The Player (1992)

Movie review by
Andrea Beach, Common Sense Media
The Player (1992) Movie Poster Image
Noir masterpiece has nudity, lots of strong language.
  • R
  • 1992
  • 124 minutes

Parents say

No reviews yetAdd your rating

Kids say

No reviews yetAdd your rating

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

Negative messages about the Hollywood studio system, how the process of getting a green light works, and how the people involved compromise their beliefs or integrity in order to make a product that will make money as opposed to making a work of art. If you have a lot of money and power, you can get away with just about anything.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Griffin Mill is an anti-hero who's manipulative and power hungry. At least he uses his position in the studio to defend the writer's place in movie making, but is fully aware that his job is to make products that will earn lots of money. Love interest June is Griffin's opposite, in that she's an artist who creates for its own sake, but she's emotionally empty. Supporting characters run the gamut from smart and loyal to morally bankrupt or downright hostile.

Violence

The main plot is about a murder by drowning, which is shown after a fight with some shoving. There's no gore or blood, but we see the victim's head being held under water, hear some gurgling, and see bubbles escaping as he dies. A man receives a couple of death threats on postcards. A man hits a rattlesnake brutally with an umbrella and tosses the dead (we assume) snake aside. No blood or gore are shown.

Sex

Simulated sex is shown once, in a tight close-up on the faces with kissing and moaning. Reading a sex scene from a script mentions lowering panties and rubbing. Women's bare breasts are shown several times and for several minutes. At night, a naked woman enters a pool and is briefly shown fully nude; she and the other skinny-dipper embrace and kiss in the pool. A man is briefly seen fully nude from the side; his penis is visible. A main character frequently wears white, sheer tops with no bra. Played for laughs, two women police detectives discuss tampons and joke about needing the jumbo size; one uses a sealed tampon with applicator to gesture and point, and eventually twirls the tampon itself like a toy. A man and woman talk flirtatiously on the phone while he's observing her through the windows of her house; later he confesses to her and mentions it was strange and exciting.

Language

"S--t," "f--k," and lots of variations of each. "Goddamn," "a--hole," "son of a bitch," "d--k," "d--kbrain," "Jesus Christ" as exclamation, and "bitch." Lots of verbal hostility, out of anger or to intimidate.

Consumerism

Many different brands of mineral water mentioned. Tampax mentioned and shown. Luxury cars establish character and setting.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Adults have beer, wine, and cocktails with meals and at parties. One character mentions wanting margaritas intravenously. A few scenes in bars. Main character Griffin rarely drinks, but once drinks a large serving of vodka quickly. Smoking in clips from older movies and occasionally by background or minor characters. A minor character with a cigarette or possibly a cigarillo in a couple of longer scenes, including a close-up with it in his hand.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that The Player (1992) is a dark, crime-drama thriller from acclaimed director Robert Altman. The plot involves a murder, which is shown without blood or gore. Otherwise there's very little violence. There's a strong sex scene that shows only close-ups of the faces with kissing, thrusting, and moaning. Other sexual content includes a few kisses, women's breasts shown several times, and a fully-nude woman and man. A main character frequently wears white, sheer tops without a bra. Strong language is frequent, especially "s--t," "f--k," and lots of variations of each. Negative role models and messages show the cutthroat world of the Hollywood studio system, which requires artistic and moral sacrifices in order to make money. It's a must-see for film buffs but is not for kids. Mature teens who are fans of film noir and crime dramas will have a lot to think about.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say

There aren't any reviews yet. Be the first to review this title.

There aren't any reviews yet. Be the first to review this title.

What's the story?

Griffin Mill (Tim Robbins) is THE PLAYER, a Hollywood studio executive whose career may be slipping away thanks to an up-and-comer gunning for his job. And to make things worse, he's receiving increasingly threatening postcards from a disgruntled writer he brushed off in the past. Griffin tracks down the writer to try and confront him about the threats. The confrontation turns ugly, and Griffin soon finds himself embroiled in a murder investigation. Worse still, the postcards keep coming. Who has it out for Griffin, and will he find his own happy ending?

Is it any good?

This is the one with Robert Altman's famous eight-minute opening scene, a beautifully orchestrated, continuous tracking shot that perfectly sets up the rest of this thrilling noir crime drama. It’s the head of the snake devouring itself as The Player draws the viewer into an endless circle. The performances are great. The script is a rock solid, sly, and clever framework for Altman’s devilish digs at the Hollywood studio system.

It's a must-see for film buffs, who'll enjoy peeling away the layers of references, in jokes, Altman's masterful display of technique, to say nothing of the sheer fun of seeing so many cameos and so many terrific performances. But even if it didn't have all that, it also works as a taut, suspenseful crime drama in the great film noir tradition. Mature teens who can handle the nudity and strong language may not get all the in jokes, but they'll enjoy sinking their teeth into the world of movie-making while they're kept on the edge of their seats right to the end.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the nudity and sex in The Player. Is it gratuitous? What does it add to the movie?

  • What about all the profanity? Is it realistic? Is it necessary?

  • Do you think The Player paints a realistic picture of how decisions are made about which movies get the green light? What's the difference between a studio picture and an independent film? Which do you tend to like better, and why?

Movie details

Themes & Topics

Browse titles with similar subject matter.

For kids who love classic tales

Our editors recommend

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

About these links

Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization, earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes when you use our links to make a purchase. Thank you for your support.

Read more

Our ratings are based on child development best practices. We display the minimum age for which content is developmentally appropriate. The star rating reflects overall quality and learning potential.

Learn how we rate