The Crying Game

Movie review by
Andrea Beach, Common Sense Media
The Crying Game Movie Poster Image
Powerful drama has mature sexual themes, violence.
  • R
  • 1992
  • 112 minutes

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

You can't help what you are. You can't go against your nature.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Fergus is kind and caring and sacrifices himself to help others. Dil is emotionally vulnerable and needy but a good person. Ruthless villains use violence and extortion to achieve their political goals.

Violence

Infrequent but powerful and gory gunshots with lots of blood. A man is shown being run over by a tank, and his bloody body is shown. Guns frequently brandished. Kidnapping victim is tied up and hooded. Punching and hitting. Bloody nose shown, and extended closeup of a bleeding mouth. A goldfish bowl is thrown from a window, and the dead fish are shown.

Sex

Full-frontal male nudity. Long, deep kisses. Making out with groping. Oral sex off camera with heavy breathing and grunting. A female figure undressing in silhouette. Off camera a man manipulates another's genitals so he can urinate while his hands are tied, which they then joke about. Gender identity is a prominent theme.

Language

"F--k," "pissed," "bitch," "motherf--kers," the "N" word, "d--k" as an insult and the body part, "s--t," "c--t," and "dyke."

Consumerism

Guinness, BMW.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Many scenes take place in pubs; many background people drink, main characters drink beer and margaritas. A main character gets stumbling drunk once. Lots of people smoking in the background; main characters smoke a few times. A main character takes multiple unspecified prescription pills and drifts off to sleep.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that The Crying Game contains strong sexual themes and includes full-frontal male nudity, making out with groping and kissing, and oral sex off camera. Infrequent but brutal violence includes bullets shown impacting and a lot of blood. Frequent strong language includes "f--k," "c--t," the "N" word, and "s--t." Characters frequently drink and smoke, and a main character gets so drunk she stumbles and collapses. Gender identity is a strong theme. It also has one of cinema's greatest and most unexpected twists, which catapulted an otherwise bleakly charming character study into the most talked-about movie of its day.

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What's the story?

An IRA cell kidnaps Jody (Forest Whitaker), a British soldier, in the hopes of a prisoner exchange. One of the kidnappers, Fergus (Stephen Rea), befriends Jody and promises to look after his girl back home if Jody doesn't make it. The kidnapping doesn't work as planned, and Fergus finds himself on the run from the IRA, hoping to get out of the organization. He makes his way to London and finds Dil (Jaye Davidson), Jody's exotic girlfriend. As Fergus and Dil fall for each other, the IRA catches up to Fergus and threatens to harm Dil if Fergus won't cooperate with their violent plans. Can Fergus get out of the IRA, and can he and Dil find a way to make their relationship work?

Is it any good?

THE CRYING GAME is a remarkable, dark drama with a sensational twist from director/writer Neil Jordan. Juxtaposing the kind, likable Fergus (beautifully portrayed by Stephen Rea) with the violence in Northern Ireland creates tension and a sense of doom that, together with the mature sexual themes, make for a movie that charms as much as it wrenches the gut. It was controversial in its day, and older teens who are curious about the hype will have a lot of mature topics to think and talk about with this film, from the politics of the time to whether you can, or even should, change your nature.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about movies with a twist. Did you see this one coming? Which other famous twists can you think of?

  • How much did you know about the IRA and the history of Northern Ireland before you saw this movie? What does "IRA" stand for? How has the political situation there changed since this movie was made?

  • Do you think Dil will still be waiting when Fergus gets out of jail? What do you think will become of them?

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