Family movie night? There's an app for that
Download our new mobile app on iOS and Android.
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Society, faith, and familial pressure turn boys into malevolent men. Never be a snitch. Those who hurt others hurt themselves, too.
Positive Role Models
The only teens with compassion do nothing to stand up against bullies.
The action takes place in Italy with an Italian cast. A gay youth is bullied. A husband and father publicly announces he's gay and leaves his family.
Did we miss something on diversity? Suggest an update.
Violence & Scariness
Women are kidnapped, beaten, tortured, drugged, raped at gunpoint. One is murdered. Kicking and beating. Bruised faces and bodies. Women are forced to strip; rapes take place off-screen. High school-age boys have sex with young girls. A father hits his son. A macho father chides his son for being too emotional when he shoots while hunting. A painting of Jesus being beaten is discussed; it's suggested that evil, or the devil, motivates even the best in people. Jesus is said to be as much a perpetrator as a victim. Bullies flog a fellow student until his back is covered in welts. He seems to be sexually aroused by the attack. A student calls Adolph Hitler the greatest man in history. A youth pretends to attack his sleeping mother with a ceremonial sword. Boys laughingly refer to girls they raped as "pieces of meat." At the time of this incident, in Italian law rape wasn't considered a crime against a person but rather a crime against public morality; 20 years later the law changed. One perpetrator was released early from his life sentence for good conduct; he then killed two more women.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Violence & Scariness in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Sex, Romance & Nudity
Teens attempt to have consensual sex and in some cases do. A mom is found in bed with a younger man. A dad is found kissing another man. A priest is seen picking up a sex worker. A teenage girl is seen masturbating under the covers. A gay student reaches under the desk during class to fondle another boy's crotch. Male and female full-frontal nudity.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Sex, Romance & Nudity in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
"F--k," "s--t," "screw," "f--got," "d--k," "whore," "p---y," and "bitch."
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Language in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Cigarettes and alcohol are used. Kidnappers inject women with drugs.
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 The Catholic School is based on true events in 1975 Italy, when privileged high school boys kidnapped and raped two girls, murdering one of them, in a sadistic spree and hideous display of toxic masculinity, just for fun. This is told in a bizarre chronological jumble. Consensual clothed sex is seen. The rapes are off-screen but sounds of pain are heard. Women are kicked, punched, and shot up with drugs. Students flog a fellow student until his back is covered in welts. He seems to be sexually aroused by the attack. A student calls Adolph Hitler the greatest man in history. Boys laughingly refer to girls they raped as "pieces of meat." Male and female full-frontal nudity is seen. A mom is found in bed with a younger man. A dad is found kissing another man. A priest is seen picking up a sex worker. A teenage girl is seen masturbating under the covers. A gay student reaches under the desk during class to fondle another boy's crotch. Language includes "f--k," "s--t," "screw," "f--got," "d--k," "whore," "p---y," and "bitch." Cigarettes and alcohol are used. In Italian with English subtitles. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
It's difficult to see why The Catholic School needed to be made. It doesn't sit right that a story based on a heinous real-life crime implies that hideous acts of violence committed by teenage boys are attributable to the education they received at an elite parochial school. The movie is based on a prize-winning novelized version of the events written by Edoardo Albinati, who went to the title school, which he lists as a co-conspirator to the criminals along with families, fascism, and, mostly, the "requirements" of masculinity. Each of these boxes are dutifully ticked off in the movie, but no real connections are made between them and the barbarous acts that ensue. An unsafe, treacherous, violent society is inevitable, according to this view, a premise the movie scarcely questions (one or two gentle boys serve as exemplars of niceness).
Apart from its confusing structure and the lack of a main character, the movie's worst crime is that it seems designed to let the boys off the hook. A religious institution is to blame. Hypocrite parents are to blame. Priests who solicit sex workers are to blame. A corrupt society with fascist tendencies is to blame. A narrator explains that he can't be himself; he always has to say he agrees with the dominant and crude others to be accepted by the crowd. If he doesn't, he exposes his weakness, and that will make him a victim instead of an accepted member in good standing. But this is the framework of adolescence everywhere, and it doesn't automatically come with built-in rape and murder. It takes courage to say no and refuse to go along, a point that is never made here. Instead, straight from the book, it quotes, "Being born a boy is an incurable disease." For the most part, this just feels like an excuse for lingering voyeuristic views of naked girls with bruised breasts and faces. Women here are all ineffective in their lives, "evil" temptresses who deserve contempt, subservient and unhappy wives seeking sex with younger men or enduring the flings of a homosexual husband. It's a grim life shown here: You're either a bullying, poisonous male or a surrendered victimized woman.
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.