A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
The importance of family and the ability to come together in crisis. The complexities of feminism are explored, as well as self-awareness, and acceptance -- which are ultimately linked with strength. The movie is not particularly hopeful, and leans in to the difficult aspects of life and relationships in a very bleak way.
Positive Role Models
Mandy is a complex character. She shows strong feminist views, but often low expectations, and a longing for something more, but an acceptance of far less. Her behavior is sometimes irresponsible and thoughtless. Her love interest, Pete, is impulsive, overbearing, and misogynistic, showing very few positive features other than occasional kindness to Mandy's son. Mandy's estranged parents argue constantly, yet also show a deep connection and love. Relationships in general are portrayed as volatile and difficult.
Violence & Scariness
Characters slap each other in the face. A glass is thrown against a wall, and a chair through a window in rage. Verbal exchanges are consistently aggressive. There is reference to rape, difficult births, abortion, cancer, AIDS, the death of a parent, cremation, and putting a dog down. Inappropriate sexual comments are made toward characters in the workplace.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Characters kiss. Sexual intercourse is portrayed in the darkness, and a character strips, resulting in partial nudity from behind. Constant sexual references include mention of oral sex and masturbation, as well as condoms and STI testing. (Unwanted) sexual comments are made.
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The language is frequent and includes "c--t," "f--k," "f--king," "s--t," "bastard," "c--k," "bollocks," and "bloody." The British term "wank" is also used. Homophobic and transphobic references include "your dad f--ks asses" and the term "lady boy."
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Characters are often seen smoking cigarettes. They also drink alcohol with meals, in bars, at home, and at events, resulting in intoxication on a number of occasions. An instance of drug misuse includes a number of characters taking cocaine.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Rare Beasts is an impressive but dark comedy drama with frequent strong language and sexual references, and occasional drug use. Starring Billie Piper as Mandy, a single parent, the film looks at the realities and complexities of modern life and romance. It deals with adult themes and is often bleak in its outlook. Most of the (constant) aggression in the movie is verbal, rather than physical. But there are instances of characters slapping each other in the face and throwing objects in anger. Frequent strong language includes use of "c--t," as well as "f--k" and "s--t." Sexual intercourse is portrayed in darkness, there is partial nudity from behind, and constant sexual references. Characters drink alcohol on numerous occasions to the point of intoxication, cigarettes are smoked regularly, and there is an instance of characters using cocaine. It is a very clever, stylish, and powerful film, but may prove upsetting, confusing, or overwhelming for younger 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?
In her directorial debut, Piper creates something so rare and unique that it is not easy to categorize, nor to explain. Rare Beasts doesn't just turn the romcom genre on its head -- flipping every cliche into a question, a challenge, a demand for something different -- it digs deep into the very notions of feminism, misogyny, love, and happiness. Piper is mesmerizing in the lead role, one of bemusement, anger, and disorientation. While Pete is fittingly unlikeable, all micro-aggressions, put-downs, and coercion, with occasional hints of decency proving just enough to maintain the relationship.
There's a dream-like atmosphere created by the bold stylistic choices of off-kilter angles and surreal backdrops. This is intensified by frantic strings and use of ironically happy songs, with musical interludes and complete breaks in reality that leave the audience to try to navigate the chaos of Mandy's mind. It's bold, dark, and unnerving. The film has something to say, but it's never quite possible to grasp exactly what that is. It's a sense of frustration, anger, bewilderment, and discovery that is too far out of reach for some, but certainly cements Piper as a fascinating filmmaker to watch.
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.