By Sandie Angulo Chen,
Common Sense Media Reviewer
Common Sense Media Reviewers
Talented cast is wasted in sleazy, violent erotic thriller.
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
In this story about adultery and poor choices, the only possible positive messages are that every woman deserves to be treated with respect and that few marriages and friendships can overcome lies and betrayal.
Positive Role Models
All of the characters are very negative role models. The married men are all adulterous, murderous, uncontrollably violent, deviant voyeurs, sex addicted, or generally awful husbands and friends. They lie and betray people they supposedly love and trust. The wives are portrayed as either ice queens, pushovers, or shrews, whereas the mistresses are mostly gorgeous, leggy model types.
Violence & Scariness
Opens with a character falling or jumping to his death. Central mystery revolves around a young woman found dead and bloody on a bed. One character is incredibly violent and gets into several altercations. The violence against the dead woman is disturbing, as she's lying in a pool of blood with a cut wrist. A man who pays for sex treats a prostitute violently; when his friends come to help her, he tells them she's lying, because he paid her ("you can't rape a whore"). Phil angrily grabs and hurts his friend's crotch.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Lots of sex, but no frontal nudity -- it's all shots of couples moaning and embracing on a bed, with the occasional more graphic moments shot in a way that distorts and blurs the action. All of the sex is extramarital. Naked bottoms are shown in a skinny-dipping scene.
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Frequent strong/crass language: "f--k," "s--t," "a--hole," "bitch," "d--k," "tits," "ass," and more.
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
One character snorts cocaine so often that even his friends call him a "coke head." He's shown either cutting cocaine on a mirror or snorting it several times. The five men drink a lot -- at bars and meals. Marty in particular gets so drunk he makes stupid remarks. Two characters are drugged via drinks.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that The Loft is an Americanized adaptation of a Belgian erotic thriller (Loft), and there's lots of sex (all of it adulterous) and alcohol/drug use. The sex scenes are usually quick and shot in ways that distort or blur bodies (so viewers don't always know who's in the bed) or concentrate on bare sides or backs. Both women and men's buttocks are on display in a skinny-dipping scene, but otherwise characters are kept fairly covered up. One character is a cocaine fiend who's usually high and drunk (and is several times shown snorting or cutting the drug). There's also quite a bit of violence, including scenes of a woman lying in a pool of blood, a character falling to his death, and nasty treatment of a prostitute. Language is strong ("f--k," "s--t," and much more), and as can be expected, positive role models and positive messages are hard to find.
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What's the Story?
In the opening scenes of THE LOFT, which is based on the Belgian movie Loft, someone plummets to their death off of a balcony, and police interrogate a man for something he claims he didn't do -- killing a woman who was found dead on a bed in his apartment. The action then revisits the events of one year earlier: Architect Vincent (Karl Urban) celebrates the opening of a slick new condo he designed and proposes to his four best friends -- tightly wound Luke (Wentworth Miller), therapist Chris (James Marsden), pudgy joker Marty (Eric Stonestreet), and Chris' volatile brother, Phil (Matthias Schoenaerts) -- that they split a breathtaking loft as their secret man cave/den of iniquity. At first, a couple of the friends resist taking a key, but by the time of Phil's wedding, they all accept and use it -- mostly to have affairs, but also just get away from their wives and families. But when a dead girl winds up on the loft bed, the men start to suspect one another ... until twist after twist makes it clear that nothing and no one is what they seem.
Is It Any Good?
Flemish director Eric Van Looy remakes his own film, this time in English for American audiences, but the results are unfortunately not the guilty-pleasure thriller you might hope for. Given the familiar cast and compelling storyline, there's a lot of potential in the idea of five male friends who could each be the suspect in a horrific crime. But not one of the men is likable enough to root for (and audiences are generally pretty forgiving of adulterers, if they're humanized), and all of the women are reduced to gross stereotypes (the wives are shrews, ice queens, or oblivious, and the mistresses gorgeous blondes willing to do whatever, whenever). It's a shame, because Urban, Marsden, Miller, Shoenaerts (reprising his role from the original), and Stonestreet (he's definitely not Cam from Modern Family in this!) are all extremely capable actors.
This is the kind of movie that you might watch when it streams or hits cable, but only if you're a fan of the stars and want to laugh at scenes that weren't intended to be funny. It is a laugh, actually, to think that audiences would buy into the gimmick of this erotic thriller when there's nothing to invest viewers in the outcome. Unlike in Unfaithful and Fatal Attraction, The Loft doesn't bother to show that these men love their wives or children (who are surprisingly absent from a film about otherwise "decent" husbands and fathers). So in the end, all of the men could end up imprisoned, dead, or divorced, and you just won't care.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about why so many movies focus on adultery. Does The Loft glamorize adultery, or is it a cautionary tale? Is it believable that every married man would have an affair if he thought he could get away with it?
How are marriages and romantic relationships portrayed in the movie? Who, if anyone, has the healthiest relationship?
Critics have complained about the portrayal of women (both the wives and the mistresses) in the movie. Why are the wives stereotypically mean, catty, or boring? In what ways are the "other women" stereotypical as well?
What role does violence play in the movie? How is it connected to sex? What message does it send to viewers to have the two so bound together?
- In theaters: January 30, 2015
- On DVD or streaming: May 26, 2015
- Cast: Karl Urban, James Marsden, Wentworth Miller
- Director: Erik Van Looy
- Inclusion Information: Black actors, Middle Eastern/North African actors
- Studio: Open Road Films
- Genre: Thriller
- Run time: 104 minutes
- MPAA rating: R
- MPAA explanation: sexual content, nudity, bloody violence, language and some drug use
- Last updated: April 16, 2023
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