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Gainsbourg: A Heroic Life [2011] [NR] - 8.3.5



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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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Based on the graphic novel chronicling the life of French singer Serge Gainsbourg (Eric Elmosnino), it covers his childhood growing up in Nazi-occupied Paris, his torrid love affairs with many women and his wildly successful song-writing years, all with a touch of fantasy. Also with Lucy Gordon, Laetitia Casta, Anna Mouglalis and Sara Forestier. Directed by Joann Sfar. In French, Russian and English with English subtitles. [2:01]

SEX/NUDITY 8 - A man and a woman are seen fully nude in a bathtub: the woman's bare breasts are visible and the man's genitals are seen, the two kiss passionately as the woman lies next to the man, with her legs twisted with his and sex is implied. A man and a woman kiss passionately, we see the woman's bare back as her dress is partially unzipped and we later see them lying side by side in bed (sex is implied).
 A woman discovers a man, fully nude (his partial bare buttocks, back and chest are visible), sleeping on a bed with a dog; the woman takes multiple pictures of the man from different angles, the dog leaves and we see the man's genitals and the woman climbs in bed next to the man. We briefly see a woman's breast as she breastfeeds a baby. We see various animations and illustrations that a boy draws of nude women with bare breasts visible and occasionally visible but not defined genitals. A boy is seen looking at a drawing of a dog with human male genitalia and an erection and a fully nude woman with bare breasts and genitals. We see a woman dressing (her bare breasts are visible) and as she pulls on her bra; she discovers a boy watching and drawing her and the boy asks the woman to take off her brassiere so he can draw her nude. A topless woman dances in front of a man; we see her bare back and breasts and she is wearing a pair of nylon tights with no visible underwear. We see photographs of a nude woman and see statues and figurines of small humans climbing up a phallus.
 A woman dances around a man seated at a piano, she has a sheet wrapped around her (we see the side of her breast on multiple occasions, her bare back and the outline of her buttocks through the sheet), and the woman sits on the piano and places her ankles on the man's shoulders. A man and a woman lie side by side in bed, and the woman rests her head on the man's bare chest. A man and a woman are seen side by side in bed, and the woman is fully nude (her bare back and a portion of her bare buttocks are visible). A woman poses nude in front of several men and a boy is turned away from the nude woman (a man continually twists the boy's head away) and we see her bare back, a portion of her bare buttocks and bare breasts. A man blatantly stares at the cleavage of a woman wearing a low-cut, cleavage-exposing dress. A young woman dances provocatively in a short, form-fitting dress as an older man watches. A woman wears a dress that exposes her back. A young woman wears an extremely short dress and we see a small amount of her buttocks exposed as her dress lifts slightly. A man's chest is partially visible on multiple occasions when he wears his shirt partially unbuttoned. We see abstract photographs of a man's bare torso and chest. A boy and a girl are seen wearing swimsuits, the boy has a swimsuit that covers his chest and a small portion of the girl's abdomen is visible. We see a cartoon man in a swimsuit and his bare chest and back are visible.
 A shirtless man (his bare chest and back are visible) kisses a woman passionately as they lie on a bed, the woman straddles the man and they kiss passionately until they interrupted. On multiple occasions we see a man and a young woman kiss. An older man and a young woman are seen kissing passionately. A man kisses countless women as they dance around him. We see a woman approach a man and kiss him passionately. A man and a woman are seen dancing and they kiss as they dance. A man dressed as a woman kisses another woman. A man rests his head in a young woman's lap; he kisses her thighs and then passes out. A man drops a glass, picks up the pieces of glass and a woman kisses a small amount of blood on his hand.
 A young woman asks an older man if he wants to have sex with her and the man responds, "Maybe." A man tells a woman that he does not understand how a male artist had drawn so many "irresistible" women in various poses, and the woman tells the man that the artist would sleep with the women before painting them. A boy has a conversation with an imaginary, unseen woman: he imagines the woman asking him to kiss her with tongue, snuggle and then marry her and the boy rebuffs the woman's advances, and tells the imaginary and unseen woman to take off her clothing so he can draw her. A boy tells a woman that he will seduce women that look like her, he tells the woman that he is in love with her, and she rebuffs his advances. A man crudely describes that a song is meant to be about sex. A man asks another a rhetorical question about people, asking if they have sex because they will not sing sexual songs. A man shouts at another man, saying that he is running a "bordello" and that he can hear moaning through the walls. On multiple occasions boys discuss how to draw pubic hair. A man asks a boy to draw him a nude picture of a woman. An older man, and a man and a woman listen to a song with provocative lyrics and we hear sexual moans while the older man discusses how he could go to jail for releasing the sexual song; the man instructs him to release the song. A man tells a caricature puppet that he is not interested in writing for prepubescents and the puppet mocks the man by asking him why he is re-reading "Lolita." A man asks a teen girl if she would like him to write a "dirty" song for her to sing, saying it would be about a teen girl getting paid to suck lollipops; the girl does not understand the sexual implications and says she is not interested in the song.
 We see a boy imagine himself reclined on a beach next to a woman.

