A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Seven Psychopaths is the second feature film by acclaimed playwright and Oscar-winning filmmaker Martin McDonagh, who frequently uses crime, violence, and strong language in his smart-but-edgy stories. Seven Psychopaths is no exception: Expect lots of graphic, bloody images, including shooting and killing; spraying, splattered blood; victims burned alive; sawing a victim's neck; and an over-the-top bloody shootout with exploding heads. Language is very strong ("f--k," "s--t," "c--t," etc.), and there's a near-sex scene, a topless woman, and a woman wearing a wet, see-through top. A major character is also shown to have a drinking problem.
What's the story?
Screenwriter Marty (Colin Farrell) is having trouble with his new screenplay, Seven Psychopaths. He's getting tired of violence in movies and is trying to figure out how to tell his story peacefully. Meanwhile, his best friend, Billy (Sam Rockwell), and Billy's associate, Hans (Christopher Walken), are running a business kidnapping dogs, returning them, and collecting rewards. Unfortunately, they've just kidnapped a beautiful Shih Tzu, Bonny, who belongs to a sadistic gangster (Woody Harrelson). Meanwhile, a masked killer is on the loose, as well as several other psychopaths. Our trio ventures into the desert to try to make sense of it all, but will this trip result in self-discovery or a bloody showdown?
Is it any good?
SEVEN PSYCHOPATHS is terrific. Acclaimed Irish playwright Martin McDonagh won an Oscar for his short film Six Shooter (2005) and received a screenwriting nomination for his feature debut In Bruges (2008). Here, he continues to mix crime and dark comedy, but this time he adds a layer of self-awareness, deconstructing both the writing process and the need for conflict (and/or violence) in writing.
Miraculously, like Spike Jonze and Charlie Kaufman's Adaptation (2002), Seven Psychopaths manages to deftly juggle characters, humor, and its lofty ideas without dropping anything or giving anything away too soon. In spite of the movie's immense cleverness, it has a genuine affection for its trio of misfits, and they have a genuine affection for one another, too. Best of all is not so much McDonagh's one-liners but rather the conversations between characters, which tend to grow funnier the longer they go on (just listen to the one about "an eye for an eye").
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about Seven Psycopaths' violence. Is violence necessary to tell a good story? Why do the characters discuss violence? Do you agree with their conclusions?
How does the movie portray the main character's drinking problem? Do the consequences seem realistic? How does it compare to other depictions in movies/on TV?
There's a brief comment about how the fictitious screenplay in the story has no strong female characters. How are women characters represented in the real movie? How does the comment relate to it?
- In theaters: October 12, 2012
- On DVD or streaming: January 29, 2013
- Cast: Christopher Walken, Colin Farrell, Sam Rockwell
- Director: Martin McDonagh
- Studio: CBS Films
- Genre: Comedy
- Run time: 109 minutes
- MPAA rating: R
- MPAA explanation: strong violence, bloody images, pervasive language, sexuality/nudity and some drug use
For kids who love thrills
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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.