A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Movie is fairly pessimistic, asserting that an increasing percentage of the world's population is bad and not deserving of gifts. While movie ends on a positive note, it's hard to shake idea that it doesn't represent very much happiness/niceness. A nasty, scheming child does get his comeuppance.
Positive Role Models
In theory, Santa Claus gets at least a few points for being a role model -- bringing joy to the world, etc. -- but this version of him is grumpy and surly and unafraid to resort to violence. In the end, he looks forward to a brighter future, but much pessimism still remains. In a departure from the typical (lack of) representation in many holiday movies, Mrs. Claus is Black.
Violence & Scariness
Guns and shooting. One child threatens another with electric shocks. Character threatens to kill members of a child's family. Main character shot in his side; bloody wound shown. Main character's eye shot out. Many minor characters shot. Characters are killed. Bloody corpse. Blood spurts. Blood spots, trails in snow. A child hires a man to kill Santa Claus. Character's arm broken in martial arts class. Stabbing. Fighting. Hitting someone with chunk of firewood. Kicking.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Santa and Mrs. Claus kiss and are shown lying in bed (presumably after sex). Santa shown shirtless. Flirting. Character considers being unfaithful to spouse.
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Uses of "f--k," "motherf----r," "s--t," "t-ts," "ass," "pr--k," "hell," "damn."
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Products & Purchases
Apple computer shown.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Drinking in bar: beer and shots. Main character carries a flask and smokes a cigar. Villain smokes cigarettes. Milk dosed with fentanyl.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Fatman is an action/fantasy movie that imagines Santa Claus as a grumpy, drinking, gun-toting tough guy (Mel Gibson) who has to fight when a young boy hires a hit man to kill him. There's lots of violence, including guns and shooting, characters getting killed, blood spurts and bloody trails, fighting, stabbing, arm-breaking, etc. A young girl is threatened, both with electric shocks and with death to her family members (and dog). Santa and Mrs. Claus kiss and are shown lying in bed (presumably after sex), with Santa shirtless. There's also some sex-related talk and flirting. Language includes uses of "f--k," "motherf----r," "s--t," "t-ts," and more. Santa smokes a cigar and carries a flask, and characters drink in a bar. The villain smokes cigarettes, and a glass of milk is laced with fentanyl. It's not as funny as it might sound, but it somehow works, even if it's not meant for younger 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?
This strange, dark Christmas movie is a curious mix of fantasy, violence, and surprisingly few overt laughs, but it still somehow seems confident and fully committed to its wild situations. Written and directed by the Nelms brothers, Eshom and Ian, Fatman takes a little while to establish, that, yes, Chris Cringle is the real Santa Claus. He drives a rattletrap pickup truck, but he knows who's naughty and who's nice, he seems to have been around for a very long time, and he has honest-to-goodness elves working for him (they exist on an all-sweets diet). So despite his grumpiness and despite the uneasy real-world connotations of Gibson occupying the role, the character works.
Another secret weapon is Jean-Baptiste as a delightful, no-nonsense Mrs. Claus, supporting Chris and making the situation feel warmer. Goggins is always good at beady-eyed psychopaths, and Hurstfield -- easily drawing comparisons to certain real-world bullying tyrants -- is the perfect little demon child. The tone of Fatman is strange, with pieces and sections feeling like they almost don't quite fit together, butting up against each other and then oddly fitting. It never really feels like it's totally gone off the rails, and it's not entirely surprising, either, but it's just off-kilter enough and has just enough of heart to make it worth a holiday viewing.
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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.
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