prepare to take two horses until they are confronted by a police officer.
 We hear gunshots in the distance in a neighborhood at night, a teen boy becomes frightened trying to find a place to sleep, and a couple of people turn him away. A man switches on a light in his apartment and a horse in the room whinnies loudly startling a teen boy; the man tells the teen to watch his hands and implies that the horse could bite him. A horse gets out of a stable and is found on a nearby baseball diamond where several people link arms and try to restrain it; the horse charges them, bucks and kicks at them until a teen boy manages to attach a led to its harness and climb on its back; the horse bucks and the teen falls hard on the ground but gets back on and rides the horse back to the stables (no injuries are shown). Heavy machinery prepares to tear down a horse stable and people stand outside watching.
 A man in a wheelchair talks about his brother being killed and that he was shot in the spine in a dispute over a street corner. A woman tells a teen boy that he can find his father in a neighborhood horse stable and says, “You’ll smell it when you get close.” A man tells a teen boy that he will have to get rid of his bad attitude. A woman talks about history being whitewashed to exclude African-Americans’ contribution. A woman talks about breaking the will of horses and forcing them to submit. A man talks about a famous musician’s father dying when he was young and that he became a success without a father. We hear the voice of a woman explaining to another woman that her son is being expelled from high school after being involved in another fight and that school police officers had to restrain him (we see the teen with bruises on his face later).
 Horses are shown in a stable in an urban neighborhood with a small field where they run and people practice riding them. A man in a wheelchair is helped onto a seat on the back of a horse he’s strapped in and he rides. Animal control officials are shown placing several horses in trailers and taking them away from a stable; a man indicates that there have been reports of malnutrition and that there is a dead horse on the premises as people yell for them to stop what they are doing. A teen boy’s boots are placed on a horse and it is led to a cemetery where the boots are placed on the teen’s grave.
 We see the hooves of a dead horse partially covered by a tarp and the corpse is referred to in a couple of scenes. A teen boy shovels out stalls in a horse stable and carries one shovelful at a time out to a bin; he drops some dung on his shoes in one scene and becomes upset (we see his shoes smeared with the muck). A teen boy fills a wheelbarrow with horse dung and wheels it up a ramp and dumps it into a bin piled with the muck (we hear a squish). We see piles of horse dung on the ground and in stalls in a stable and piled in a bin outside the stables in several scenes. A horse whinnies loudly when a teen boy gives it some cheese. A teen boy has blood on his hands, arms and chest and we see a man washing the blood away with a cloth.

Concrete Cowboy LANGUAGE 10

 – About 83 F-words and its derivatives, 74 scatological terms, 24 anatomical terms, 10 mild obscenities, 29 derogatory terms for African-American people, name-calling (crazy, dummy, nasty, coward, trash man, cripples, raggedy [anatomical term deleted], hipster, fool, youngin’, mucker, cult life, dumb rules), exclamations (wow, not bad, trippin’, yo, giddyup, hold up, ooh, shut the [F-word deleted] up, poppin’ off, whoo, oh my goodness), 1 religious profanity (GD), 5 religious exclamations (e.g. Oh My God, God, For God’s Sake, Holy [scatological term deleted]). | profanity glossary |

Concrete Cowboy SUBSTANCE USE

 – Two teen boys smoke what is implied to be marijuana in several scenes with some smoking happening while they drive in a car, and people are shown smoking marijuana and drinking alcohol at a party. People drink alcohol around a fire in several scenes, and a man drinks from a bottle of beer outside while washing a horse. A man smokes in his house and in a stable and outdoors in several scenes, and a young man smokes a cigar in a car.

Concrete Cowboy DISCUSSION TOPICS

 – Family, rules, expulsion, mistakes, disappointment, dreams, finding something better.

Concrete Cowboy MESSAGE

 – The past is not the present. Home is not a place, it’s a family.

CAVEATS

Be aware that while we do our best to avoid spoilers it is impossible to disguise all details and some may reveal crucial plot elements.

We've gone through several editorial changes since we started covering films in 1992 and older reviews are not as complete & accurate as recent ones; we plan to revisit and correct older reviews as resources and time permits.

Our ratings and reviews are based on the theatrically-released versions of films; on video there are often Unrated, Special, Director's Cut or Extended versions, (usually accurately labelled but sometimes mislabeled) released that contain additional content, which we did not review.


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