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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Doesn't really seem to know what it wants to say, other than that everyone is mean and selfish and deserves to be punished.
Positive Role Models
Most characters are deluded, selfish, or mean in some way, with few redeeming qualities. Even Moose, who can be sweet and childlike, is prone to outbursts of rage and violence; the movie's portrayal of someone with autism isn't nuanced or sympathetic.
Violence & Scariness
One character violently hits another; the victim's dead body is shown, with blood streaming from her nose. Gun drawn, character's fingers shot off (bloody stumps shown). Character stabbed in the eye; blood gurgles from the socket. Gory magic trick, metal spike shoved through nose, with streaming blood. One character shoves another. Character falls down stairs, smashes head on wall. Punching, hitting. Arguing, yelling, threats. Character tied to bed. Character burns his possessions.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
A character inappropriately tries to kiss his housekeeper; she gently rebuffs him.
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Very strong, frequent language includes "f--k," "s--t," "p---y," "bitch," "jackass," "balls," and "idiot." Middle-finger gestures.
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Social drinking at a party. Beer cans on side table.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that The Fanatic is a dark comedy/thriller about a man with autism (John Travolta) who idolizes and starts stalking an actor (Devon Sawa). Expect scenes of intense violence, including a man hitting and killing a woman (her dead body and bloody face are shown), a character's fingers getting shot off by a gun, a character being stabbed in the eye (blood and gore shown), a gory magic trick (a spike shoved through someone's nose), a man shoving a woman, punching, fighting, arguing, threats, and more. Language is also strong, with uses of "f--k," "s--t," "p---y," and more. A man inappropriately tries to kiss a woman; she rebuffs him. There's social drinking, and empty beer cans sit on a man's side table. The movie's unsympathetic portrayal of someone with autism may be upsetting/offensive for some viewers. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
Travolta throws his whole being into an extreme, torrential performance that's difficult to dismiss, but it's unfortunately at the service of a shockingly mean, ugly, shallow movie. Directed and co-written by Fred Durst (the front man for the band Limp Bizkit), The Fanatic feels like a poisonous form of revenge against any overzealous fans who may have once crossed Durst's path. And rather than actually taking the time to explore the fan-celebrity relationship, to perhaps look into an emotional void and find some understanding for it, The Fanatic simply attacks both sides of the equation while teetering on the edge of offensiveness in its portrayal of someone with autism.
Moose is depicted as childlike but also invasive, an annoyance, and capable of striking out. Yet -- despite Travolta's intense labors in the role -- none of these things is reconciled into an actual character. Durst seems to have more sympathy for Hunter; the character is shown to be a good father to his young son (except when he plays a Limp Bizkit song for him), although he's also selfish, entitled, and volatile. Both men pay a price for their encounter, and neither comes away having learned anything or benefited in any way. Then there's Leah, whose presence isn't explained (and neither is her out-of-place voice-over narration). The Fanatic is a pointless sketch, stretched out to feature length with sheer anger and nastiness.
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.