A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Many themes, from grief and loss to rampant consumerism without concern for consequences. A sequence looks at the complexities of bullying behavior. But the main message, of course, is the danger of humanity's hubris. Much like in the original Frankenstein story: Human beings can only create life in their own imperfect image.
Positive Role Models
Gemma wants to be a good guardian for Cady, even though she doesn't quite know how. While she makes many mistakes, Gemma certainly tries hard to do the right thing; she admits when she's wrong, and she's willing to communicate and learn to prevent making the same mistakes again.
This is a woman-driven story, with women occupying the central on-screen roles. Gemma (Allison Williams) is White; her colleagues include Tess (Jen Van Epps, who's of African American and Chinese Taiwanese descent) and Cole (Brian Jordan Alvarez, who is Colombian American). Her boss is played by Malaysian actor Ronny Chieng, who offers a counter-stereotypical portrayal. Smaller roles include a mix of people of color, women, and White men. The screenwriter is a Black woman.
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Violence & Scariness
Several characters are killed. Death, grief, and loss are discussed. Child injured in car crash; bloody wounds on face. Dog bites child's arm. Dog viciously attacks M3GAN. A person who is bullying someone has their ear ripped off. Nail shot through character's wrist via nail gun. Person sprayed in face with power chemical sprayer. Characters stabbed with paper cutter blade; blood shown on blade. Character strangled, hung with steel cable. Fighting. Violent showdown between robot and humans: attacks with hedge trimmers, screwdrivers, etc. Jump scares. Snow truck smashes into car. Character hit by truck. Explosions. Child smacks adult in the face. Arguing. In an act of bullying, someone smashes a spiky plant into someone else's hand; the victim yells in pain.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Reference to Tinder.
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Several uses of "s--t" and "bulls--t" and exclamatory uses of "Jesus" and "Jesus Christ." Minimal use of "f--k," "bitch," "hard-ass," "d--k," and "oh my God."
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Products & Purchases
References to Tinder, iPad, Tesla, SKYY vodka.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Brief celebratory drinking by adults, vodka.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that M3GAN is a horror movie about a robot doll (played by Amie Donald and voiced by Jenna Davis) who befriends a grieving young girl (Violet McGraw) before things go terribly wrong. It's well made, albeit violent, and focuses on human needs as well as artificial ones. Characters are killed, and there are discussions about death, loss, and grief. Someone's ear is ripped off, and characters are stabbed, strangled, shot with a nail gun, sprayed with a chemical sprayer, bitten by a dog, etc. A child survives a car crash and has bloody cuts on her face. There's lots of fighting and a violent showdown. Language includes several uses of "s--t" and "Jesus Christ," plus minimal uses of "f--k," "bitch," "ass," etc. A few brands are mentioned, including Tinder, Tesla, iPad, and SKYY vodka (which adults also drink, briefly). Note: This review is for the original theatrical version of the film; an unrated cut is also available that includes additional content not covered here. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
A combination of sly, funny self-awareness, a genuine sense of human grief and emotional connection, and an unsettlingly creepy-cool killer robot, this fun horror pic hits all the right buttons. With a story concocted by James Wan and Akela Cooper (Hell Fest, Malignant), M3GAN understands how horror movies are wired and gets pleasure in teasing viewers with these known elements while cheerfully sidestepping the story's flaws. The M3GAN character is in roughly the same vein as Chucky and the Terminator, but she's also their opposite. Her delicate frame, wide eyes, and girlish appearance make her attacks seem somehow more potent and surprising, and the movie uses them to the fullest capacity. The human characters are just as interesting as they grapple with loss in realistic, touching ways, going through rage, sadness, guilt, and more. (M3GAN's on-screen POV display, which shows her detected percentages of human emotions, is a huge kick.) This slick, neatly paced film keeps ramping things up until a smashing showdown, face-to-interface.
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.