Knives Out

Movie review by
Jeffrey M. Anderson, Common Sense Media
Knives Out Movie Poster Image
 Popular with kidsParents recommend
Expert, effortlessly entertaining all-star mystery-comedy.
  • PG-13
  • 2019
  • 130 minutes

Parents say

age 13+
Based on 58 reviews

Kids say

age 12+
Based on 143 reviews

Did this review miss something on diversity?

Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive, diverse representations in books, TV shows, and movies. Want to help us help them? Suggest a diversity update

We think this movie stands out for:

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

Kindness and compassion turn out to be virtues that win the day. There's also a message about lying; one character is incapable of lying without becoming physically ill.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Quite a few of the characters are shown to be selfish and/or greedy, but many are delightful and fun. Still, they're all so one-dimensional that no one is really role model material. But Marta is shown to be kind and compassionate, and Benoit Blanc is smart and persistent.


Dead body with throat slit. Blood streaming. Fighting, slapping. Frequent arguing. Attack with knife. Violent content in spoken dialogue.


One character is said to have had an extramarital affair. Spoken sex references. Reference to masturbation.


Language includes one "f--k," plus "s--t," "a--hole," "t-ts," "ass," "bitch," "son of a bitch," "bastard," "hell," "goddamn." Possible middle-finger gesture.


Mention of Scope mouthwash. Reference to Juul e-cigarettes. References to Twitter, Instagram, etc. Big Gulp cup shown.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Drinking at party. Pot-smoking, secret stash of joints. Prescription drugs and medications shown, injected. Cigar-smoking. Reference to a person being a morphine addict.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Knives Out is a delightful all-star murder-mystery comedy that's reminiscent of Agatha Christie stories. Violence includes a murder victim with a slit throat and a trickle of blood, fighting (punching and slapping), arguing, and harsh dialogue. Language includes one "f--k," plus "s--t," "son of a bitch," "a--hole," and more. There's a bit of sex-related talk, and one character is said to have had an affair. People drink at a party, characters smoke cigars and pot (there's a secret stash of joints), prescription meds are injected, and there's dialogue about a morphine addict. Starring Daniel Craig, Jamie Lee Curtis, Chris Evans, and many more, this expertly crafted movie is both a satisfying mystery and a hilarious comedy with appealing characters, and it even touches on the state of the world today and sends the message that kindness and compassion are virtues that win the day.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byStudio27b November 22, 2019

I Suspect...Foul Play!

Let me start off with this: I enjoyed the story and the way the characters were developed. Fun stuff. Honestly, it would have been a really great flick if not f... Continue reading
Adult Written byjoskrivseth February 28, 2020
I was very disappointed that common sense media did not mention the multiple uses of Jesus and Christ. I usually trust what they say as far as language and expe... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written byDoggie mom November 29, 2019

A really good movie!

I think that this is a really good movie and that it does have some language and drama. This movie has a very good plot and a lot of humor it is a good movie f... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written byjaedenmartell_h... January 4, 2020

Great movie!

I think that this movie is one of the best movies I’ve ever seen. The movie was hilarious and very entertaining to watch. I saw this with my best friend and we... Continue reading

What's the story?

In KNIVES OUT, wealthy, successful crime novelist Harlan Thrombey (Christopher Plummer) celebrates his 85th birthday with his family. But at the party, he argues with just about everyone over money, business, or other things. Later, he's found with his throat slit, and Linda (Jamie Lee Curtis), Richard (Don Johnson), Walt (Michael Shannon), Joni (Toni Collette), and Ransom (Chris Evans) are among the suspects. Master detective Benoit Blanc (Daniel Craig) is called in to solve the seemingly impossible case. The key to the mystery, Blanc realizes, lies with Marta (Ana de Armas), who was Harlan's nurse and caretaker and who has a condition that causes her to vomit whenever she tells a lie. The reading of the will sends a shockwave throughout the family, and Blanc finds his final, elusive clue when the murderer prepares to strike again.

Is it any good?

This delightful, hilarious, clever mystery-comedy is total entertainment, with expert, precision work at every level -- but also with an irresistible, gleeful sense of fun bursting from the screen. After taking Star Wars to a new level with The Last Jedi, writer-director Rian Johnson seems fully refreshed on Knives Out, keeping his feet on the ground and staying mostly in one beautiful location. From the ground up, he's crafted a solid moviegoing experience, starting with a sparkling gem of a screenplay. An Agatha Christie-inspired tale, the movie's mystery is airtight enough to puzzle most whodunit buffs.

But the movie is also beautifully balanced among its excellent cast, with each member feeling appealingly human and shining in individual moments. Visually, Knives Out is splendid, fluid in the way it moves around the nooks and crannies of the huge house and also when it lingers on its unforgettable "wheel of knives" centerpiece. The music by Nathan Johnson (Rian's cousin) is equally effective. Old-fashioned on the surface, the movie is nevertheless rooted in the modern-day, with several smart, sane references to current insanity. Finally, it's clearly designed for multiple viewings, not only to catch all the sly jokes but also the many concealed clues. If Knives Out has a flaw, it's that the movie is so effortless it might feel lightweight.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about Knives Out'violence. Why is there so much fun being had around a murder in this story? What's the movie's attitude toward death and killing?

  • How are alcohol and drugs represented? Are they portrayed as cool or appealing? Are there consequences for using them? Why does that matter?

  • One character is incapable of lying without becoming physically ill. What does the movie have to say about honesty in general? Is it useful? Is it rewarding?

  • The family's true character is shown when it's revealed who gets the fortune. How does money impact relationships?

  • How does this movie compare with Agatha Christie stories? What makes it similar or different?

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love mysteries

Character Strengths

Find more movies that help kids build character.

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

Streaming options powered by JustWatch

About these links

Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization, earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes when you use our links to make a purchase. Thank you for your support.

Read more

Our ratings are based on child development best practices. We display the minimum age for which content is developmentally appropriate. The star rating reflects overall quality.

Learn how we rate