Preteen girl looking at a cell phone with her parents

Family movie night? There's an app for that

Download our new mobile app on iOS and Android.

Parents' Guide to


By Jeffrey M. Anderson, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 16+

Nicole Kidman is great in dark, violent crime drama.

Movie R 2018 123 minutes
Destroyer Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 18+

Based on 1 parent review

age 18+

Involves unpleasant sex

Parents should know Nicole Kidman’s character is trying to get some information from a man. He says he’ll give it to her for a price, and uncovers his penis (not actually shown.) She is disgusted, but masterbates him. The entire event is shown, but without the actual nudity. He demands she spit on it, and then we watch his face as he orgasms. The mood of the scene is dark and bleak, and again, the woman is disgusted throughout. I guess abusive would be the wrong word for the scene because the woman did it in exchange for information she was desperate to have, rather than because she was forced, but it’s ugly and gross and it’s just not something any 14-year old kid — of any gender - should be absorbing. The scene is so graphically clear that it’s like a how-to for the act. We chose to watch this movie because it was rated 14A, and usually movies that are 14A fall into a more harmless shoot ‘em up style of action movie. This movie is not that. It upset me so much that parents around the country will actually trust the rating and rent this movie for their grade 8 kids, having been assured by the rating that it’s fine, that I just had to come on here and hopefully prevent a few of kids from seeing it. The world is full to the brim with woman-as-prostitute/abused kinds of roles and it’s not a lens that is healthy for either boys or girls. This kind of thing steals kids’ childhoods and it’s just not right.

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say: (1 ):
Kids say: Not yet rated

Driven by Kidman's forceful, demolishing performance and a deliriously complex, snaky screenplay, this mature, intricately designed crime drama is more memorable and more haunting than most. Directed by Karyn Kusama and co-written by her husband, Phil Hay, and his writing partner, Matt Manfredi (they all made the excellent thriller The Invitation), Destroyer is an awards-season showcase for Kidman's talents. She ages from the glow of youth to a shambling wreck, her face hardened, her narrow eyes reflecting agony and suspicion. It's an astonishing piece of work -- and, refreshingly, it's not all the film has to offer. Kidman is supported by, and part of, an equally impressive movie.

Destroyer has plenty of secrets, and it'd be a shame to give any of them away, but it's safe to expect many moments of gnashing suspense and gripping bittersweet. The movie's use of light and shadow turns Los Angeles into a modern world of film noir, from desolate, graffiti-tagged slabs of buildings to a slash of diagonal shadow under the bridge where Erin first appears. The intense sound design grabs everyday noises and twists them into a cacophony. And when it's not moving the plot forward and/or generating suspense and mystery, the movie zeroes in on Erin's character, her painful attempts to connect with her daughter, and the heartbreaking story of how she simply lost everything. Destroyer is a dark film, and it's not for casual viewing, but it is unforgettable.

Movie Details

  • In theaters: December 25, 2018
  • On DVD or streaming: April 16, 2019
  • Cast: Nicole Kidman , Sebastian Stan , Toby Kebbell
  • Director: Karyn Kusama
  • Inclusion Information: Female directors, Asian directors, Female actors
  • Studio: Annapurna Pictures
  • Genre: Drama
  • Run time: 123 minutes
  • MPAA rating: R
  • MPAA explanation: language throughout, violence, some sexual content and brief drug use
  • Last updated: June 20, 2023

Inclusion information powered by

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.

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

See how we rate