Macbeth

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 16+
Based on 6 reviews

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.

Violence

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.

Sex

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

Language
Consumerism
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
Adult Written bySpock084 December 31, 2015

Cinematically Beautiful Depiction of Shakespeare's Scottish Play

Easily the greatest film of the year and does justice to Shakespeare's great tragedy. The film brilliantly portrays the tale of a man who is corrupted by h... 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, 17 years old Written by_____________ December 24, 2015
Teen, 14 years old Written byrebo344 January 20, 2016

Glorious.

Macbeth is a great adaption based on the same name. Michael Fassbender and Marion Cotillard were perfect.The cinematography, as most people talked about, is ast... 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

Themes & Topics

Browse titles with similar subject matter.

For kids who love literature

Our editors recommend

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

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 and learning potential.

Learn how we rate