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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
The overarching positive message is that even people perceived as misfits are human and deserve to be treated with respect and consideration -- not because the bullied person will snap and set their gym on fire but because it's just the decent thing to do.
Positive Role Models
This isn't a movie chock full of role models, but at least Ms. Desjardin genuinely cares about Carrie and doesn't want the "mean girls" to bully her. On the other hand, Ms. Desjardin slaps Carrie, punishes her gym class, and threatens them with suspension. Sue and Danny sacrifice their prom night together to give Carrie a special night to remember. Mrs. White is a religious zealot who emotionally and physically abuses her daughter.
Violence & Scariness
Violence includes cruel pranks, murder, and self harm. The movie opens with a bloody unassisted birth after which the mother nearly kills her newborn. Chris is depicted as sadistic; she cuts a pig's throat, pours a bucket of pig's blood on Carrie, and later tries to run over her with a car. Mrs. White self harms by cutting herself and is abusive toward Carrie (she tries to kill her as a newborn and later in the film stabs her). Carrie uses her telekinesis in disturbing ways: she impales people, sets rooms on fire, turns over a car and makes objects hit people. A teenage boy is killed when a bucket falls on his head. There are few close-ups of dead or nearly dead characters. A guy threatens his girlfriend if she gets them arrested.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Two high-school seniors are depicted having sex in the backseat of a car; his bare back and legs are visible, and she wears just a bra. The scene is brief but realistic: thrusting and moaning. There's also a lot of passionate kissing. Another teenager makes out with her boyfriend who in one scene asks her to kiss her female best friend (the best friend seems willing, but the kiss doesn't come to pass). A teenager finds out she's pregnant. Teen girls are in bras and underwear in the locker room scene.
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Strong language includes "f--k," "a--hole," "s--t," "douche," "Goddamn," and more. A teacher tells her students they've done something "s--tty" and punishes them for bullying Carrie. Carrie's mother calls her breasts "dirty pillows." The clique of popular girls makes fun of Carrie by throwing tampons at her and chanting "Plug it up!" and "freak" at her.
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Products & Purchases
iPhone, Jeep Cherokee
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Underage drinking in a couple of scenes.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Carrie is the newest adaptation of Stephen King's best-selling 1974 horror novel of the same name. Director Kimberly Peirce focuses even more on the bullying angle than her 1976 predecessor Brian De Palma, and the violent sequences are even bloodier: people are impaled, burned, stabbed, and bludgeoned to death; and a mother physically and emotionally abuses her daughter. The humiliation is also just as disturbing: Carrie is ruthlessly ridiculed and even recorded/photographed for being so upset at her first menstruation, and in the film's climax a vicious prank leads to her being covered in pig's blood. Although there's no nudity in the locker room scene, girls do appear in towels or just their bras and panties. There's also a good bit of passionate kissing as well as one sex scene between teens and some underage drinking. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
It's hard to argue in favor of a remake, especially one of a movie that's considered a classic in its genre. Most of the time, nothing good will come of it, but Peirce does a decent if not novel job at updating De Palma's signature '70s teen horror flick. Much is the same -- the oppressively religious mother, the cruelty of teenage girls, the well-meaning P.E. teacher (played this time by character actress Judy Greer) -- just as King described it. If anything, thanks to today's obsession with social media, the bullying is even more pronounced and disturbing and widespread.
Peirce doesn't shy away from the power of burgeoning adolescent sexuality, but then again, it's not like De Palma glossed over it either. A feminist filmmaker, she makes sure this Carrie isn't just a startled victim to her own powers; Moretz' protagonist owns her abilities, delights in them. When she's enacting her bloody vengeance, Carrie is often half smiling. The performances are good (Moore manages to portray Margaret White as more frightened than crazy), and the story still resonates, but the greater question remains, why remake Carrie when the original is considered so definitive? At least this new version will make Facebook-age teens think about the figurative if not literal horrors of high school humiliation and bullying.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.