British thriller has violence, nudity, drugs, language.
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A Lot or a Little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that The Hole is a British thriller with strong language, some violence including death, sexual references, and drinking, drugs, and smoking. The story surrounds four students at an elite British private school -- Liz (Thora Birch), Frankie (Keira Knightley), Mike (Desmond Harrington), and Geoff (Laurence Fox) -- who get trapped in a bunker. None of the central characters are positive role models. They are selfish and unkind, lie, and show a lack of compassion for one another. The violence is intermittent and occasionally bloody, as the stakes of the students' isolation in the bunker escalates and they become increasingly desperate to survive. Sex is often discussed and there is some kissing and fondling, including the start of a threesome, which is suddenly interrupted. Though no intercourse is shown, there is brief, topless female nudity and full-frontal male nudity during a scene in some changing rooms. Characters swear frequently, including "f--k," "whore," and "p---y." There is also some homophobia with characters suggesting others are secretly gay. There is much drinking -- enjoyed mostly in moderation but occasionally to excess -- as well as smoking, including pot. Frankie takes diet pills and is later seen being sick. Consumerism is also present, reflecting the characters' privileged lives and access to money. The movie is based on a book by Guy Burt, first published in 1993.
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What's the Story?
THE HOLE tells the story of four students at an exclusive British private school who must find a way out of a large disused bunker on its grounds.
Is It Any Good?
A dark thriller that explores the poisonous relationships between a group of sociopathic teens, this 2001 movie fails to capitalize on its early promise. After an interesting set-up, The Hole quickly pitchforks into a pair of conflicting accounts of a deadly series of events. Thora Birch is given most to do, essentially playing two different versions of the same character, which gives her a chance to show her range. But the other leads are flatter, Keira Knightley is given little to do as the shallow Frankie, Laurence Fox puts in a convincing turn as the spiteful but one-note sociopath, Geoff, while Desmond Harrington's Mike suffers from inconsistent mood swings as much as he does subterranean isolation.
As a result, The Hole is more of a plot than a story. When the eventual reveals arrive in a hurry during the movie's final 10 minutes, there's a lot to take in but not a lot of surprises. This means that the film doesn't quite dig itself out of the pit of despair that the audience has shared with this group of deeply unpleasant characters.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about whether they found The Hole scary. If so, which bits in particular? What did the violence add to the story? Does exposure to violent media desensitize kids to violence?
How was sex portrayed in the movie? Was it affectionate? Respectful? What about the film's nudity? Was it gratuitous or not? Parents, talk to your teens about your own values regarding sex and relationships.
How was teen drinking, smoking, and drug use depicted in the movie? Were they glamorized? Did the characters need to do these things to look cool? What are the consequences?
Talk about the strong language used. Did it seem necessary or excessive? What did it contribute to the movie?
Discuss the main group of characters. Were they likable or relatable? Could you describe any of them as role models? Was the story compelling despite their flaws?
- In theaters: April 20, 2001
- On DVD or streaming: September 22, 2003
- Cast: Thora Birch, Keira Knightley, Desmond Harrington
- Director: Nick Hamm
- Studio: Dimension Films
- Genre: Thriller
- Topics: Book Characters, High School
- Run time: 102 minutes
- MPAA rating: R
- MPAA explanation: pervasive language, some violence, sexuality/nudity and drug use
- Last updated: November 7, 2022
Our Editors Recommend
A scary gorefest underground. Not for kids.
Intense buried-alive thriller may be too grueling for most.
Spooky trapped-in-elevator horror tale promotes forgiveness.
Engrossing, snarky mystery has mature themes, language.
For kids who love thrills and mystery
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