A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Barney tries to do the right thing, even though he seems thwarted at every turn. In the end, he stays true to his beliefs and lets the people around him drag themselves down.
Positive Role Models
Barney is far from perfect, but his heart's in the right place, which means he's pretty much the only character with an interest in doing the right thing. By the end, that's what helps him to get ahead while almost everyone else has been brought down by their own flaws.
Violence & Scariness
Two scenes include accidental killings, neither of which is especially violent or gruesome. But a key part of the film centers on a serial killer who dismembers victims, and quite a lot of body parts are shown, sometimes wrapped in plastic and sometimes out in the open -- including a close-up of a severed penis. Fighting.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Violence & Scariness in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Almost every character swears a blue streak in nearly every scene, especially "f--k," "s--t," and variations thereof.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Language in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Some main characters smoke frequently.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Drinking, Drugs & Smoking in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Barney Thomson is a dark comedy that tries to blend a serial killer mystery with a tale about a hapless, barely employed barber (Robert Carlyle) who has a domineering mother (Emma Thompson). Expect a few on-screen deaths that aren't especially violent in and of themselves, but there are also a lot of dismembered body parts on display (including a man's genitals). Some characters smoke cigarettes, and just about everyone swears pretty much constantly (mostly "f--k" and "s--t"). On the upside, in the end, the main character stays true to his beliefs and tries to do the right thing. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
Creating a dark comedy like this is a challenge, requiring a film to straddle the line between shock and laughter -- and Carlyle gets close. Barney Thomson the character is a bit of a sad sack: middle-aged, set to lose his job, unmarried, unmoored, and with only his mother to turn to for help (which she's not very gracious about it). Barney Thomson the movie is almost as muddled as it tries to make Thomson into a sympathetic character.
There are funny parts -- even having a serial killer who likes to send random body parts through the mail doesn't tip the film into horror -- but the main flaw is that we're not given much reason to care about what happens to Thomson. Carlyle does a fine job playing a highly uncharismatic man, and Thompson is even better as a truly frightful and unpleasant mother, but their good acting only highlights that there's not much about the characters to hold our attention. (Plus, the fact that Thompson is only two years older than her on-screen son is kind of distracting!)
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.