Fight Club

  • Review Date: March 7, 2005
  • Rated: R
  • Genre: Drama
  • Release Year: 1999

Common Sense Media says

Lurid, twisted, and violent. Not for kids.
  • Review Date: March 7, 2005
  • Rated: R
  • Genre: Drama
  • Release Year: 1999

Age(i)

2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17

Quality(i)

 

What parents need to know

Positive messages

The plot is pretty much an album of calculated, anti-social acts, from pointless brawls and hazing to impersonating leukemia victims and organized vandalism sprees, all explained as rebellion against a desolate consumer society.

Violence

Graphic hand-to-hand fighting. One character, judged uncommonly handsome, gets his faced brutally battered as a result. Extensive bombings of property.

Sex

A twisted love triangle, and so-called subliminal flashes of pornography in a subplot (if not in fact). Much talk of the breasts that grew on a male supporting character because of hormone treatment.

Language

Graphic expletives.

Consumerism
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Drunkenness and frequent smoking.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this movie is wayyyy cool in terms of style and flip cynicism, and it's also wayyyy lurid, twisted, and violent. Older teens can hopefully take the over-the-top, R-rated cult hit as a dark-humored novelty act. It derives from a novel by trendy author Chuck Palahniuk. You wouldn't want kids to use either as a blueprint for behavior, which includes hazing-style beatings, vandalism, and bombings.

Parents say

Kids say

What's the story?

Ed Norton's central character is nameless (Closed-Captioning and DVD menus call him either Jack or Rupert), a bored office worker suffering from alienation-induced insomnia. He can only sleep after attending anonymous support groups for alcoholics and cancer victims, although he is neither. That option disappears when he finds a hostile woman, Marla (Helena Bonham-Carter) doing the same thing, for kicks and free food. He meets a charismatic soap salesman and part-time movie projectionist named Tyler Durden (Brad Pitt), with more extreme coping solutions for modern life. The duo form a "fight club," beating each other for the primal thrill. The notion attracts other bored young men, and soon a number of secret Fight Clubs pummel themselves throughout the city. For Tyler, though, it's only the beginning of something he calls "Project Mayhem," orchestrated sabotage to overthrow the consumerist society. He's already been conducting his campaign on a small scale by splicing subliminal frames of pornography into family movies. Now, using Fight Club as an underground army, he spearheads bombings and monkey-wrenchings against The System. Rupert (or Jack, or whoever) watches Tyler's progress with alarm, as his own condo explodes and police link him to the attacks. Worse, Marla resurfaces, and a dangerous love triangle forms between her, the Ed Norton character, and Tyler. We already know from the film's dynamic opening that Tyler will end up holding a gun on his former friend, and the storyline is a flashback. Not necessarily a reliable flashback, though, and FIGHT CLUB has a celebrated SIXTH SENSE-style plot surprise that demands the viewer rethink all that's come before.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

Even without that whiplash revelation, the film is still a wild ride; among its many inside jokes and eccentricities, the filmmakers, in imitation of Tyler, stuck single-frame subliminal nude photos into the feature. Not-so-subliminal are incidents of extreme violence, as Fight Club members hold nothing back (and wear no boxing gloves), and a sex scene with Marla that's no less intense for being mostly CGI.

FIGHT CLUB derives from a novel by trendy author Chuck Palahniuk, whose book actually has a stranger, more downbeat ending than the movie. You wouldn't want kids to use either as a blueprint for behavior (at least the filmmakers made certain that the bomb-making recipes in the script are ineffective). Unlike BRAZIL, another striking cult picture that advocates terrorism against dehumanizing forces, FIGHT CLUB at least claims to take place in the real world. We can only recommend it for older teenagers who recognize it as more of a punk satire than a real call to arms.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the cynicism and anarchy shown here. What pushes the main characters to behave that way? Why do the narrator and Marla have a fascination with self-help groups? How are the extremely flawed characters here somehow likeable?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:October 15, 1999
DVD release date:March 7, 2000
Cast:Brad Pitt, Edward Norton, Helena Bonham Carter
Director:David Fincher
Studio:Fox Searchlight
Genre:Drama
Run time:139 minutes
MPAA rating:R
MPAA explanation:disturbing and graphic depiction of violent anti-social behavior, sexuality and language.

This review of Fight Club was written by

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging, great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging, good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging, good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging, okay learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Teen, 13 years old Written byFightClub July 14, 2010
AGE
7
QUALITY
 

Amazing

One of the best movies ever! Sorta violent but nothing a 7 year old couldn't handle if he/she was mature enough. The sex scene might set a few parents back from letting there child/children watching though.

What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Teen, 16 years old Written byscob October 27, 2009
AGE
14
QUALITY
 

I liked it.

I saw this when I was 14, and honestly I think it's one of the best movies out there. Only thing that bothered me when I first saw it was the unconventional sex.

What other families should know
Too much sex
Adult Written byMarilynManson March 12, 2010
AGE
15
QUALITY
 

Awesome

This is one of my favorite movies. It made me want to live my life to the fullest.

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