A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
The movie is basically a story of characters being dominated, whether willingly or unwillingly. It might be good for a discussion about the dark side of human nature, but no lessons are learned, and no conclusions are drawn.
Positive Role Models
The characters here are devious, self-centered, and sometimes flat-out mean.
Violence & Scariness
In one scene, a character is tied up and left alone, but mostly for humiliation. Also arguing and verbal confrontation. There's a description of a boy being whipped by a birch switch and an imaginary re-enactment.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
A woman's breast is shown in two shots; the first is very brief. In the second, she's naked and dancing with a large piece of cloth. She lets a breast show for a moment. The woman wears suggestive costumes. But the biggest issue is the movie's general discussion of sex, specifically the fetish of being submissive and being dominated. Characters discuss S&M and porn. There's a great deal of innuendo, flirting, and suggestion. A large, tall cactus leftover from an earlier play is mentioned as a phallic symbol; a woman makes playful thrusting motions against it. During the end credits, several classic paintings of nude women, topless and full-frontal, are shown.
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The movie is in French with English subtitles; words seen include "f--k," "ass," "c--t," "bitch," "s--t," "d--k," "butt," "testicles," "idiot," and "hell."
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Venus in Fur is a two-character drama from director Roman Polanski based on a Tony-winning play. It deals heavily with sex, fetish, and innuendo. There's some brief female nudity (breasts, plus both breasts and full-frontal in glimpses of classic paintings), but the bulk of the movie's sex is in the form of strong suggestion, flirting, and discussion. Though the movie is in French with English subtitles, language is quite strong, with "f--k," "s--t," "c--t," and "d--k" showing up in the translation. There's also some brief violence: One character ties up another, and characters argue. The movie is significant because it was directed by Polanski, but for most teens, the material is probably too strong, and, frankly, too talky. There are no real lessons learned or conclusions drawn, and the only thing to really discuss is the dark side of human nature. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
Venus in Fur never forgets to be playful and fluid, always moving, shifting gears, and surprising. Throughout his career, from his feature debut Knife in the Water (1962) to Carnage (2011), director Roman Polanski has specialized in wringing psychological tension from just a few characters who fall to pieces within limited spaces. In VENUS IN FUR, that place happens to be in the theater, and because it's based on a play by David Ives, some viewers may find the movie too stagy or stagebound.
But Polanski doesn't use the theater setting like a stage, and it moves very much like a movie -- a highly skilled one at that. Polanski uses all the lights, space, moods, and props available to him, including the leftover sets from a prior play (a musical version of Stagecoach). The movie isn't necessarily titillating or erotic, which may disappoint viewers. It's more about the psychology and nature of fetish; it's mostly innuendo.
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.