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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Perseverance, courage, inclusiveness are key themes. Importance of fighting for what's right, despite others' objections. Although revenge is an underlying motivation, concluding message is one of empathy, compassion.
Positive Role Models
Judy is a strong woman who overcomes trauma with courage, determination. But majority of characters have few redeeming traits. Town operates under mob law.
Violence & Scariness
Frequent violence, including domestic abuse. Bats are often used, resulting in blood spatter, cuts, bruises. Spoiler alert: A baby is killed after accidentally being thrown out a window. A character is brutally beaten with a stick, resulting in much blood, near death. Characters are stoned to death, hanged. Mass brawl includes bottle being smashed over someone's head. A character has both hands chopped off with ax. Organized fight includes punching, kicking, head-butting. Someone is kicked repeatedly while lying on the ground. A dog is killed off screen; its cry is heard. A dead rabbit is skinned. Two children fight.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Flirting, kissing, sexual innuendo. Two characters appear naked under a sheet, suggesting they've had sex. Nonsexual nudity includes a bare breast when a mother nurses her baby.
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Use of words "f--k" and "arse."
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Characters regularly drink to excess, often resulting in fighting and lewd behavior. A character has a drinking problem that contributes to his awful behavior. One character smokes a pipe; others smoke roll-up cigarettes.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Judy & Punch is a dark, very violent drama based on the 16th century puppet show "Punch and Judy," but it includes themes of courage and empathy as well as a strong female lead. Domestic violence is prominent, with graphic blood splatters and grotesque injuries. Punch (Damon Herriman) has a drinking problem, which escalates his violence toward his wife, Judy (Mia Wasikowska). Spoiler alert: A baby is accidentally thrown out of a window, resulting in the child's death. The movie is set in a fictional medieval town where violence often breaks out, and there's plenty of heavy drinking. A dog is killed off screen, and rabbits are skinned and chopped. In one particularly gruesome scene, both of a character's hands are cut off with an ax. There's some use of the words "f--k" and "arse." Sex is assumed between two characters who are shown under a sheet in bed. Nonsexual nudity includes a nursing mother's bare breast. Characters smoke pipes and roll-up cigarettes. 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 brutal retelling of the 16th century British puppet show "Punch and Judy" is atmospheric and features strong lead performances but is also very violent. Some of that violence, particularly that of Punch's attack on Judy, is tough to watch, but the consequences aren't glossed over. Spoiler alert: The death of a baby (thrown from a window) is handled in slapstick fashion, which will amuse some but horrify others. The majority of characters are hateful, especially Punch. But writer-director Mirrah Foulkes has created a strong feminist lead in Wasikowska's Judy. Despite a few missteps (keep an eye out for the Gladiator reference), the moral of the story is heartwarming, although we aren't shielded from Punch's (some might say well-deserved) fate.
Those familiar with the traditional puppet show will enjoy the backstory Judy & Punch provides, but audiences shouldn't expect the same pantomime violence. Scenes are eye-wincing and upsetting; consequently, some of the jokes fall flat, as you're still reeling from a previous scene. The material is too dark for young teens and should be avoided by those easily affected by bloody violence and cruelty to animals.
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.