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 Voices is a black comedy with fantasy overtones and some extreme gore. Women are stabbed and killed, bodies are chopped, and severed heads are displayed. There are nightmarish flashbacks to a boy in terrible situations, and a deer is hit by a car and put out of its misery with a knife. Language is also very strong, mainly spoken by a cat character; there are multiple uses of "f--k," "s--t," "bitch," "ass," and more. Characters kiss, and sex is implied; graphic animal mating is also shown on a television. The main character gets very drunk in one scene and takes a prescription anti-psychotic pill in another. Though some of the movie's more comic elements (i.e. the talking animals) may appeal to teens, the overall package seems more pitched to adults.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
Jerry Hickfang (Ryan Reynolds) is a nice guy who works in packing and shipping in a fixtures and faucets company. Unfortunately, he had a troubled childhood and has been seeing a therapist (Jacki Weaver) ... but he hasn't been taking his anti-psychotic medication. So Jerry's nasty cat, Mr. Whiskers, and his loyal dog, Bosco (both also voiced by Reynolds), speak to him on a regular basis. While attempting to date the office beauty, Fiona (Gemma Arterton), Jerry accidentally kills her. Fearing how it would look to the police, he cuts up the body and keeps the head in his freezer. Things get even more complicated when another attractive co-worker, Lisa (Anna Kendrick), starts to show an interest in Jerry.
Is it any good?
This quirky film is quite a bit more vulgar than you might expect, with over-the-top blood and gore, as well as the cat's salty language (spoken in a Scottish brogue). Iranian-born director Marjane Satrapi published her own unique life story in the comic book Persepolis, made it into an animated feature, and followed it up with the big-hearted tragic romance Chicken with Plums; all of those titles deal in unrealistic situations but are rooted in genuine, powerful emotions. THE VOICES stays true to this path. Thanks to Satrapi's understanding touch and Reynolds' warm, funny performance, Jerry's aching loneliness and regret feel real, and his occasional little victories and connections are moments of beauty. (It was a nice touch for Reynolds to provide all the animal voices, which also include a deer and a sock bunny). Satrapi's visual touches, like the pink of the warehouse and Jerry's bowling alley home (with its alternate fantasy-reality decorating), are both funny and melancholy.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about The Voices' strong gore and violence. How did it affect you? How do you think the movie would have been different without it?
What's it like to watch movies that don't take place strictly in reality? Does The Voices have its own set of rules, even if everything isn't believable?
Is the main character sympathetic, even though he's a killer? How and why?
Since almost all of the victims are women, do you think that means the movie is taking a stereotypical view of them?