Preteen girl looking at a cell phone with her parents

Personalized picks at your fingertips

Get the mobile app on iOS and Android

Parents' Guide to

The Neon Demon

By Jeffrey Anderson, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 18+

Strange modeling industry drama has shocking violence, sex.

Movie R 2016 117 minutes
The Neon Demon Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 17+

Based on 4 parent reviews

age 16+

First half is strong, second half goes off the rails a bit

This film starts off very strong, very believable. The fashion industry from an ingenue's perspective when she first arrives in LA and lives in a seedy motel in Pasadena...believable, Reeves as seedy scum...believable, Fanning as a beautiful ingenue...believable...Malone in her character portrayal...very believable. The first half of the film works very well, but things go off the rails and seem to meander in a way that feels a bit indulgent...not quite sure why Malone's character has to be involved with the occult. Then it goes for full gross...which it succeeds. The conversations around beauty are strong, wish that would have wrapped up a bit tighter.
age 14+

This movie is for young adults/teenagers

This movie was not aimed at adults but at teenagers! That is why I have given it a 14+ because it applies to mostly young adults and the way that teens view them selves and their body! Whilst there is graphic violence I do reccomend this film to young adults but it’s up to them to know their limits not their parents as no parent truly knows their child no matter how much they think they do! Very good film with strong messages!

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (4 ):
Kids say (13 ):

This exquisite nonsense from director Nicolas Winding Refn, best known for the excellent Drive, has very little substance -- it's not exactly art -- but it does have plenty of style and tension. Drawing inspiration from David Lynch, David Cronenberg, Brian De Palma, and others, The Neon Demon is a variety of surfaces and reflections, characters looking and being looked at. It purports to explore the nature of beauty while itself trying to be beautiful. But it really doesn't dig much deeper than that.

The movie is filled with crazy, breathtaking moments -- such as a mountain lion suddenly appearing in Jesse's room, a blood-soaked photo session, a lights-out photo session, and a strobe-lit performance at a party. It all leads up to a shocking, giddily disgusting conclusion that doesn't exactly complete the thesis but is at least memorable. The cinematography is always dreamily vivid, and an electronic score by Cliff Martinez frequently sends the images floating off into ecstasy.

Movie Details

  • In theaters: June 24, 2016
  • On DVD or streaming: September 27, 2016
  • Cast: Elle Fanning , Jena Malone , Keanu Reeves
  • Director: Nicolas Winding Refn
  • Inclusion Information: Female actors, Pansexual actors, Asian actors, Polynesian/Pacific Islander actors
  • Studios: Broad Green Pictures , Amazon Studios
  • Genre: Drama
  • Run time: 117 minutes
  • MPAA rating: R
  • MPAA explanation: disturbing violent content, bloody images, graphic nudity, a scene of aberrant sexuality, and language
  • Last updated: October 20, 2023

Inclusion information powered by

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.

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.

See how we rate