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Natural Born Killers
A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this is an aggressive film that features a serial killer couple who kills indiscriminately. Violence is used liberally throughout the film in the form of graphic murder, beatings, and torture -- mostly perpetrated by the couple on their unsuspecting victims. Sex is shown and discussed, and is hardly ever in a loving form. A scene features a father making unwanted sexual advances toward his daughter. Another features a murder that begins with a man performing oral sex on a woman while on a car hood. Language is unrestrained and used quite violently intoned. Parents should note that an unrated director's cut is available on DVD with even more graphic violence and sexual situations added to the originally released version.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
NATURAL BORN KILLERS tracks the rise to stardom of a serial killing couple, Mickey (Woody Harrelson) and Mallory (Juliette Lewis), as they blaze a trail of destruction across the U.S. and are eventually captured and jailed. The real stars of the film aren't Mickey and Mallory, but rather, the many aspects of the news and entertainment media that are regurgitated and lampooned throughout the film. Wayne Gale (Robert Downey, Jr.) is an overzealous TV reporter caught up in the frenzy of pursuing the couple.
Is it any good?
With the focus of the film being on the media reaction to Mickey and Mallory's crimes, the plot mechanics don't really demand much viewer attention. In a sense, the most important single character is Gale, whose obliviousness to the effects of his news reports on an increasingly sadistic audience acts as a model for the media machine Stone criticizes. Ultimately, this film is a satire with no soft edges or rays of hope. Those unwilling to see the film as a criticism of media violence may misinterpret it as an exaggerated celebration of the violent main characters. As such, this is a film that will only satisfy those already inclined towards negative views of the media, and only the most open-minded of those folks at that.
Talk to your kids about ...
- In theaters: August 26, 1994
- On DVD or streaming: August 25, 2008
- Cast: Juliette Lewis, Robert Downey Jr., Woody Harrelson
- Director: Oliver Stone
- Studio: Warner Bros.
- Genre: Drama
- Run time: 118 minutes
- MPAA rating: R
- MPAA explanation: extreme violence and graphic carnage, for shocking images, and for strong language and sexuality
For kids who love Mature themes
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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.