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Don't Look Now

Movie review by
Rich Phippen, Common Sense Media
Don't Look Now Movie Poster Image
Unsettling thriller about grief has sex and some violence.
  • R
  • 1973
  • 110 minutes

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

Mature themes around death and grief are integral but are arguably not dealt with healthily by the characters. Lack of communication.

Positive Role Models & Representations

John and Laura are a loving and supportive couple; they deal with their daughter's death in different ways.

Violence

A child drowns at the start of the film; another dead body is later retrieved from a canal. A character nearly falls to their death but is eventually saved. One character has their throat cut and bleeds out. General sense of unease throughout the movie.

Sex

An extended sex sequence features full nudity and sexual gratification. A bathroom scene shows bare breasts and buttocks.

Language

"S--t" and "f--k" are both said twice.

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Characters drink whiskey to relieve stress; several characters smoke.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Don't Look Now is an unnerving thriller starring Donald Sutherland and Julie Christie that deals with the the death of a child, grief, and the supernatural. An extended sex scene includes full nudity. Both of the main characters are seen naked, with bare breasts and buttocks seen. A young girl drowns, and her father holds her lifeless body in his arms. In another scene, a woman's body is dragged out of a canal. Profanity is rare but does include "s--t" and "f--k." A character has their throat cut, which results in much blood and their subsequent death. Characters drink whiskey to relieve stress and several characters smoke.

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What's the story?

DON’T LOOK NOW tells the story of John Baxter (Donald Sutherland) and his wife, Laura (Julie Christie). Following their daughter's tragic death, John and Laura go to Venice, where John takes a job restoring a church. During a meal in a restaurant, Laura and John meet two elderly sisters, one of whom claims to be able to see their deceased daughter -- and further claims that John shares her psychic ability. John dismisses this but soon starts seeing unusual things that he doesn't understand.

Is it any good?

Frequently cited as a classic of 1970s indie cinema, this is very much of its time, with offbeat editing and unclear storytelling. Don't Look Now is ambiguous and vague, designed to unsettle and confuse. The Venice backdrop is very much part of the cast, with its dark corners and maze-like surroundings adding to the sense of foreboding.

Sutherland and Christie are both excellent, he as a bemused husband trying to make sense of the weirdness occurring around him, and she as the mother who desperately wants to believe in her daughter's presence. The supporting cast delivers naturalistic performances that add to a feeling of dread that's impossible to put a finger on.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about grief in Don't Look Now. How do Laura and John each deal with their daughter's death? Do they communicate effectively?

  • Talk about the sex scene in the movie. Was it gratuitous? Did it add to the story or characters? If so, how?

  • Were you scared by the movie? What scared you the most? Why do some people like scary movies?

Movie details

For kids who love scares

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