By Sandie Angulo Chen,
Common Sense Media Reviewer
Common Sense Media Reviewers
Despite violence, book-based zombie romance is OK for teens.
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
A central message is that all it takes to spark humanity in others is the expression of humanity -- and that even just a couple of optimists can make a huge difference. Although the story is Romeo and Juliet-esque in that the central romantic couple is from antagonistic sides, unlike Shakespeare's tragedy, love conquers the greatest of differences in Warm Bodies -- in this case, the bridge between life and death.
Positive Role Models
R is self-aware enough to feel conflicted about his "new hunger" to eat humans; he's willing to sacrifice himself to save Julie, who in turn puts herself in danger to be with R. R and Julie challenge others to see a way for the future that doesn't revolve around a cycle of killing and closing people off from the rest of the world.
Violence & Scariness
There's zombie vs. human and zombie vs. zombie violence. The Boneys are skeleton zombies who no longer have any flesh, and they're ruthless and freaky looking. In a couple of scenes, zombies are shown attacking humans, but the quick editing doesn't focus on the gore. The main character and his zombie pals kill a bunch of young adults, and R eats a particular man's brains for a big part of the movie. Human militias shoot and kill zombies.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Unlike the book -- which features some explicit references to sex, zombie genitalia, and skin-to-skin contact -- the movie is tamer, with a couple of kissing scenes (in flashback), plus flirting, hand-holding, and eventual kissing between R and Julie. In one scene, Julie is so cold in her wet clothes that she strips down to her bra and panties in order to get dry.
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Several uses of "s--t," plus "a--hole," one memorable "f--k," "hell," "ass," "crap," "oh my God," and a couple of "bitches."
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Products & Purchases
Even after the zombie apocalypse, there are brands that have survived. Some of the ones featured or mentioned include BMW, USA Today, Corona beer, iPod, Prozac, Cream of Wheat, and more.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
It's unclear how old Julie is, but she does drink a Corona beer that R offers her.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that, given the current popularity of zombie apocalypse stories, Warm Bodies should appeal to plenty of teens. With its Romeo and Juliet romance and appealing leads -- not to mention a popular young adult book as its source material -- the movie is aimed squarely at adolescent viewers. There's a notable amount of violence, including a considerable body count (zombies kill humans and eat their brains). Although the zombies barely speak, there's some strong language (one "f--k," several uses of "s--t," "a--hole," etc.), and a sweet romance that builds up to a passionate kiss (as well as some making out shown in flashbacks). But overall, there's less sexual content here than in the book. Despite the violence, this is a funny love story at heart.
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Based on 11 parent reviews
A great movie to show kids (a great message)
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A sweet, feel good movie
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What's the Story?
In a post-apocalyptic universe, "R" (Nicholas Hoult) is an airport-dwelling zombie who's still newly dead enough to feel conflicted about his ravenous need for human brains. On a hunting expedition to the city with his grunting BFF "M" (Rob Corddry), R and his zombie clique attack a group of heavily armed young adults who are out on a scouting mission. R kills the group's leader, Perry (Dave Franco), and grows immediately smitten with his victim's girlfriend, the comely blond Julie (Teresa Palmer). With Perry's memories fresh on his undead mind, R grabs Julie and takes her back to the airport. As R and Julie get to know each other, their flirting stirs something in R's heart and allows him to recapture part of his humanity. Unfortunately, Julie is the daughter of General Grigio (John Malkovich), who would never condone Julie's fondness for a "corpse."
Is It Any Good?
Move over, vampires, the zombies are upon us, and they're hilarious. These aren't the mindless savage zombies of George Romero or The Walking Dead, and this isn't an origin story like 28 Days Later. Based on author Isaac Marion's clever young adult novel, WARM BODIES is part Romeo and Juliet love story, part Shaun of the Dead biting comedy. It's funny, contemplative, and sweetly romantic. The leads have an authentic chemistry that makes for a perfect date movie for both teens and adults (thanks to the soundtrack featuring '80s classics like Bruce Springsteen's "Hungry Heart," Guns N' Roses' "Patience," and John Waite's "Missing You").
Hoult is clearly one of England's most talented young imports. The former star of the edgy U.K. series Skins, he's transformed from the dorky young star of About a Boy into a handsome leading man with a knack for comedy, drama, action, you name it. The same goes for his Aussie leading lady, who can play tough and tender with equal flair. The small supporting cast is great (Corddry is a laugh, Analeigh Tipton is lovely as Julie's best friend, and Malkovich is Malkovich), the script is witty, and overall Warm Bodies is a well-edited, well-acted adaptation of a memorable book.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about what R and Julie's story has in common with Romeo and Juliet. What are the similarities (and differences) between them and Shakespeare's star-crossed lovers?
Some have criticized Warm Bodies for breaking established "zombie rules" the way that Twilight breaks vampire rules. Do you think it matters whether a zombie has ever been able to heal himself in a story before?
For those familiar with the book, what do you think about the changes the filmmaker made? Which changes did you appreciate, and which aspects of the book did you miss?
If you haven't read Isaac Marion's book, does the movie make you want to?
- In theaters: February 1, 2013
- On DVD or streaming: June 4, 2013
- Cast: John Malkovich, Nicholas Hoult, Teresa Palmer
- Director: Jonathan Levine
- Studio: Summit Entertainment
- Genre: Comedy
- Topics: Book Characters, Monsters, Ghosts, and Vampires
- Run time: 97 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG-13
- MPAA explanation: zombie violence and some language
- Last updated: January 2, 2023
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