Parents' Guide to

In the Cut

By Nell Minow, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 18+

Weak plot with grisly middle; should've been NC-17.

Movie R 2003 119 minutes
In the Cut Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 18+

Based on 2 parent reviews

age 18+

Campion's film attempts a different style of gaze in this sex-filled thriller

This film swings big and the tone is unlike what we see in most films. Campion's gaze is such that we are forced to observe things from Ryan's point of view, from Leigh's point of view and it is not always a direct line. It is obscured and oblique and constantly shifting. Campion attempts to deconstruct the patriarchal gaze so that we have a different cinematic experience. It's a big swing, but ultimately a satisfying one.
age 18+

Not for kids or teens especially the unrated version

I've never seen the rated version of this but the uncut version was one of the first mainstream Hollywood films (co-produced by Nicole Kidman yet) to feature on-camera fellatio. (The DVD commentary confirms it was a prosthetic but that doesn't really matter given how it's shot.) That's enough to put the film totally out of range for kids and teens. Even Fifty Shade of Grey never went there. As a film marketed as an "erotic drama" sex scenes are to be expected, but there is no storytelling reason for being that explicit.

This title has:

Too much sex

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (2):
Kids say (2):

Meg Ryan sheds more than her clothes in this would-be steamy thriller. She sheds her twinkle. We don't get the nose-wrinkling smile. No adorable befuddlement. No irresistible misting of the eyes. Unfortunately, that leaves her -- and us -- with not much of a performance. And unfortunately the script leaves us with not much of a movie.

Director Jane Campion uses arty tricks like a hand-held camera and a rust-colored cast to the settings to try to make the movie about something deeper, perhaps dreamlike, or nightmarish. But it just feels incoherent. The verbal and physical encounters that are supposed to be dark and sexy are just flat. Ryan can handle dramatic roles, as she showed in When a Man Loves a Woman and Flesh and Bone. But she does not have enough to work with in the affectless Franny. The story itself is just weak, with an especially dopey ending that seems grafted on from another movie.

Movie Details

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.

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

See how we rate