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 Moth Diaries is a horror movie set at a girls' boarding school. Some of the events contain vampire-like elements, but the movie's main theme seems to be about suicide. It's clearly intended to follow in the footsteps of the popular Twilight movies and their mix of horror and teen angst, but there's much more gore -- and sex -- here. Viewers see several dead bodies -- including suicide victims -- and lots of blood. Sex scenes include partial nudity and two women in bed together; there's also strong innuendo and sex talk throughout. Language is quite infrequent but includes one "f--k," and there are scenes of teens smoking pot, with consequences.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
Recovering from her father's suicide, Rebecca (Sarah Bolger) attends an all-girls boarding school. She looks forward to seeing her best friend, Lucie (Sarah Gadon), again. But as they prepare for the best year ever, a new girl, the creepy Ernessa (Lily Cole), turns up and begins stealing Lucie away from Rebecca. Rebecca notices that Lucie has stopped eating and looks rather weak and sick, but no one listens to her. Not even handsome poetry teacher Mr. Davies (Scott Speedman) can help. Worse, Rebecca begins seeing creepy things, visions and other weird events, involving Ernessa -- including a bloody rainstorm and a glimpse of Ernessa passing straight through a glass window. Can Rebecca get to the bottom of these mysterious events?
Is it any good?
Coming from the intense, button-pushing director Mary Harron -- of American Psycho and The Notorious Bettie Page -- THE MOTH DIARIES is a disappointment. Ostensibly made as an angst-filled teen horror movie in the vein of Twilight, it doesn't really have an idea of its own identity. For example, the boarding school is supposed to be on the site of an old hotel, but this isn't really used in any interesting physical way.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how the movie presents suicide. Is it realistic? Does it romanticize it at all? What makes some people think that it's their only option? What impact does their decision have on their friends and family? Where can kids in despair turn for assistance?
In the story, one of the teen girls has sex with a boy for the first time. How is it presented? Parents, talk to your teens about your own values regarding sex and relationships.
Is this movie scary? What are the scariest parts, and why do they or don't they work?
- In theaters: April 20, 2012
- On DVD or streaming: August 28, 2012
- Cast: Lily Cole, Sarah Bolger, Sarah Gadon, Scott Speedman
- Director: Mary Harron
- Studio: IFC Entertainment
- Genre: Horror
- Run time: 82 minutes
- MPAA rating: R
- MPAA explanation: some bloody images, sexuality, drug use and language
- Last updated: September 21, 2019
For kids who love scares
Our editors recommend
Top advice and articles
Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.
Streaming options powered by JustWatch