Movie review by
S. Jhoanna Robledo, Common Sense Media
Macbeth Movie Poster Image
Very bloody take on Shakespeare's classic tale of betrayal.
  • R
  • 2015
  • 113 minutes

Parents say

age 12+
Based on 3 reviews

Kids say

age 15+
Based on 6 reviews

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A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

Your conscience will out, but if you live by the sword, you'll die by the sword. Revenge, betrayal, marital manipulation, mental illness, guilt, and corrupting power are themes.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Banquo and Macduff are both loyal to their lords, though Banquo doesn't benefit from it. Lady Macbeth is relentlessly scheming and manipulative. Macbeth himself isn't really anyone you'd want kids emulating, either.


Very violent and bloody, sometimes gory. Men are beheaded, women burned alive, children chased down and killed. Nobody is spared Macbeth's fury. Bloody corpses are shown, throats are slashed, chests are stabbed -- all of this sometimes in slow motion close-ups.


A couple is shown kissing and presumably having sex, though only their upper bodies (clothed) are in view.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

The royal court drinks during a feast.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Macbeth is brings Shakespeare's epic tale of betrayal and madness to life, with Michael Fassbender playing the lead role. Because the movie is faithful to the the Bard's original text, there's no foul language and little sexual content (a couple is shown kissing and presumably having sex, but nothing graphic is seen). But the violence is frequent and brutal. Battle/fight scenes are prolonged, gory, and painstaking; sometimes it feels unrelenting. Men, women, and children die in horrible ways (burning, beheading, stabbing, and more). Plus, mature themes like marital manipulation, mental illness, and corrupting power are all part of the cocktail.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Written byAnonymous December 15, 2020

Do not watch with children

I am sitting in a school and the teacher is playing this! I'm appalled at the gore and other images that these children are being subjected to. The age ran... Continue reading
Adult Written byBracken G. July 6, 2017

Haunting, intense, gory, and strikingly beautiful

Of any and all of the Shakespeare film adaptions I've seen, this is my favorite. This is an astounding film for someone who seeks to find amuse and educat... Continue reading
Teen, 14 years old Written bylaraabc April 14, 2017

Violent and gory

It is extremely gory with graphic hanging, execution, stabbing and beating of men women and children
Teen, 13 years old Written byFrogface_ June 7, 2019

VERY gory... but good

This adaptation of Shakespeare's play Macbeth is very original, and good, but it's very exaggerated. DON'T eat while watching this as one charact... Continue reading

What's the story?

MACBETH (Michael Fassbender), an ambitious laird in ancient Scotland, kills his king in order to assume the throne, spurred on by his power-hungry wife (Marion Cotillard). Seeking to maintain his new position, Macbeth goes an murderous rampage, slaughtering anyone who might challenge his right to rule. But with every death, the ill-fated couple becomes more paranoid, and they gradually slip into madness in this adaptation of Shakespeare's classic tale of betrayal.

Is it any good?

Macbeth is epic, cinematic, and gory, with scenes that are stunning to the eye and hard on the stomach. Director Justin Kurzel seems so intent on showing just how brutal the battlefield is that all that blood and gore threaten to overwhelm the film at times -- which may explain how damaged and haunted Macbeth becomes. You can't be so close to so much violence and not be affected in the process.

Fassbender is magnificent here -- bold, pained, defiant, and, yes, disturbed. He meets his match in Cotillard, who grounds Lady Macbeth's ambition in palpable yearning. When she finally takes stock of all that she and the king have wrought, or at least how Macbeth has become wrought by all that they've wrought, she's knocked off her feet -- and her sanity. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the fact that Macbeth doesn't shy away from the bloody violence in which the play is soaked. Do you think all these scenes are necessary to the story? Would they have been as effective if portrayed differently?

  • How does this compare to what you might see in a horror movie? Do different types of media violence have a different impact?

  • How does this Shakespeare film, set in ancient Scotland, compare to other adaptations of the Bard's classics that are translated to modern times?

  • Why do you think Macbeth did what he did? Is it solely his fault, or should he share the blame with his wife?

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love literature

Themes & Topics

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