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Into the Wild [2007] [R] - 8.6.6



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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 true story of Christopher McCandless, a 22-year-old man who having grown tired of his dysfunctional family, decides to disappear on a cross-country trek from West Virginia to Alaska. Finally he surrenders himself to the wilderness, seeking freedom and simplicity, but also discovers that nature's beauty hides many dangers. With Emile Hirsch, Marcia Gay Harden, William Hurt, Hal Holbrook and Catherine Keener. Directed by Sean Penn. [2:20]

SEX/NUDITY 8 - We see many nude men and women in a nudist camp (bare breasts, buttocks, genitals and pubic regions are visible). A young woman swimming in a river gets out and removes her top (her bare breasts are seen in an extended scene), and she leans over to kiss a young man on the cheek (they have just met and he seems uncomfortable briefly). A nude young man floats in water (we see bare chest and genitals).
 A man and a woman have sex: we see them sweaty and her bare shoulders are visible while she briefly thrusts on top of him.
 A teenage girl wearing a tank top and panties lies on a bed and invites a 23-year-old man to join her; he declines because she is only 16 years old.
 A young man and an older woman take off their clothes and swim in the sea (we see the young man's bare chest and jockey shorts and the woman's panties and tank top); there is nothing sexual implied. Women wear low-cut tops that reveal cleavage in several scenes.
 We hear romantic noises coming from a tent (murmuring and giggling) and it is implied that a man and a woman have sex.
 Men and women are shown dancing together in a bar scene. A young man and a teenage girl look at each other with interest in several scenes.
 A young man and a young woman kiss a couple of times. A man and a woman hug. A young man and a teenage girl hug.
 A man says, "If I want some vagina, I'll get some." A man says, "In every man's heart there is a Mexican mistress." A man makes a remark about a teenage girl being "ready to launch herself onto a fence post." A woman slaps a man in the face, presumably after he makes an unwelcome overture.

VIOLENCE/GORE 6 - A young man dies of starvation and exposure: we see him looking very pale and quivering as he takes his last breath. A young man is poisoned by a plant that he eats (we see him ashen and writhing in pain but he survives).
 A young man is punched hard in the face by another man, a dog barks viciously, the young man is thrown on the ground, kicked hard in the stomach several times, and we see him with a bloody mouth and nose and a swollen eye. A woman slaps a man in the face, presumably after he makes an unwelcome overture.
 A young man prepares to shoot a moose, shoots several times, the moose lies dead, and the young man begins to cut the carcass apart (we see him covered with blood) and he carries the severed head, an organ, a leg, etc.; we then see maggots on one piece of the meat as he is trying to cook it, and then see it covered with many more maggots (later wolves and birds eat what's left).
 A young man shoots and kills a squirrel (this happens twice): we see the animal skinned (slightly bloody) and skewered on a stick while the young man cooks it (the second time we see the young man eating and see the squirrel's teeth and head). A young man prepares a bird to eat it (we see him pulling off feathers and it looks like its head is missing.
 A young man with a gun takes aim at a Caribou but does not shoot when he sees a young Caribou nearby.
 A bear walks past a young man who stands very still, the bear snorts and sniffs the young man and then continues to walk away.
 A young man parks his car in a ravine, falls asleep in it and is awakened by a flash flood washing over the car (he is unharmed). A young man falls into a raging river and is nearly pulled away by the force of the current (he gets out and he's OK). A young man in a kayak paddles down a raging river and survives. A young man in a kayak is chased down a river by the river patrol, he is not caught and we see him dragging his kayak up a steep mountain to get away. A young man jumps onto a moving train and climbs into an empty car.
 We see a few newsreel footage clips of people being beaten by police with sticks and others suffering from starvation and malnutrition. A young man is shown losing weight as the film progresses. A woman wakes up in a panic after she thinks that she hears her son's voice (he has been gone for over a year).
 A man talks about his wife and son having been killed by a drunk driver and that he become an alcoholic to try to ease the pain. We hear that a husband and wife would fight and argue bitterly and see a couple of scenes where they yell at each other, the man shoves the woman onto a sofa and straddles her, she swipes at him while yelling and two young children watch the scene unfold. We hear that a husband and wife planned to separate and divorce and they asked their children to choose with which parent each would like to go. A young man talks about surviving in a cave after a large sandstorm. A woman talks about the grief she felt when her son left and stopped communicating with her. A young man talks about his parents doing bad things and doing bad things to children (the "bad things" are never specified). We hear that a young boy wandered away from home at 3 AM and into a neighbor's house.
 Many FBI agents speed toward a man and arrest him (it is unclear why); we then see him handcuffed and placed into a car.
 A man teaches a young man how to kill, prepare and preserve meat in the wild and talks about keeping the flies off or maggots will develop and then it's too late.
 A man urinates on the ground (we see a stream and hear the trickle). We see many people lined up at a homeless mission in a large city.

PROFANITY 6 - 13 F-words, 5 scatological terms, 2 anatomical terms, 10 mild obscenities, name-calling (crazy, dope smokers), 2 religious profanities, 6 religious exclamations. [profanity glossary]

SUBSTANCE USE - A woman twice smokes a cigarette that could be marijuana but it is unclear. People drink alcohol in a bar, a man and a woman drink wine at a restaurant, and people drink alcohol and smoke cigarettes in a bar scene. A man smokes a cigar.

DISCUSSION TOPICS - Adventure, changing your life, absolute freedom, breaking away, arrogance, Apartheid, the truth of one's existence, illusion of power, love, rebellion, anger, nature, fear of water, death of loved ones, human relationships and interaction, forgiveness, alcoholism, hippies, parent/child relationships, truth, homelessness, separation and divorce, guilt, pain, anguish, sick society, judging, hypocrites, infidelity, genius, children out of wedlock.

MESSAGE - Trying to live off the land in the wilderness, all alone and without any way of communicating and asking for help, is foolhardy.

Special Keywords: S8 - V6 - P6 - 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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