Want more recommendations for your family?
Sign up for our weekly newsletter for entertainment inspiration
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
The idle rich discuss hypothetical actions for $10 million -- eating human flesh, sleeping with a friend. Much is made of the differences between the well-off and the less-fortunate. A character quotes their great-grandfather's axiom that "One of the uses of money is that it allows one not to live with the consequences of our mistakes." Many sexual taboos are violated heedlessly and eagerly (including a woman who has a sexual relationship with her own son).
Violence & Scariness
Guns are fired; viewers see the aftermath of a suicide attempt, including bloody wounds; a character is fatally stabbed.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Violence & Scariness in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Sex, Romance & Nudity
Lots of graphic discussion of sex, and extensive male and female nudity (including full-frontal female). Moore's character actively seeks out random encounters with strangers and is seen in lingerie; in one scene, her hand is shown on a partner's pants fly as she prepares to manually stimulate him (the actual act isn't shown on screen). There's rough (albeit consensual) sex; same-sex encounters between consenting adults, extended scenes of sexual activity and orgasm. An experimental sexual act between two underage boys is implied, and a three-person sexual encounter is seen when Moore's character begins a sexual relationship with her own son.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Sex, Romance & Nudity in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Language includes "f--k" and "f--king," "tits," "ass," (in both English and French), "c--ks," "s--t," "whore," "c--t," "come," and more.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Language in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Products & Purchases
Brands like Chanel are mentioned, and there's extensive discussion of "Bakelite," the first synthetic material (and the source of the Baekeland fortune).
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Lots of period-accurate cigarette smoking, plus cigar smoking, marijuana use, constant drinking and discussion of hangovers, etc. A supporting character smuggles hashish; another character abuses sleeping aids as part of a suicide attempt.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Drinking, Drugs & Smoking in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this very mature indie film, which is based on a true story, is steeped in amoral and sexual behavior among the idle rich -- culminating in a sexual relationship between a mother and her son. The movie unflinchingly depicts raw, uncomfortable moments of sexual behavior and contains nudity (including full-frontal female), same-sex encounters, implied underage sex, and more. There's also plenty of language, and some violence, as well as drinking, smoking, and drug use. Teens who know star Julianne Moore's terrific acting work from bigger films like Children of Men and The Hours may be intrigued to see her here, but it's an edgy, uncomfortable film that's definitely not meant for kids of any age. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
While Savage Grace is occasionally hard to watch, Moore keeps you riveted. She can shift between kind care and venomous contempt with razor sharpness, and yet she always makes you believe in Barbara Daly Baekeland as a person. The other cast members are strong (Dillane especially, nailing both the shine of class and the rot of weakness in Brooks Baekeland), but they can't compare to Moore's shining, disturbing, and compelling performance. Director Tom Kalin previously helmed Swoon, which was based on the infamous Leopold and Loeb murders -- another true tale of sexual desire and murderous behavior. Savage Grace is tough to take, but mature viewers who appreciate modern film acting at its finest will want to seek it out just for Moore's performance.
At first glance -- as the privileged-but-miserable Baekelands feud, fuss, and fight in their marriage, with ugly words spoken in beautiful rooms -- Savage Grace seems like a big-screen version of one of those guilty-pleasure tales of globe-trotting, bed-hopping, and bad behavior among the wealthy that you find tucked near the back of every issue of Vanity Fair. As the film unfolds, it becomes less of a movie (we know how things are going to turn out, after all) and more of a showcase for Moore, who's one of America's greatest living actresses.
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.
Suggest an Update
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