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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Your past will catch up with you. Self-control is important.
Positive Role Models
An elderly woman shows that she's sharp and still on her game. Women set sexual boundaries and stick to them. Diverse characters are featured positively.
Violence & Scariness
Graphic depictions of violence, including a closeup of a face that's been shot off, a hand being hammered, and a body being hit by a subway. Multiple stabbings. Physical fight. A young teen is raped. A young man grabs a teen girl's butt and tries to force a kiss on her. Brief scene from Inglorious Basterds shows Hitler getting blown away by machine guns.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Plot involves dating relationship between two adults. Scene takes place in strip club; women are shown in G-strings and topless. Young men briefly ponder hiring prostitutes.
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Strong language includes "c--t," "bitch," "s--t," "what the hell," and a handful of "f--k"s. British profanity includes "bloody" and "bugger off."
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Products & Purchases
No brands, but suggests that having wealth is so important that you'd break the law -- and people's hearts -- to get it.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Drinks are served at every occasion: wine, champagne, beer, and martinis. Smoking.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that The Good Liar is a fraud/scam drama based on Nicholas Searle's novel about a con man and his target. Widow Betty (Helen Mirren) meets a gentleman (Ian McKellan) through an online dating site. Viewers quickly realize that he has insincere intentions: When not charming her, he's taking a meeting at a strip club (topless dancers wear only G-strings) or being physically violent with an adversary. Overall, the violence feels more extreme than the movie calls for, with some brutal altercations and grotesque deaths. Betty is quite sharp and displays admirable self-control, including setting sexual boundaries despite efforts to persuade her otherwise. But the movie also includes assault and rape. And very few scenes don't involve drinking (wine, champagne, scotch, etc.) -- something is always on the table or in the hand of an elegant adult. Profanity isn't frequent, but it is harsh ("bitch," "f--k," "s--t," and more). To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
Bill Condon's thriller has been described as a game of cat and mouse, but "labyrinth" might be a better description. Each reveal doesn't build upon clues but rather diverts into an entirely different direction. You can see something coming, but it's definitely not the twist. To some degree, The Good Liar is a mystery, with the audience trying to guess what Roy has up his sleeve and hoping that naive, trusting Betty has something up hers, too. But a mystery is like a game show: The audience plays along at home. And if Pat Sajak suddenly told you that "B-RD" was actually "CAROUSEL," you'd be up in arms and might never watch his show again.
To that end, this film really is about how life is a "wheel of fortune," showing how one selfish, bad act can change the course of many lives. But buried among the reveals are a myriad of other stories worth telling, which could be movies on their own merits. In fact, Roy and Betty go see Inglorious Basterds, and viewers see an extremely violent moment from that film: Hitler getting destroyed by machine guns. But why? Perhaps to set the tone for the gory violence that's on the way (which also begs the question, why?). There's no doubt that The Good Liar is primed for Boomers and their parents -- there's really not much for kids here -- but who signs up to see two of cinema's icons match wits and also wants to see someone's face get horrendously blown off? The battle of maneuvers is intriguing and leaves the audience with a temporary moment of satisfaction, but as they watch the credits and rethink the plot, the words on their mind will likely be "but why...?"
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.