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Albatross [2012] [NR] - 8.3.10



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Unlike the MPAA we do not assign one inscrutable rating based on age, but 3 objective ratings for SEX/NUDITY, VIOLENCE/GORE and PROFANITY on a scale of 0 to 10, from lowest to highest, depending on quantity and context.

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Sex & Nudity
Violence & Gore
1 to 10


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In the south of England, a German author (Sebastian Koch) suffers writer's block for twenty years and stays in the attic of his seaside hotel. A dropout student (Jessica Brown-Findlay) arrives to become a maid, but seeks writing lessons from the author, while he encourages another young woman (Felicity Jones) to blossom, which makes her mother (Julia Ormond) panic. It all leads to a romantic affair, changing relationships and future writing careers. Also with Peter Vaughan, Harry Treadaway and Thomas Sangster. Directed by Niall MacCormick. [1:30]

SEX/NUDITY 8 - A teen girl finds her male boss masturbating with his hand inside his trousers while in an attic workspace; we see him in a long shot looking at a blurry film of two women apparently masturbating one another and moaning (we see the women's bare breasts and abdomens).
 A teen girl wearing a mini shirt and hose sits with a middle-aged man and discusses writing; she uncrosses her legs briefly and we see the crotch of her panties, she grabs his knee with her hand and the camera cuts to her coming out of the room with disheveled hair (sex is implied).
 A teen girl wearing a bra stands in front of a mirror (we see straps, the top half of the bra and cleavage), a man walks in and the girl tells the man that he is looking at her long and hard, suggesting he may have an erection that we don't see; later, they meet in his attic, remove her blouse and his shirt and we see bare shoulders and arms, she unbuckles his belt and the scene ends (sex is implied).
 A teen girl dressed in a skimpy bikini and hip veils has sex with a middle-aged man at a party after drinking alcohol; he is dressed as the Pope and takes her into a dark closet for sex, standing up -- he grunts twice and from a long shot in shadows we see him zip up his pants and exit the closet, stating, "You don't have to come with me" and she replies, "I don't have to come at all, apparently."
 A teen girl purchases a bottle of wine at a store and when asked by a twenty-something male clerk for ID, she raises her sweater, baring her breasts in close-up; the clerk gives her the wine without ID. At a costume party, women wear low-cut tops revealing cleavage and split skirts revealing full thighs and legs; some teens wear very short skirts that reveal most of their thighs. In college, two girls alternately wear an "I Put Out" shirt.
 We hear that a teen girl sleeps with a male college student and we see them in the morning asleep in bed (they are covered except for bare shoulders, arms and her bare thigh and leg); the next day she becomes ill and suspects pregnancy and morning sickness until a girlfriend brings her a pregnancy test that tests "negative."
 A middle-aged man and a teen girl ride in a convertible and kiss briefly. A 17-year-old girl kisses a 17-year-old boy for several minutes in close-up on a beach and at the restaurant where she works.
 A wife asks her husband if he knows that their daughter is having sex; he replies that he has been sleeping with the daughter's teen female friend and the wife shouts, "You have been [expletive deleted] our daughter's best friend?" and tells him to leave the house as the scene ends. A teen boy discusses his friend's sexual fantasy of a mermaid and he says sex would not be very good with the fish half. A middle-aged couple quarrel over how many men the woman slept with in the past; we do not hear how many.

VIOLENCE/GORE 3 - A teen girl throws a fire cracker into a barrel on a beach, it explodes, and other teens in the area run away; a policeman comes running into the area and we see the police officer driving the girl to a seaside hotel and releasing her with a warning.
 After her grandmother dies, a teen girl cries in her room and tears up pages of the novel she is writing, breaks a picture frame and glass, and throws things across her bedroom.
 An elderly woman with Alzheimer's becomes increasingly agitated in the film, shouting and crying excessively, she becomes bedridden and dies (off screen); we see a coffin in close-up through the windows of a hearse.
 Several arguments occur between a woman and two teen girls and between the two teenagers. A wife has several loud arguments with her husband, following him through their house, shouting names and obscenities.
 We hear that a woman jumped from a bridge and died on the pavement below as a result of mental illness.
 A man drives a girl to the grave of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle in a large cemetery crowded with many gravestones.
 A teen girl vomits into a fountain; we see a small amount of vomit. An elderly woman is seen in close-up with a dozen extremely long hairs on her chin.

PROFANITY 10 - About 18 F-words (we also see a close-up of a laptop screen and a Word document filled with 50 F-words in rows of five), 1 obscene gesture, 5 sexual references, 2 scatological terms, 2 anatomical terms, 11 mild obscenities, name-calling (idiot, stupid, Pollyanna, old man, fake, geek, shrew, pervert, pedophile, ugly, trumpet, gob smacking, liar, stereotypical references to aging actresses, authors, middle-aged men, grandparents, teenagers, bratty children, suicides, tourists, smart high school students, elite college students, 3 religious exclamations. [profanity glossary]

SUBSTANCE USE - A teen girl smokes a marijuana cigarette with another teen girl on the beach once. 17-year-old girls and boys are shown drinking liquor out of vodka and whiskey bottles on the beach by a fire at night as well as at a costume party and in bedrooms in several scenes, two teen girls are given wine at their family dinner by the dad, three family dinners show adults drinking wine, two teen girls get drunk and go home with older male college students (please see the Sex/Nudity category for more details) and we hear that one of the girls has sex with a male college student she does not know (please see the Sex/Nudity category for more details), a clerk sells an under-aged girl wine when she bares her breasts at the counter (please see the Sex/Nudity category for more details), a mother finds an empty vodka bottle in her teen daughter's bedroom and after an argument the father says to let it go because the alcohol gave the girl a spark of life, and a bar scene shows many glasses and bottles of beer on the bar and dining area tables. A teen girl smokes a cigarette on the beach twice.

DISCUSSION TOPICS - Family, relationships, fidelity, conflicts, lies, mental illnesses, disappointments, resolution, finding purpose in life.

MESSAGE - Do not be held back by your name, past accomplishments, or family history.

Special Keywords: S8 - V3 - P10 - MPAANR

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A CAVEAT: We've gone through several editorial changes since we started covering films in 1992 and some of our early standards were not as stringent as they are now. We therefore need to revisit many older reviews, especially those written prior to 1998 or so; please keep this in mind if you're consulting a review from that period. While we plan to revisit and correct older reviews our resources are limited and it is a slow, time-consuming process.

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