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Ghost World



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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 cynical young woman (Thora Birch) disappointed with life's choices and the people she meets, plays a practical joke on a reclusive man (Steve Buscemi) who lives only for his collection of classic 78s records. The joke has unexpected results, since it brings the two lonely souls together. Also with Scarlett Johansson, Brad Renfro, Illeana Douglas, Bob Balaban, Stacey Travis, Charles C. Stevenson Jr., Dave Sheridan and Tom McGowan. [1:51]

SEX/NUDITY 5 - A young woman and man kiss and lie back on a bed; we cut to the couple in bed covered by a blanket presumably after having had sex. A man and woman kiss hello a couple of times. A woman in a tight top exposes her substantial cleavage. A young woman and man go into an adult book and video store; we see some of the paraphernalia and magazine covers which show large breasted women. Two young women talk about sexual frustration and masturbation. We see a bare-chested man, and we see young women in halter tops and hip huggers and exposed midriffs dancing onstage. Young women are seen throughout the film wearing mini skirts and tight-fitting tops. Women in fringed dresses are shown dancing on TV and a young woman imitates them, and a woman in a tight-fitting knit dress dances in front of a man. A man ogles a woman as she walks away. We see several rendered posters of buxom women in bikinis. A man makes a reference to Greeks having invented homosexuality. Two young women hold hands in friendship.

VIOLENCE/GORE 3 - A man threatens a man with a gun. A man with nunchuks fights with a man with a mop. A man is grabbed around the neck from behind by a man with nunchuks. A man tries to trash a grocery store (we see him having had success at the end of the credits). A grocery store owner yells abusively at his employee, as well as customers, repeatedly. A comment is made about Satanists sacrificing virgins. A young woman in a head-brace and wheelchair talks about an accident caused by her use of drugs and alcohol. A short film is shown in a class which depicts a baby doll falling in pieces into a sink. There is a sketch of a child stabbing a woman in the back, a drawing of a man hammering another man's head with blood spraying, a stuffed mongoose with a snake wrapped around it, and we hear a man talking about the best way to get the flesh off a corpse. A man passes gas in mid-conversation.

PROFANITY 7 - 24 F-words, 4 scatological terms, 8 sexual references, 13 anatomical terms, 16 mild obscenities, 1 religious profanity, 29 religious exclamations, several racist terms and insults. [profanity glossary]

DISCUSSION TOPICS - Relationships, obsessive collectors, date rape, AIDS, Satanism, racism and anti-Semitism, psychotherapy, sexual frustration, single parenting, eccentricities, censorship.

MESSAGE - People change; friendships change.

(Note: There is a discussion about how racism has changed over the years, and how it has not gone away but instead people have become better at hiding it. A young man refers to two young women as "a Jew and her Arian friend" and he makes several other racist remarks.)

Special Keywords: S5 - V3 - 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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