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A Parent's Guide To 'Harley Quinn: Birds of Prey'

By Jodi Smith | Film | February 11, 2020 |

By Jodi Smith | Film | February 11, 2020 |


Yes, for some reason DC instructed theaters to change the movie’s name from Birds of Prey: And the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn to simply Harley Quinn: Birds of Prey. That’s your first lesson, parents. Those titles both refer to the same flick. Now on to the rest.

After Suicide Squad was released, I saw a lot of very small girls dressed up in Daddy’s Little Monster t-shirts at Halloween, so I’m not sure what their actual experience was with the character, but I know that they do love her. My own 15-year-old daughter is a fan of Harley because I’m a fan of Harley, and she did see the movie opening weekend (she loved it since she has great taste). Obviously, there is a world of difference between my daughter and a third-grader, so as for whether you should take younger children to see BoP, let’s go over the adult content in the movie.

Spoilers possible.


This movie is all about violence. Harley snaps a guy’s kneecaps by jumping full force onto them and cracking them backward. People get bats and mallets to the face and there are straight-up murders. Huntress alone leaves men gurgling on their own blood and an entire family is massacred. Then there is the whole thing with peeling faces off of live people.

All of the fight scene violence is set amidst acrobatic stunts performed by the cast themselves and the backdrops give some of them a cartoony feel, but they aren’t the best for kids unless you would like your elementary school child to whack you in the chest with a concussive bag full of confetti while laughing.


I’ll let IMDB handle this: 78 uses of “f*ck”, 25 uses of “sh*t”, and around 5 each of “hell,” “damn,” “piss,” “bastard” and one use of “slut.” If your kid can read you may have your hands full explaining why Montoya (Rosie Perez) spends some of the movie wearing a shirt that says “I Shaved My Balls For This.”

Drugs and Alcohol

Harley just broke up with The Joker, so she spends a lot of time in the movie getting sh*t-faced. There is also one fight scene where cocaine in an evidence storage area busts open and she inhales it, gratefully. There is also an attempt to give an underaged girl a margarita.


You’ve got a cartoon sperm penetrating an egg but there is no nudity in this flick. Bare midriffs and tight pants aren’t going to harm your child. Neither is the revelation that Montoya works with her ex-girlfriend (if your kid even catches that) or that Harley dated a woman once.

There is, however, a scene where a man attempts to take advantage of a fully drunk Harley by taking her into an alley to be abducted into a van. At one point, a different woman is forced to stand on a table in a busy nightclub while another patron is made to cut her dress off, in order to shame her publicly.

Trust me, at this juncture, you shouldn’t even be at the movie with your kids unless they’re like mine and able to ask questions about what they don’t understand, get age-appropriate answers, and fully grasp the idea that the stuff in the movie isn’t to be emulated (except having the back of another woman when they’re in danger). That takes time, a lot of talking, and preparation before this point.

If your child is interested in Harley Quinn and the other characters, I suggest watching Batman: The Animated Series with them instead. Explain why The Joker isn’t right to treat Harley the way he does and speak to them about the violence in it. Don’t take them to see this R-rated movie that may well leave them terrified that some handsome man is going to cut their faces off as their introduction to the very adult world of Harley and the Birds of Prey.

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Jodi Smith is a Senior Reporter, Film & Television at Pajiba. You can email her or follow her on Twitter.

Header Image Source: Warner Bros. Pictures