VIOLENCE/GORE 3 - A large puppet-headed caricature of a man angrily smashes a man's painting against a chair as the man watches; the caricature then sets himself on fire and catches a collection of paintings on fire, we see the man struggle to put out the fire and later see the man standing in a burnt-out apartment with the caricature puppet singed and burnt but still "alive."
 An older man shouts at a man, lunges toward him and we see another man shove him away. A man and two young girls are seen playing with a mannequin on the ground; the man then shoots the mannequin in the face after telling a woman that the mannequin is ill. A woman hits her young son on the head. A man waves a gun at a caricature puppet of himself and the puppet takes the gun from the man. A man waves around a gun in the back of a car in a non-threatening manner, jokingly saying that he would shoot a man if he touched his wife, and the driver of the car tells the man to put away the gun. Three boys shout and hit one another as a man watches.
 A boy tells a story to two girls as we see an animated man's head begin to get larger and larger until it explodes and a man emerges from the ruins of the exploded balloon head. We see a large puppet-balloon headed man chase a boy for a few moments until the boy befriends the large puppet-balloon headed man. A boy plays with a toy gun, taking aim at a large puppet-balloon headed man; he does not fire.
 An elderly man slumps over while he plays the piano, and we later see him lying on the ground as his adult son pulls a sheet over his dead body. A young woman pulls a man out of a street as he is about to be hit by a car racing down a street and the young woman tells the man that she had saved his life. A woman screams when she finds a man lying on a street and she says that the man would be run over.
 A man appears very weak and ill: he is loaded into an ambulance after telling another man that he would die if he went on a stretcher and we later see the man in a hospital bed; a woman tells the man, "It is benign" and that he needs to improve his health. A man tells multiple reporters that he had a coronary; the man is later seen fully recovered. A man dramatically tells a young woman that he will throw himself into a canal and drown. A man tells his young daughters that he had a brother who had died before he was born. An older woman tells a boy that her son had died after being starved to death by his nurse. A man tells another man and a woman that several children had been orphaned when their parents were killed in a concentration camp. On multiple occasions we hear various people, children and men and women, singing the French national anthem which has lines about blood, blood shed everywhere, and a person killing their sons, family and kin. A man stumbles as he walks into a room filled with children.
 A man shouts at his young son and then his wife. A man shouts at a boy. A man shouts at his wife. A man shouts at his two young daughters. A woman shouts at a man in front of their two young daughters. A man shouts and acts manically as he rides in the back of a police bus with two policemen and a woman. A man yelps after being surprised by an imaginary caricatured puppet man with a large nose, ears and spindly fingers. A female shopkeeper shouts at a boy and shoves him out of a shop. A man exclaims, "I would rather die" than write songs for a teen girl. A man sings an unflattering song about his former wife, calling her a hippo-dame and making fun of her weight. A girl teases her sister, telling their father that the girl urinates on a carpet after the girl tells the man that she does not like to get up to go to the bathroom at night.
 A man drops a glass, picks up the pieces of glass and a woman kisses a small amount of blood on his hand. As part of a pantomime, a man spits out coffee into a cup and then serves the coffee to a man.

PROFANITY 5 - About 2 F-words, 5 sexual references, 10 scatological terms (1 minor), 4 anatomical terms, 5 mild obscenities, name-calling (ugly, cheeky, cocky, hicks, wretched, hopeless, scumbag, hippo-dame, h*llcat, useless, total flop, kid, stupid, boring, rude, legs like a baby in a dress, jerks, toy poodle, crazy, snitch, old jerk, cow), exclamations (shut up), 1 religious profanity, 3 religious exclamations. [profanity glossary]

SUBSTANCE USE - A boy and two women sing a song about doing cocaine, and a boy sings about cocaine and his mother shouts at him. Men and women are seen drinking alcohol frequently and on two occasions we see a man drinking to the point of drunkenness when he passes out, an older woman offers to buy a young boy and a woman a drink, a woman warns a man that he needs to stop smoking and drinking, a man tells reporters that he is going to increase his consumption of alcohol and cigarettes, a boy tells a man that his father works in a bar, and we see men and women in multiple bar scenes throughout the movie. Throughout the film we see men and women smoking cigarettes almost constantly, boys of various young ages are seen smoking cigarettes, a man and a boy smoke cigarettes together and another man remarks that the man is "corrupting the youth," we see a man smoking cigarettes with three young boys, and a cartoon fish is seen smoking a cigarette.

DISCUSSION TOPICS - Nazi occupation of France, anti-Semitism, song writing, substance abuse, artistic inspiration, Dali, Klimt, Pygmalion, disappointment, depression, infidelity in marriage, seduction, death of a parent, ghosts, low self esteem.

MESSAGE - Life can lead to a lot of artistic inspiration.

Special Keywords: S8 - V3 - P5 - MPAANR

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