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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
In a pretty simple case of good versus evil, characters risk their lives to face difficult odds.
Positive Role Models
Danny starts out as an alcoholic who fights with people, sleeps with random partners, wakes up in strange places, etc. But because Billy goes out of his way to help, Danny gets a job helping others, joins AA, and -- eventually -- risks his life to help little Abra. He even sacrifices himself to save her.
Violence & Scariness
Children in peril, screaming in panic/pain, children killed. Death. Characters fight in a bar; someone's face is punched with a pool ball. Bloody wounds/blood stains. Skin peeled off of hand. Guns and shooting; villains dying, turning to dust. Character shoots himself in head. Fighting with axe. Bruised eye. Sexual predator character (older, married man tries to pick up teen girl). Scary music/scary stuff. Jump scare. Fall from high place. Hypodermic needle. Graphic story about deer hunting.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Fully naked elderly female ghost (more scary than sexy). A man wakes up naked next to a naked woman; his bare bottom is shown, and she's seen from the side. Kissing.
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A few uses of "f--k," "s--t," "bulls--t," "bitch," "son of a bitch," "ass," and "damn." Also "Jesus" (as an exclamation), "hope to God."
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Products & Purchases
Mention of Netflix. Coca-Cola vending machine shown.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
The main character is an alcoholic. He drinks shots in a bar, wakes up not knowing where he is, vomits. He later attends AA meetings, quits drinking. He also smokes cigarettes. Character snorts cocaine.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Doctor Sleep is a horror movie adapted from a Stephen King novel; it's the official sequel to The Shining. Violence is quite intense: Children are shown in peril, screaming, and dying, and there are guns and shooting, fighting and punching, an ax fight, bloody wounds, gore, a sexual predator, and more. The naked ghost of an elderly woman is seen, a man wakes up naked in bed with a woman (his buttocks are shown, and she's shown from the side), and characters kiss. Language includes uses of "f--k," "s--t, "bitch," and more. The main character (Ewan McGregor) is an alcoholic who drinks, passes out, wakes up in unfamiliar places, and vomits. He eventually goes to AA meetings and quits. He also smokes cigarettes, and another character snorts cocaine. Directed by Mike Flanagan, the film can't compare to Stanley Kubrick's original, but, despite the upsetting violence toward kids, it's a well-made, involving sequel for mature viewers. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
While it could never compare to Stanley Kubrick's original, this sequel is a leisurely, likable mix of character development and effective scares, though it's marred by intense violence toward kids. Based on Stephen King's novel and written and directed by Mike Flanagan, Doctor Sleep tackles its most difficult obstacle -- attaching itself to The Shining -- admirably. Flanagan, whose previous King adaptation Gerald's Game was also very strong, uses a few quick clips from Kubrick's film but mostly re-films it, using lookalike actors. This points the focus toward the new story, which McGregor carries nicely with a strongly sympathetic performance. Scenes of Danny at work, sitting with patients who are about to die (and earning his nickname "Doctor Sleep") are wonderfully tender.
Additionally, young Curran displays great strength and screen presence, and she and McGregor make a fine pair. Ferguson's villain is a little one-dimensional, but she plays the role with an infectious joy and sensuality. Already a horror expert, Flanagan delivers a few truly spooky moments, sometimes inspired by the original but frequently his own. Even the movie's long runtime tends to add depth rather than make it feel bloated. But while Doctor Sleep is mostly worth seeing, it crosses a line when it depicts the villains' ruthless violence toward kids; the screaming of skilled young actor Jacob Tremblay will cause most viewers' blood to run cold.
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.