A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Working together to survive. However, this is done with mixed results. The movie follows two couples over the course of a birthday dinner where various secrets and lies unfold.
Positive Role Models
Adam and Eva relocate to the Irish countryside as part of committing to spending their lives together. But this causes cracks to emerge in their relationship. Lucas cares about his partner and his friends, but is also boorish and arrogant. Various characters lie or do not tell the whole truth.
Gender balance, and ethnic and national diversity among the main cast.
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Violence & Scariness
Character approaches a morally wounded animal that is in pain and distressed. Bloody injury and trauma. Surgical gore and injury shown in archive footage. A home invasion takes place. Characters are slapped, wrestled with, gagged, bound, stabbed, shot, and assaulted with blunt weapons during altercations. Ritualized use of blood and gore. Reference to sexual assault.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Kissing. Sex is discussed.
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Language used includes "f--k," "f---ing," "d--k," "motherf----r," "p---y," "bollocks," and "s--t."
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Products & Purchases
Characters are part of a property business that involves glossy promotional videos. One also posts videos to social media to manage their business and public image. Characters haggle and cut deals to enrich themselves.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Characters drink alcohol in moderation socially and with meals. Recreational drug use advocated for medicinal purposes. One character later has their drink spiked with a hallucinogenic drug, causing some trauma.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Barbarians is an Irish-set thriller that takes place over the course of a birthday dinner involving two couples, and features bloody violence and strong language throughout. Because of its subject matter and how its main characters treat one another, there are no role models or positive messages. Almost all of the four leads lie or deceive a friend or loved one in some way, while it is implied that the property venture run by Adam (Iwan Rheon) and Lucas (Tom Cullen) is exploitative. Despite its remote setting, the small cast enables the movie to have a reasonable gender balance and some diversity. Gory violence is frequent, including bloody wounds shown on both people and animals, as well as several violent, bloody deaths. There is a surreal element to some of the violence, which is made ambiguous because one of the characters has his drink spiked with a hallucinogenic drug. Elsewhere there is social drinking in moderation, but with some alcohol thrown in protest as tempers flare. Swearing is also frequent and strong, with multiple variants of "f--k." To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
This low-budget thriller has some familiar faces but also plenty of familiar plot devices, none of them that well-crafted. Centered around an ill-fated birthday meal, Barbarians rushes both its setup and its finale, to make room for a home invasion at its halfway point that drives an even bigger wedge between the passive-aggressive Adam and his bullying childhood friend and business partner, Lucas. While Games of Thrones' Iwan Rheon capably plays against type as the former, there's not much for Downton Abbey star Tom Cullen to do as Lucas, other than literally throw his weight around. In addition, the home invaders that disrupt proceedings have to work as hard to justify their place in the story as they do in tying-up and threatening the lead characters.
Writer-director Charles Dorfman does seed some interesting bits of backstory for his cast to play with. But overall, you're left with a feeling that Barbarians would've worked better as a slow-burning psychological drama, without the forced horror element, instead leaving its four leads to inflict more of their secrets and lies on each other as their personal lives crumble around them.
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.