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American Psycho



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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

MPAA Rating: R

Based on Bret Easton Ellis's novel, this black comedy/horror film takes place in the 80s and focuses on a morally and emotionally bankrupt broker turned serial killer played by Christian Bale. Also with Willem Dafoe, Jared Leto, Reese Witherspoon, Samantha Mathis, Chloe Sevigny, Justin Theroux, Josh Lucas, Guinevere Turner, Matt Ross, William Sage and Cara Seymour; directed by Mary Harron. [1:37]

SEX/NUDITY 10 - Many instances of sexual innuendo (including references to fellatio) and a couple of kisses. A man tells a woman to perform cunnilingus on another (we don't see this happen), then we see them involved in a ménage à trois with lots of thrusting and moaning (all are nude; we see the women's bare breasts and buttocks and possibly see full-frontal male nudity -- shadows cover most of his groin area); we see them lying in bed together later. A man thrusts on top of one woman, then thrusts on top of a woman lying next to her underneath a sheet (we one of the women's bare buttocks as she leaves the bed). A man watches a pornographic movie showing two topless women kissing, thrusting and moaning; also, a man watches two clothed women holding and rubbing each other. A man in an open shirt thrusts and moans on top of woman wearing a slip. A man watches a woman bathe (part of her bare breast is visible) and tells her to clean her genitals. A man kisses another's hand, runs his finger over his lips and confesses his feelings for him (nothing else happens). A woman wearing a bra and thong underwear dances suggestively in front of a woman and a man. We see a nude man chasing after a woman (shadows cover his groin area but his bare buttocks are visible), a man's bare backside as he's showering, the side of a nude man lying in a tanning bed (some pubic hair is visible), a man in his underwear for awhile, several women in cleavage-revealing tops, a videotape cover featuring a scantily clad woman, a woman wearing a slip, many illustrations of nude women, and two nude female corpses in plastic bags (their breasts are somewhat visible).

VIOLENCE/GORE 9 - A man repeatedly hits a person with an axe (we don't see the impact), causing lots of blood to spray and cover his face; we see blood pooling on the floor and also see the corpse lying on the floor (only its legs are visible). A bloody man chases after someone with a chainsaw and drops it down a stairwell as the person runs down the steps; we then see the corpse lying in a pool of blood. As a man is having intercourse with a woman underneath sheets, we hear her scream, see blood seep through the sheet, then see his bloody mouth and face. We hear squishy noises as a man repeatedly stabs someone in the stomach (no blood is visible). A man shoots several people (all fall to the ground; one of the victims has a small bloody patch on her clothing). A man points a nail gun at the back of someone's head and also puts his hands around a man's neck as if he were going to strangle him (but he doesn't). A man grabs a woman's leg and bites her calf, then she kicks him in the face. Gunfire is exchanged in one scene; a man shoots a couple of cars and they explode. A man kicks a dog several times (we hear it yelping) and holds a gun to a kitten. A woman discovers (and we also see) several very bloody corpses throughout an apartment; we also see a woman's head in a plastic bag in a freezer. A man drags a bag (presumably holding a corpse) through a building and puts it in a car trunk. We see a woman with a bloody nose (it's implied a man has harmed them in some way). Blood appears to be dripping past the camera, but it turns out to be some type of sauce; we also see a bloody sheet and some bloody walls in an apartment. A man draws a picture of a woman with a chainsaw sticking out of her back; also, we see many drawings of murdered, dismembered women in a man's notebook. A man admits he has killed lots of people and says he's eaten some of their brains. Some verbal threatening. Twice, we hear a man urinating.

PROFANITY 8 - About 28 F-words, several anatomical references, a few scatological references, a few mild obscenities and many insults. [profanity glossary]

DISCUSSION TOPICS - Murder, the 80s, investment brokers, wealth, greed, misogyny, narcissism, prostitution, cheating, drug abuse (mostly implied, but in one scene we see two men snorting cocaine), wanting to fit in, numbness, rage, jealousy.

MESSAGE - Narcissism numbs the senses and detaches one from reality; some use (or imagine) homicide as a means to reconnect with their emotions and their reality.

Special Keywords: S10 - V9 - P8 - MPAAR

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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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