Infamous

  • Review Date: February 12, 2007
  • Rated: R
  • Genre: Drama
  • Release Year: 2006
  • Running Time: 118 minutes

Common Sense Media says

Mature drama follows author's quest for fame.
  • Review Date: February 12, 2007
  • Rated: R
  • Genre: Drama
  • Release Year: 2006
  • Running Time: 118 minutes

Age(i)

2
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5
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8
9
10
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12
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17

Quality(i)

 

What parents need to know

Positive messages

While the protagonists are charismatic and compelling, they are (with the exception of Harper Lee) also arrogant, ambitious, and deceitful, disdaining their social "inferiors" the story follows Capote's eventually tragic efforts to "fit in" with the wealthy socialite crowd.

Violence

Explicit images of the crime scene (bloody mattress) and Clutter family bodies (bound and brutalized); shootings occur in flashbacks and out-of-frame (guns pointed off screen); one disturbing scene shows Perry threatening Truman with rape in his prison cell; Dick's hanging at the film's end is explicit and harrowing (Perry's takes place off screen).

Sex

Truman's stories and jokes tend to be bawdy; he behaves flamboyantly (small-towners mistake him for a woman); Truman sends Perry porn magazines in prison (glimpse of covers); frequent sexual slang; references to Dick's desire to rape the Clutter daughter before he killed her.

Language

Frequent uses of "f--k" (30+); plus other profanity ("s--t," "bitch," "a--hole," variations of "c----cker").

Consumerism
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Upper-crusty 1950s-style social drinking and drunkenness (martinis, gin and tonic, scotch, champagne); reference to father "drinking himself to death" frequent cigarette smoking, some cigars.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this film isn't for kids. It showcases difficult concepts and images, including mass murder, rape, homosexuality and homophobia, and the sensationalizing effects of media. Images include the Clutter family crime scene (bloody bodies and furniture), as well as several reenactments of violence: shooting, smothering, and an unnerving scene in a prison cell, where inmate threatens visitor. Execution by hanging shown explicitly, as is a passionate, illicit kiss in a prison cell. Characters make repeated references to sex and rape, some joking, some menacing. Characters smoke lots of cigarettes and drink often. Both prisoners and Manhattan socialites use foul language ("f--k" most frequently).

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What's the story?

INFAMOUS centers on author Truman Capote's (Toby Jones) search for love and his blurring of fact and fiction as he develops his best-seller, In Cold Blood. Truman's search takes him to Holcomb, Kan., where, in 1959, the Clutter family was brutally murdered by Perry Smith (Daniel Craig) and Dick Hickock (Lee Pace). The flamboyant Truman brings along his subdued, thoughtful best friend, fellow writer Nelle Harper Lee (Sandra Bullock). She helps him seem less threatening to the locals, including Kansas Bureau of Investigations agent Alvin Dewey Jr. (Jeff Daniels). When Truman declares his intention to use "fictional techniques" to tell the story of the murders and the murderers, Lee advises him on the distinction between "reporting" and writing fiction. Truman's relationship with Perry Smith involves mutual exploitation and seduction. Both men conjure romantic fantasies about each other (culminating in a kiss in Perry's cell that leaves Truman unsettled). While Truman is entranced by Perry's violence, he's also afraid of it, seeing an alternate version of himself in his subject.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

Douglas McGrath's movie focuses how Truman judges people, including himself. It's clear that he's wracked by guilt, desire, and need, even as his pursuit of fame and admiration leads him to disregard others' feelings. To frame Truman's blurring of boundaries, the film cuts away repeatedly and awkwardly to "interviews" with his Manhattan acquaintances. These talking-head scenes become a showy display of famous people playing famous people, unfortunately highlighting the distinction between fiction and fact rather than complementing it.

The narrative, however, is compelling. Both Truman and Perry lost their mothers to suicide, both are homosexual during a time when they're persecuted for it, and both find outlets for their frustrations -- Truman in art and extravagant self-styling, Perry in murder. Truman's genius grants him adulation, while Perry becomes "infamous," but Truman is unable to forgive himself.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the close relationship between Truman and Nelle, who compete and support one another in their careers. How does the movie characterize their complicated friendship? And how does Truman's relationship with Perry reflect the author's own insecurities and desires to be a respected artist? How can art reshape violence so that it's thrilling or compelling? How does the movie suggest that Capote suffered for his art, his desire to be famous, and his unresolved personal conflicts? Families can also talk about some of the film's underlying issues, such as journalistic ethics, media sensationalism, and the death penalty.

Movie details

Theatrical release date:October 12, 2006
DVD release date:February 13, 2007
Cast:Daniel Craig, Sandra Bullock, Toby Jones
Director:Douglas McGrath
Studio:Warner Independent
Genre:Drama
Run time:118 minutes
MPAA rating:R
MPAA explanation:for language, violence and some sexuality.

This review of Infamous was written by

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging, great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging, good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging, good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging, okay learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Adult Written bydiscretion April 9, 2008
AGENot rated for age
QUALITY
 

emotionally moving

Much deeper than previous move "Capote" -- and acting was great. This version of Capote's writing of the book In Cold Blood completed what was lacking in the previous movie. I'd watch it again.
Teen, 13 years old Written byholes April 9, 2008
AGENot rated for age
QUALITY
 

I laughed

I thought the move was great

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