A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Violence & Scariness
Sword fights and a poisoning.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Hamlet mimes sexual intercourse (fully clothed) and his mother kisses her grown son suggestively.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this version of Hamlet is played to suggest an incestuous relationship between the Prince of Denmark and his mother, Queen Gertrude. In one angry scene, Hamlet mimes sexual intercourse (fully clothed) while berating Gertrude for marrying his uncle before his father was cold in the grave. His mother, in turn, kisses her grown son suggestively. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
A brusque but engaging spectacle, the movie features a streamlined script, plenty of action, and an excellent supporting cast. Mel Gibson plays the deranged prince with vigor and gives the well-known tragedy teen appeal. This version strips down the engaging story so kids will understand it easily. For example, Hamlet and Ophelia's (Helena Bonham-Carter) relationship is made less ambiguous. Lavish sets and costumes lend the movie an old world feel that ideally suits the impassioned revenge story.
However, this adaptation loses some of the texture of the original. There's no political intrigue, nothing's rotten in Denmark except Hamlet's fragile mental state. By emphasizing Hamlet's emotional and rational dissolution, director Franco Zeferelli's (Romeo and Juliet) focuses on the Freudian sexual tension between mother and son. Gibson delivers a performance that is more than passable, but he lacks the verbal expressiveness of Kenneth Branaugh in his 1996 Hamlet.
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Our Editors Recommend
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