A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
The movie deals with issues of power, freedom, lust, and the consequences of actions -– though these often go unpunished.
Positive Role Models
Characters repeatedly abuse power and treat others with disrespect. Patriarchal attitudes reflect the 19th-century setting, with male characters showing dominance and aggression, and the female characters appearing repressed -- with the mention made of purchasing a woman along with land. The main female character, Katherine, however, shows great strength and defiance, yet is driven to commit terrible acts in the quest for her freedom.
Violence & Scariness
Characters are pushed, punched, slapped, headbutted, bitten, and throttled. They are also referred to as animals and forced to crawl, hung naked from the rafters in a sheet, and savagely beaten with a walking cane resulting in wounds to the back and face. A kid is suffocated to death, a character dies of poisoning off screen, and someone is beaten to death with a fire poker resulting in a bloody head injury. A horse is also shot to death.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Sexual intercourse is shown on a number of occasions, as well as full nudity from behind. A character is forced to remove their clothes and stand naked. There is the implication of masturbation.
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Occasional strong language includes the "C" word and "f--k," as well as "bitch" and "whore."
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Alcohol is drunk in numerous scenes, with characters seen to be mildly intoxicated.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Lady Macbeth is an enthralling British period drama that deals with adult issues and has moments of strong violence, sex, and some language. Having being sold into a marriage -- with the sole purpose of providing an heir -- Katherine (Florence Pugh) begins an affair with one of the workers on her husband's estate, leading to a number of violent and deadly events. Murders are shown onscreen, as well as severe beatings. This includes a kid being suffocated to death and a man being hung naked and beaten with a cane. There is also occasional strong language including the "C" word and "f--k." Alcohol is consumed and, at times, characters are shown to be mildly intoxicated. Frequent sex scenes include full nudity from behind. The movie uses stillness and silence to create atmosphere, which enhances the impact of the more passionate and brutal moments, though it may be slow-moving and potentially disturbing for younger viewers. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
In her second ever feature role, Pugh gives a captivating performance that shows the kind of screen presence and technical mastery of a far more experienced actor. As Katherine, she radiates an inner power at odds with her seemingly powerless position -- an air of dignity and control that moves from defiance to cold-blooded malevolence as Lady Macbeth progresses. First-time director William Oldroyd's sense of visual storytelling is dripping in tension. The stark, muted interiors, repetition of shots, and the use of stillness and silence create a pressure cooker of repression and frustration that serves as a stark contrast to the wild, unrefined nature of the surrounding landscape and the unfiltered masculinity of Cosmo Jarvis's Sebastian.
Though technically a period drama, the movie toys with the genre and turns it on its head, with Oldroyd describing it as "Wuthering Heights meets Kill Bill." It has more in common with a modern revenge drama than a Victorian romance, yet the tension between the two is what ultimately creates its unique edge. A powerful, at times brutal, portrayal of a woman driven to extremes in search of autonomy.
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.