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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
This is one of those movies in which bad things happen to good (more or less) people, and the repercussions and choices they make aren't necessarily the best available.
Positive Role Models
Sailor and Lula are lovers on the run with the world against them. Not everything is entirely their fault, but their chosen path in life is hardly one worth emulating.
Violence & Scariness
Brutal knife fight, with stabbing and lots of blood. Brains bashed in, with gore shown. Guns and shooting, minor characters shot. A young teen girl is said to have been raped; image of her crying and bleeding. Car crashes, explosions. Bloody corpses, bloody wounds. Man on fire. Car running over man. Man shoots own head off. Severed hand. Fighting. Shouting. Animals killing on TV program. Talk of a main character's father dying. Vomit.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Main female character topless. Several other minor female characters shown topless. Strong sex scenes. Kissing. Sexy outfits/lingerie. Some sexual innuendo. Sexual gestures (grabbing, stroking, etc.).
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Many uses of "f--k," "s--t," "a--hole," "c--k," "bitch," "bastard," "balls," "piss," "hell," "f--got," "damn," "suck," "stupid," "for God's sake."
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Lots of cigarette smoking from main characters. A supporting character drinks heavily. Other social drinking.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Wild at Heart is a lovers-on-the-run movie from director David Lynch; it won the Cannes Film Festival's Palme d'Or. It's extremely intense with lots of iffy stuff for younger viewers, and it's not considered one of Lynch's best, but for older viewers and fans of the director it contains much that's worthwhile. Violence can be brutally strong, with lots of blood and gore, fighting, guns and shooting, characters dying, and a reference to a teen girl being raped. Language is quite frequent, with uses of "f--k," "s--t," "a--hole," "bitch," and much more. Sex scenes are also quite strong, with vivid, simulated sex, topless women, kissing, and sexual innuendo/gestures. The main characters smoke cigarettes often, and a secondary character is a heavy drinker. Most characters drink socially. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
David Lynch's adaptation of Barry Gifford's novel contains much of his trademark powerful, nightmarish imagery, even if it also appears that he might have been grasping at straws at times. At its core, Wild at Heart is a pretty simple, very good lovers-on-the-run film noir; Sailor and Lula are super-cool yet sympathetic characters whose love is never in doubt. In their scenes together, they seem to truly appreciate each other's nuances and to respect one another. Even if they have been the victims of bad luck and made some bad choices, they are worth rooting for, and Cage and Dern are terrific in their roles (especially Dern, whose physicality in this movie is striking).
Yet Lynch seems to have let his artistic id take over a bit too often, obsessing on both The Wizard of Oz and Elvis Presley, and trying to shoehorn references into the movie whenever possible -- whether they fit or not. Lynch also includes some moments of plain weirdness, such as a man talking with a high-pitched voice and another man (Jack Nance, of Eraserhead) speaking in odd riddles, which only calls attention to itself. But for the majority of the movie, Lynch's touch works, and provides a strange, entertaining ride. Incidentally, Lynch's groundbreaking TV series Twin Peaks debuted later this same year, and many of that show's actors can be seen in small parts here.
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.