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Parents' Guide to

Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street

By Sandie Angulo Chen, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 16+

Movie is darker, much bloodier than stage musical.

Movie R 2007 117 minutes
Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 14+

Based on 31 parent reviews

age 13+
This film explores some dark themes such as murder, betrayal, and lust. While it is incredibly violent (several bloody murders are shown on screen) not all children will be frightened. The blood spatter often looks almost cartoonist, but there are times when it does look realistic. Near the end of the film a woman is shown burning to death in an oven, which I personally find far more disturbing. I don't recall any instance of an F bomb being dropped, but there is an IMPLIED rape/sexual assault early on in the film. Because it is not explicitly shown, this implication might go over the heads of some children (and adults based on some of the reviews I've seen). Not everyone will be oblivious to this, however. There are also several scenes in which a young boy is abused by his employer, as well as scenes showing the same boy drinking gin. At one point he passes out from intoxication, but this is played mostly for laughs. This is easily one of the best movie musicals I've ever seen, and it can open up a lot of good discussions with mature children about humanity and morality. It is important to note, however, that this film is R rated and may frighten some viewers. It also contains many instances of things being hinted at in the dialogue, but not being outright shown. LOverall, I would say that the best thing is to know your child and base your decision off that.
1 person found this helpful.
age 18+

This title has:

Too much violence

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (31 ):
Kids say (185 ):

Anyone familiar with Sondheim's revenge tale will be ready for a fair amount of blood and gore. But those less versed with the source material should be warned: This is not a general-audience Rodgers & Hammerstein production. Burton is the ideal director to tackle this particular musical, since he's a master at theatrically dark and moody sets. He doesn't disappoint, perfectly bringing Sondheim's bleak London -- "a great black pit" inhabited by the "vermin of the world" -- to the screen. Depp and Bonham Carter are excellent performers who obviously work seamlessly with Burton (one is his acting muse, and the other is the mother of his children). But trained singing voices aren't part of their skill set. Depp's is passable -- actually, better than expected -- but Bonham Carter's upper range is awful, and she has to make up for her shaky voice by talk-singing most of the lyrics. Still, despite their lack of singing prowess, they're otherwise well cast as an odd couple of Fleet Street crazies.

All of the supporting characters have significantly better voices, like the lovelorn Antony (James Campbell Bowers) and Todd's teenage daughter/the Judge's ward Johanna (Jayne Wisener), who's a vision of cornsilk hair and first-Soprano sweetness. And viewers will especially love Sacha Baron Cohen's appearance as swindling Italian barber Signor Pirelli, complete with hammy accent and bushy mustache. While Sweeney Todd offers an abundant amount of blood, it has equal doses of humor and wit. But if you're squeamish, be prepared to spend the second half of the film covering your eyes. And fans of the musical should know up front that they'll be underwhelmed by the singing. Still, it's true to the story, has a dazzling score, and is definitely worth seeing.

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