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Joe Bell | 2020 | R | – 1.5.6

content-ratingsWhy is “Joe Bell” rated R? The MPAA rating has been assigned for “language including offensive slurs, some disturbing material, and teen partying.” The Kids-In-Mind.com evaluation includes a couple of kisses between a husband and his wife and two teenage boys, a suicide by hanging, a death by road accident, an assault and numerous threatening text messages, several arguments, and over 10 F-words and other strong language. Read our parents’ guide below for details on sexual content, violence & strong language.


The true story of an Oregon man (Mark Wahlberg), who in 2013 decided to walk across the entire continental US, spreading a message of tolerance, after his gay son (Reid Miller) committed suicide due to relentless bullying. Also with Connie Britton, Maxwell Jenkins, Gary Sinise and Morgan Lily. Directed by Reinaldo Marcus Green. [Running Time: 1:30]

Joe Bell SEX/NUDITY 1

 – Two teen boys kiss and they are interrupted by other people walking nearby. Two teen boys stare at each other across a school cafeteria. A husband and his wife hug and kiss a couple of times.
 A person dressed in drag flirts with a man at a table in a gay bar. We see people dressed like celebrities at a Drag Night in a gay bar and one person is dressed like Dolly Parton with large breasts and cleavage. A man is shown shirtless and we see his bare chest and shoulders. Several teen boys are shown shirtless in a locker room and we see bare chests, shoulders, abdomens, legs and backs.

Joe Bell VIOLENCE/GORE 5

 – A teen boy is found dead hanging from a playground swing set and his mother runs to his body being wheeled away on a gurney (we see the boy’s legs from a distance). A body is put into an ambulance on the side of a road, we see debris in the distance, and we understand that the person was struck and killed by a truck driver that had apparently fallen asleep at the wheel.
 Several teen boys mock and threaten another teen boy in a locker room; the boy struggles to keep them off him and they push him to the ground while chanting and hitting him. A teen boy kicks another teen boy in a crowded school cafeteria. A teen opens his locker and finds a snake; he recoils while other teens are laughing.
 A man sits in his truck with a gun in his lap and his young son convinces him to give him the gun before he leaves the house. Someone steals a man’s pushcart with his belongings in it. A man walks alone on highways and roads pushing a cart filled with belongings in many scenes in the movie; some scenes show cars and trucks passing him and honking at him and he is shown bandaging blisters worn on his feet a couple of times. A man tears down his tent and seeks shelter inside when a windstorm blows through.
 A teen boy receives text messages that read, “Just kill yourself,” and “Off yourself.” A husband yells at his wife and son after reading a note that someone left on his teenage son’s grave. A threatening text message reads, “We’re just getting started,” after a teen boy is attacked in a locker room by several other teen boys. A teen boy tells his father that he is being picked on at school because he is gay. A man yells at his son for practicing cheerleading cheers in the front yard (where neighbors can see him). A man says of a teen boy, “He’s just a kid. It’s a phase. He might grow out of it.” Teen boys mock another teen boy and say disparaging things to him for being gay. A husband tells his wife of drinking too much and they argue. A preacher in a church says, “Gays are going to [mild obscenity deleted],” and “Repent your sins or leave.” A reference is made to Catholic priests and child molestation. A man says that he was raised Christian.
 A man spits on the ground a couple of times.

Joe Bell LANGUAGE 6

 – About 13 F-words and its derivatives, 4 sexual references, 16 scatological terms, 14 anatomical terms, 14 mild obscenities, 3 derogatory terms for gay people, name-calling (unstable, hardcore lawman, ignorant, hypocrite, macho, moron, grandpa, Queens), exclamations (relax, hey, stop, are you [F-word deleted] kidding me), 1 religious profanity (GD), 7 religious exclamations (e.g. For God’s Sake, Holy [scatological term deleted], For Christ’s Sake, God Knows, Oh God, people talk about a sin against God, several people say a prayer around a table). | profanity glossary |

Joe Bell SUBSTANCE USE

 – A person smokes from what looks like a bong at a party. A woman drinks a glass of alcohol, a woman drinks glasses of wine in a few scenes, underage boys and girls drink alcohol at a party, and a husband tells his wife that he is concerned about her “drinking again.” A teen boy smokes a cigarette in a few scenes, a man uses smokeless tobacco, and a woman smokes cigarettes in several scenes.

Joe Bell DISCUSSION TOPICS

 – Bullying, suicide, teen suicide, parenting, homosexuality, tolerance, harassment, kindness, respect, accountability, torment, sacrifice, romantic relationships, secrets, truth, forgiveness, choice.

Joe Bell MESSAGE

 – People have trouble accepting what they don’t understand.

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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