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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Not a lot of overtly positive messages messages, but the film does explore the unknown possibilities of the human body -- and how a certain state of mind can exert control over our physical selves.
Positive Role Models
Casey is a survivor, clever and self-reliant under pressure. She stands up for herself and thinks clearly in a crisis, although she gets very little reward for her strength.
Violence & Scariness
Women are kidnapped and locked up. They're treated roughly and sprayed with a mace-like knockout spray. A man holds a knife to a girl's stomach. A man is hit with a chair. A young woman's stomach is ripped open (very brief). A man squeezes a woman around her middle, breaking ribs/spine. Characters die. Fighting with baseball bat. Sounds of ripping/eating a human body. Suggestions of an abusive uncle-niece relationship; a teen girl is shown with multiple scars on hr stomach and arms. Rifles and shotguns seen/used; shots are fired. A small girl points a rifle at a man. Characters hunt deer in the woods; dead deer seen. Offscreen attack.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Teen girls are forced to remove articles of clothing; they're shown in bras, panties, and other underthings. Reference to a man who "likes to watch young girls dance naked." Reference to a "prank" in which teen girls grab a man's hands and put them on their breasts. Strange, brief, comical kiss, with a reference to "being pregnant."
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One use of "f--k" and an abbreviated use of "motherf----r," as well as two uses of "s--t," plus "blow me," "ass," "damn," "hell," "Jesus," and "God" (as exclamations).
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Adults drink cans of beer during a deer hunt.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Split is a smart, satisfying horror thriller from Sixth Sense director M. Night Shyamalan. It's about a man (James McAvoy) with multiple personalities (aka dissociative identity disorder). Violence and scariness are the big issues here. Characters die, women are kidnapped and hurt, and a young girl is abused by her uncle (though there's not a lot of gore or horror, and much takes place off screen). Characters fight; one is hit with a chair, and others are threatened with baseball bats and knives. A body is briefly shown with its stomach ripped open. Rifles and shotguns are seen and sometimes fired; characters hunt deer. Teen girls are forced to remove some of their clothes, revealing their bras, panties, and other underthings. There are also spoken sexual references, as well as infrequent swearing (including one "f--k," plus "s--t," "ass," and more) and some social drinking by adults. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
Filmmaker M. Night Shyamalan launches a full-fledged comeback with this tense, satisfying horror-thriller. Split is refreshingly infused with thoughtful ideas and sly suggestion, rather than gore or brutality. Shyamalan has had quite an up-and-down career; in 2016 he tested the waters with the small-scale The Visit, and he now makes a bold return to his Sixth Sense and Unbreakable glory days. Split actually resembles the latter film in some ways, rooted in real-world theories about the elastic limits of human possibility.
As ever, the director's camerawork is above reproach; he creates a sinister, windowless, underground lair, smoothly snaking with corridors, dingy doors and pipes, and harsh pools of light. His writing is subtler here than in other films, with a few odd touches but confident overall. Best of all are the two leads: Joy (The Witch) has an awesome, ethereal presence, and McAvoy conveys at least a half-dozen of his character's personalities with an uncanny, haunting clarity. Split is a smart movie that will undoubtedly leave viewers thinking -- and discussing.
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.