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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Not many positive messages, but if there is one, it's the importance of strong sibling bonds.
Positive Role Models
Although audiences may believe she's misguided, Kate feels moral responsibility to stay at Bly Manor and help Flora. She wants to teach the privileged kids to take responsibility and do even minor chores, while housekeeper believes they should be treated as aristocrats.
Violence & Scariness
Kate hears voices and sees figures that, upon further investigation, aren't there. She's hurt and gets a bloody nose. She sees a person face down in the water, appearing to drown. In visions, Kate sees Quint sexually assaulting the former teacher as well as choking her. Miles whips a horse as he gives Kate an aggressive horseback-riding lesson. In a horseback chase, Kate nearly crashes into Flora.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
A nude painting reveals bare breasts, Kate's bare back and legs are visible in the bath, and Kate undresses down to her top and underwear. Miles gives Kate a kiss on the cheek while she's on her bed; Kate sees a woman's thong-clad behind in a photo.
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Occasional strong language includes: "I'll f--king kill you," "get the hell out of here," "Jesus," "oh my God," and "s--t."
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Products & Purchases
Doc Martens boots, Nirvana album.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Quint supposedly fell off her horse drunk. It's made obvious that Quint introduced Miles to drinking and they even possibly got drunk together. A diary entry mentions Quint smelling of whiskey.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that The Turning is director Floria Sigismondi's take on Henry James' classic 1898 horror novel The Turn of the Screw about a teacher who starts seeing ghosts. Starring Mackenzie Davis, the modernized version (which is set in 1994, a century later than James' book) has creepy, atmospheric sequences, a couple of jump-worthy moments, and a ghost with a tendency toward sexual assault and general violence. Language includes one use of "f--king," plus "s--t" and exclamations of "hell," "Jesus," and more. A teen makes suggestive comments and advances toward his sister's teacher, a woman's bare back is visible as she bathes, and a rape/murder is blurrily depicted in a vision. The movie isn't outright scary so much as it is creepy and dark, and it unfortunately has an unsatisfying ending. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
Despite the talented cast and atmospheric production design, this adaptation suffers from both a sluggish plot and an unnecessarily abrupt ending. Davis, Prince, and Wolfhard are all fine actors, but there's little for them to do except act terrified, indulged, and smug, respectively. If ever there was a competition for rich kids behaving badly, Wolfhard's Miles (whom the housekeeper calls a "thoroughbred") would definitely place. He's indignant at the thought of clearing his plate, apathetic about his expulsion from school, and uninterested in following any rules "the help" might suggest. Kate, meanwhile, is the ultimate misguided do-gooder, and audiences may well take perverse delight in yelling at her throughout The Turning.
Why Kate stays at the haunted manse with ungrateful children (Flora can be sweet, but she cares far more about her brother than her teacher) is beyond understanding. The only reasonable character in the movie is Kate's former roommate/best friend, Rose (Kim Adis), who routinely implores Kate to ditch the gig and come home. Rose is also the sole source of levity in the movie, because Kate is utterly humorless. Of course, Kate also isn't in her right mind: She's seeing ghosts and is overly invested in the children's lives. The movie's ambiguous final sequence will frustrate audiences because it's so incomprehensible -- and not in a thought-provoking Inception or The Others manner, but in a "what did we just watch?" or "why did we waste our money?" way.
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.