The Green Knight
Sex, violence in knight's dreamlike, entrancing adventure.
Based on 10 reviews
Based on 8 reviews
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The Green Knight
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A Lot or a Little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that The Green Knight is a mature medieval fantasy-adventure rooted in the King Arthur legend -- specifically, the story of brave Sir Gawain (Dev Patel). Violence includes humans and creatures being beheaded (blood shown), a drunken fight with punching, a dead body pierced with arrows, a field full of dead bodies, cut hands (more blood), and other creepy/eerie stuff (skeletons, dead animals, etc.). A couple has sex, with thrusting but no nudity. A woman makes hand motions near a man's crotch; he writhes and moans, and white ejaculate is shown on his hands and clothing. A man's naked bottom is shown, and a band of traveling giants includes topless female giants. A man kisses a woman on the cheek and a man on the mouth. Before the quest, the main character is frequently drunk and later eats wild mushrooms and hallucinates. Overall, it's entrancing and highly recommended but also dreamlike and disorienting.
Takes its time to take you on the journey
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What's the Story?
In THE GREEN KNIGHT, Gawain (Dev Patel) attends a Christmas celebration hosted by his uncle, the king (Sean Harris). The king asks to hear a story, but Gawain has none to tell. Suddenly, a strange being -- a tree shaped like a man -- enters. This "Green Knight" (Ralph Ineson) offers a game: Whoever dares to strike him with their sword wins his powerful ax, but then the striker must meet the Green Knight again in a year's time to receive a return blow. Gawain volunteers, and, with the king's sword, severs the Green Knight's head. However, the Green Knight simply picks up his head and rides off, laughing. A year later, Gawain realizes that he must keep his bargain or else face shame and dishonor. He rides off on an incredible adventure, facing bandits, giants, ghosts, enchantments, and more. And at the end of it, he must face the Green Knight once more -- and possibly lose his life.
Is It Any Good?
Many movies have been made around the legend of King Arthur and his knights, but none quite like this unusual, entrancing adventure, with its dreamlike touches, stirring movements, and quiet poetry. Prior to The Green Knight, writer-director David Lowery made a neo-Western, a children's fantasy about a dragon, an existential ghost story, and a true-crime story. This wide array of genres all showcased his special style: gentle, observant, and yet with a touch of the impossible. After Gawain's encounter with the woodsy title character in The Green Knight, Lowery lets us know that virtually anything can happen on Gawain's noble quest, and he fulfills that promise. Here, our hero can meet a cunning thief (a scene-stealing Barry Keoghan), a talking fox, a headless ghost, or a band of traveling giants.
All of it feels genuinely imaginative and surprisingly cohesive, perhaps touching a bit on the filmic styles of Kubrick or Malick but also diving into the uncharted unknown. Lowery even refrains from referencing the familiar names "King Arthur," "Guinevere," or "Morgan le Fay," deepening the film's dreamlike feel. Throughout, The Green Knight also wonders about the central purpose of Gawain's quest. Just what does honor actually mean, and what does it cost? What is the point of the Green Knight's game, if it has any point? And -- as Alicia Vikander's character, Essel, wonders -- why do we search for greatness, when goodness might be good enough?
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about The Green Knight's violence. How did it make you feel? Was it exciting? Shocking? What did the movie show or not show to achieve this effect? Why is that important?
Why must Gawain go on his adventure? What does he have to gain? What does he have to lose? How does he demonstrate courage?
What do you think the movie's ending means? What can we learn from Gawain's quest?
How are sex and nudity depicted in the movie? What values are imparted? Is sex here about love? Trust? Power? Why do you think so?
Is drinking glamorized in any way? Are there consequences for drinking? Why does that matter?
- In theaters: July 30, 2021
- On DVD or streaming: August 18, 2021
- Cast: Dev Patel, Alicia Vikander, Joel Edgerton
- Director: David Lowery
- Studio: A24
- Genre: Action/Adventure
- Topics: Magic and Fantasy, Adventures, Book Characters, Monsters, Ghosts, and Vampires
- Character Strengths: Courage
- Run time: 125 minutes
- MPAA rating: R
- MPAA explanation: violence, some sexuality, graphic nudity
- Last updated: February 3, 2023
Our Editors Recommend
Entertaining but violent spin on classic story.
The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring
Fabulous, but also violent and scary.
Brilliant, poignant fairy tale isn't for kids.
Epic King Arthur saga with illicit affairs and brutality.
The Kid Who Would Be King
"Goonies" meets "LOTR" in fun but sometimes scary adventure.
A Monster Calls
Heartrending adaptation explores the enormity of grief.
For kids who love fantasy
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