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American Beauty



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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

A journey through life in suburban America starring unhappily-married Kevin Spacey and Annette Bening. Also with Thora Birch, Wes Bentley, Mena Suvari, Peter Gallagher, Allison Janney, Scott Bakula, Sam Robards and Chris Cooper.

SEX/NUDITY 8 - Lots of sexual innuendo including references to masturbation, homosexuality and sex between a teenager and an adult. A couple has sex with thrusting, her legs up in the air and sex talk (but only her bare legs and his bare back are seen). A man is seen from behind masturbating in the shower; we can see his bare buttocks through the steam and see his hand moving. A man masturbates next to his sleeping wife in bed (we see his hand moving up and down under the sheets). A girl looks at pictures of bare breasts on her computer. A man strips and we see his bare buttocks. A girl stands in front of boy and strips to her bra, then takes her bra off and we see her breasts. More bare male buttocks are seen. A man thinks a male couple is performing fellatio (they are not). A father kisses his daughter's teenage friend, caresses her clothed breasts and pulls off her jeans until she's down to her underwear, and opens her shirt exposing her bare breasts. A man has several daydreams of a girl in various sexual scenarios: she dances suggestively (caressing her clothed breasts, hips thrusting, moving her hands down to her crotch) and opening her sweater (rose petals obscure her breasts); she's in a bathtub with rose petals covering her, he reaches his hand under the water at her crotch level as she puts her head back and moans. A girl is seen in her underwear and a skimpy top. A couple is lying in bed after sex with sheets up to his waist; her blouse partially open with her bra partially seen. There are a few kisses.

VIOLENCE/GORE 6 - A man is shot in the head and blood splatters on the wall. A father hits and pummels his son knocking him to the ground and leaving blood on and in his mouth and trickling from a cut next to his eye. A girl is slapped in the face. A woman slaps herself in the face. A dead bird is seen on film. A man throws a platter against a wall where it shatters and startles his family. A teenager has a red mark on his face. There is a lot of dripping blood on a corpse's head and its hair is thick and matted with blood. A man has a lot of blood on his hands and shirt. There is a lot of blood seen on a table and floor.

PROFANITY 7 - About 24 F-words, a profane hand gesture, many mild obscenities, scatological and anatomical references. [profanity glossary]

DISCUSSION TOPICS - Marriage, infidelity, drug use, the dysfunctional American family, loss of innocence.

MESSAGE - Today's American families are really messed up.

Special Keywords: S8 - V6 - P7 - 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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