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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
The movie carries roughly the same message as the story of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde: All humans have an animal side that we must learn to control to live in a civilized world. But beyond that, the point is unclear. One of the movie's bad guys believes that the beast must be set free, while another wants to hunt and kill the hero/wolfman. The hero's goal is to put an end to all the beastliness, but he can only achieve this through beastly acts: murder and death. In essence, the movie seems to say that if you have the tough luck to unleash your inner beast, too bad, because it's curtains for you.
Positive Role Models
Hero Lawrence Talbot shows some positive behavior, even though he turns into a wolf and fillets half of his neighbors. After bouts of horror, disbelief, and self-pity, he gradually accepts his fate and decides to do the right thing, even if it means his own demise. He works to protect Gwen and dedicates himself to stopping the other wolfman, which is still on the loose and killing by choice. Gwen, too, works hard to find a cure for her friend and puts herself at risk to do so.
Violence & Scariness
Strong but not constant fantasy violence and gore. The wolfmen slice and dice their way through several victims. Viewers see blood spattering, severed body parts, scattered entrails, and organ removal. These are usually accompanied by sudden, swift movements and intense growling and yowling. There's a gory "wound stitching" scene. Also many guns, gunshots, and gunshot victims. Additionally, some scary, shocking nightmare sequences.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Lawrence and Gwen flirt a little (he teaches her how to skip stones and holds her hand). Later, they share one small kiss.
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Minimal uses of words like "damn" and "whore."
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Lawrence drinks often during the first part of the movie, but never to excess. Several scenes take place inside a pub, with locals drinking and smoking in the background.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that The Wolfman (starring Benicio Del Toro and Anthony Hopkins) is an extra-gory remake of the same-named 1941 classic (starring Lon Chaney Jr.). The new film is filled with slashings, slicings, and dicings, with lots of blood, gore, and body parts, as well as guns and shooting, scary nightmare sequences, and loud noises. The main female character (Emily Blunt) never develops much of a personality and seems too passive (a wasted opportunity to improve upon the original film). In other words, this movie is only for your oldest teens even if it looks like it could go with other sort of "super hero" genre movies. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
The new WOLFMAN makes an earnest attempt to keep some of the spooky atmosphere and tragic character depth of its predecessor, along with the expected new, high levels of gore. But somehow the characters never spark to life, the atmosphere seems uncertain, and the bloody scenes wind up becoming the film's highlight.
It's as if, in their obsession with both updating and staying true to the source material, the filmmakers forgot the central theme: the battle between man's intellectual and primal sides. The movie never warms up enough to elicit any human emotions, nor does it ever cut loose enough to feel completely crazy. Del Toro, with his sad, soulful eyes, seems perfect to step into Lon Chaney Jr.'s shoes, but he doesn't show enough vulnerability; the character is too determined. Likewise, Blunt's character is underwritten and seems a waste of her talents. The original is still better.
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.