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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Few, if any, positive messages other than youngsters showing curiosity, albeit with dangerous consequences.
Positive Role Models
Mia is a complex central character, struggling with grief and coming to terms with her mother's suicide. She shows strength in her journey to get through this immensely difficult situation, even if that does involve turning to a dangerous game. She is flawed however, and makes mistakes -- that cost her.
The film boasts a diverse cast, with a young Black female at its center, noteworthy as the lack of Black representation has often been questioned in the horror genre. Other characters are played by an actor who identifies as as non-binary and transmasculine, and another who is of Samoan descent. Despite this diversity, the skin color and backgrounds of the characters are not spoken of, or used ever as a narrative device, it just is what it is.
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Violence & Scariness
Brutal violence, mainly coming from characters attacking themselves while possessed. A character stabs their sibling, before stabbing themselves in the face. Other self-inflicted harm comes from a young child smashing their head against objects and trying to pull out their eyes. Demons attack humans, and when possessed, youngsters attack those closest to them, including their own parents. There is a terrifying concept explored of being tortured for eternity. The demons are disturbing in their appearance. A character sucks the feet of an unwitting recipient while they are sleeping.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Characters describe lewd sexual acts.
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Countless uses of the word "f--k" and one use of "c--t." Other bad language includes words such as "s--t," "d--k," and "bitch" among others.
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
The "game" the youngsters play -- that sees them become possessed -- could be seen as an allegory for drug abuse, especially in its addictiveness and how it is used in social settings. Young characters are seen drinking alcohol at parties and smoking cigarettes. A child sells cigarettes, and an adult is seen smoking a cigarette to cope with a stressful situation. There is a brief reference to someone's past pot use.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Talk to Me is a brilliantly original, terrifying Australian horror movie with disturbing imagery that will linger long after the closing credits. The scares come as a result of a group of young people -- led by Mia (Sophie Wilde), who's trying to deal with her mother's death by suicide -- playing a game that leads to them becoming possessed. There are brutal sequences where those who are under the otherworldly influence attack themselves and others. One boy tries to pull his own eyes out, another stabs himself in the face. The film also has strong language, with multiple uses of "f--k" and a single use of "c--t." Characters (some below the legal age) smoke cigarettes and drink alcohol, and there's reference to smoking pot. The game that leads to possession could also be compared to drug use, in how it's used and its addictive qualities -- and how the young characters pressure one another into trying it. The film has a diverse cast, including a young Black female lead, an actor who identifies as non-binary and transmasculine, and another of Samoan descent. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
Directed by brothers Danny and Michael Philippou, this movie is one of the most original and simply brilliant horror films from the past few years. It's a film that stays within the familiar beats of the genre, and yet is unlike anything you'll have seen before. Like all great scary movies, it takes a heightened, often supernatural element, which could be interpreted as something else in the real world. In this regard, it's similar to what fellow Australian horror movie The Babadook did in its depiction of grief and depression -- interestingly both Phillippou brothers worked on that film too. In this instance, the story feels like an allegory for drug abuse, especially among young people. Although the film steps far outside the realms of reality, it's grounded by great characters with believable dynamics and relationships, and also just great acting. But where this film truly leaves an indelible mark, is in its ability to disturb. Some scenes are so difficult to watch, you'll find yourself -- in the most cliched way imaginable -- actually watching through your fingers. It is brutal at times, but also brilliant.
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.