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Ex Machina

Movie review by
Jeffrey M. Anderson, Common Sense Media
Ex Machina Movie Poster Image
Brilliant, emotional, mature sci-fi tale could be a classic.
  • R
  • 2015
  • 108 minutes
Parents recommendPopular with kids

Parents say

age 17+
Based on 14 reviews

Kids say

age 15+
Based on 21 reviews

A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

Many thought-provoking theories/ ideas about the moral consequences of artificial intelligence. Viewers should have a great deal to talk about.

Positive Role Models & Representations

The characters generally behave selfishly and also try to deceive others.


Brief but strong violence includes arm-slicing and stabbing, with heavy blood shown. Characters die. Creepy looking dismantled robots. Arguing.


Female robots shown full-frontally nude in several scenes. Frank discussion about possible sex with robots. A woman begins to undress and seduce a man. Reference to Internet porn.


"F--k" is used several times.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

One of the main characters, an adult, gets really drunk in several scenes. It's implied that he isn't necessarily an alcoholic and can stop drinking at will. The main character also drinks, socially.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Ex Machina is a science-fiction movie about artificial intelligence. It's more thoughtful and less action-oriented than many movies and will give older teens plenty to think and talk about, although it's definitely geared toward mature audiences. There are brief, strong scenes of violence, with slicing, stabbing, and lots of blood. "F--k" is used several times. Full-frontal nudity is shown on lifelike female robots, and the concept of human sex with robots is discussed. Both main male characters drink alcohol, and one gets really drunk in several scenes. This movie may be too cerebral and slow-moving for some audiences, but die-hard sci-fi fans will be eager to see it.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byParamoreFan09 April 26, 2015

Definitely a scary, thought provoking movie.

This is basically "Her" (Spike Jonze's 2013 film) gone wrong. Its format is similar to Stanley Kubrick's The Shining, and like The Shining,... Continue reading
Adult Written byPCDberry May 4, 2015

Ex machina very violent with graphic nudity

This movie has strong violence of stabbings from both robots and humans with gallons of blood that is very realistic, with graphic nudity that includes butts, b... Continue reading
Teen, 14 years old Written byRagglu May 10, 2015

Ex Machina a Sci-Fi Masterpiece

Ex Machina is a though provoking, eerie and intellectual movie aimed at older teenagers and adults. It contains a lot of swearing, many sexual references and nu... Continue reading
Teen, 14 years old Written bykushs July 28, 2016

Cerebral thriller provokes questions, conversation

While the movie creates commotion and provokes interesting questions, it may not be for the youngest of kids. The movie contains graphic nudity, however it is n... Continue reading

What's the story?

In EX MACHINA, Caleb (Domhnall Gleeson), a coder at a global search engine, wins a contest and is invited to spend a week with the company's rich, reclusive, genius boss Nathan (Oscar Isaac). The facility is ultra-modern glass and steel, but it's located in a beautiful, secluded spot in the mountains, surrounded by greenery. There, Nathan asks Caleb to help him test his new A.I. (artificial intelligence) system, a beautiful female robot called Ava (Alicia Vikander). Caleb asks Ava questions to determine just how "real" she seems, but in a few private moments, Ava warns Caleb not to trust his host. Finding himself increasingly drawn to her, Caleb begins to formulate an escape plot. But there's more to this setup than meets the eye.

Is it any good?

Author (The Beach) and screenwriter (28 Days Later, Sunshine, Never Let Me GoDredd) Alex Garland makes his directorial debut with this film; not surprisingly, it's an atmospheric sci-fi movie. Much more surprising is the fact that it surpasses everything else in his filmography. Every aspect is expertly constructed. It's bursting with ideas, theories, and moral questions about the concept of artificial intelligence, and it leaves these theories open to interpretation by a smart audience.

Ex Machina's overall design is brilliant, using the spacious frame to juxtapose nature and science, chaos and order. The creepy, futuristic music score by Geoff Barrow and Ben Salisbury rings true emotionally. The visual effects around the Ava character are seamless, and the human characters are believable and fascinating, with strong performances by everyone involved. Ex Machina achieves that rare combination of eliciting both strong thoughts and feelings, and it deserves to be known as a sci-fi classic.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about Ex Machina's violence. How much is shown, and how frequently? Does the fact that the violent moments are brief affect their impact?

  • What does the movie have to say about the nature of artificial intelligence overall? Do you think it's actually going to happen? What rights will A.I. have? How do we tell the difference? What's the "Turing Test" described in the movie?

  • Does the nudity in the movie feel more or less significant because the naked characters are supposed to be robots? How does the movie address sexual attraction between robots and humans?

  • How does the movie depict drinking? Are there realistic consequences?

  • What do you think of the ending? Is it a happy ending or a sad ending? Is everything wrapped up? Does it leave questions?

Movie details

Themes & Topics

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