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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Violence & Scariness
Scary drunken car ride, fatal crash (offscreen).
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Sexual references and situations, brief but explicit sexual encounter.
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Very strong language.
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this movie contains a lot of mature material, including very strong language and sexual references and situations. A highly unsatisfactory sexual encounter between Pollock and Guggenheim is shown fairly explicitly. Characters drink, smoke, abuse drugs, and engage in self-destructive behavior. Pollock's drunk driving with the passengers screaming is shown, though not the crash that killed him. Family members treat each other badly, which may be upsetting for some 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?
Harris gets a lot of the details right, including the dazzling spectacle of watching Pollock create the paintings. Great care was taken with the movie's art direction. A magnificent lobster-decorated dress worn by Pollock's patron Peggy Guggenheim (Amy Madigan) is an exact replica of one she really wore. Much of the movie takes place on location at Pollock's home in rural Long Island, and it all feels very genuine and authentic.
Harris, Marcia Gay Harden, and Madigan are all outstanding, and the film, while flawed, is engrossing and impressive. But we never really see why Pollock was important or what motivated him. He is boorish, selfish, conceited, and, most of all, needy. And there are a few cringe-inducing expositional moments, as when Pollock's wife (Marcia Gay Harden) exclaims on seeing his first dribble painting, "This isn't Cubism, Jackson, because you're not breaking down the figure into multiple views!" That does not do much either for those who are familiar with Pollock's work or want to learn more of the technique. Pollock, who wisely resisted explanations and categorization, deserves something more subtle and complex. There are moments when this film gives it to us, as when Pollock makes his famous statement, "I do not use the accident. I deny the accident."
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.