A philosophy professor (Joaquin Phoenix) struggles to cure his job burnout with a move to a small Northeastern college. When he chooses to become involved with a student (Emma Stone) instead of an unhappily married professor (Parker Posey) who is pursuing him, he feels renewed. Also with Jamie Blackley. Directed by Woody Allen. [1:35]
SEX/NUDITY 6 - A sex scene shot from the middle-upper arm and up (we see the upper chest of both people in profile) shows a man and a woman apparently seated, face to face, bouncing up and down, panting, gasping and groaning as they sweat (the camera cuts away).
► A younger woman tells an older man in three scenes that she wants to have a relationship with him and he says no each time until she says she wants to come over to his house instead of eating in a restaurant where they are sitting and the camera cuts to a bedroom, where the couple is seen under covers in a bed and she says, "I love making love with you" then they kiss three times for a few seconds each time and the scene ends.
► A woman tells a man in his house that he is going to sleep with her and she then asks if he is infatuated with a female student at the local college; he says no, and she kisses him passionately as the camera cuts away and then later returns to the man and the woman under covers in a bed (we see his bare chest); she is lying with her chest and abdomen against his back under covers, with a hand on his shoulder and he apologizes and says that he has not been able to perform for a year and she suggests that he see a doctor she knows (please see the Substance Use category for more details) for the problem and the scene ends.
► A woman kisses a man on the lips three times in a close-up. A young couple tell each other, "I love you" and they hug briefly.
► A man states that much of philosophy is only verbal masturbation; people around him in a classroom do not react. A male narrator states that having a sexual affair with a woman allowed him to overcome writer's block. A female professor remarks to a small group of professors and students that a new male professor at their college has a reputation for having sex with female students. A female student asks a male professor if he is very experienced with women and he tells her yes, because the orgasm is a good painkiller, but also that the pain relief effect wears off, finally disappears, and one-night stands become no good. A woman tells her adult daughter not to become too close to a male professor in a romantic way and she replies that she loves her boyfriend. A woman tells her boyfriend that she loves both him and a male professor and cannot commit to one person; her boyfriend breaks up with her. A woman meets a male friend on a college campus and says he is showing more energy today, then asks, "Is it a wet dream or a religious epiphany?" and he says it is neither. A woman tells a man, "You know I'm in love with you" and he says that she is not in love, but in love with the romantic notion of love. A man and a woman shout at each other about not having sex; he wants to be friends and not sex partners. A woman breaks up with her husband, he tries to talk her out of it, and she says no. In several scenes, a woman tells female friends that she wants a male friend to take her away to Spain. A man tells a woman that in his younger years, passions of love and lust were irresistible. A woman tells a younger woman that a man they both have a crush on had a post-passion conversation with her, implying that they had sex and the younger woman only smiles.
► Several summer college-campus scenes feature dozens of college-aged women wearing tops with V-necks that reveal cleavage and a few bare midriffs. Many women wear short skirts. In a scene of a struggle with a man (please see the Violence/Gore category for more details), a close-up features a woman's dress rising above the thighs to reveal several flashes of panties. A woman wears a crop top that bares her abdomen and is lacy material that shows some skin and small portions of a neutral color bra. Two scenes of male and female joggers feature men and women in short sleeved tops; a few women reveal a little cleavage. A man rises from bed at night wearing baggy boxer shorts and we see his buttock cleavage, his bare back and chest, abdomen and navel.
VIOLENCE/GORE 5 - A man disables an elevator car, then a woman walks out of a studio on an upper floor and finds him standing in the hallway where they talk; he grabs her around the throat from behind and tries to throw her down an empty elevator shaft, they struggle violently, she gasps and grunts, and in close-up, her short dress rises to reveal bare thighs and legs thrashing strongly; she breaks free, he falls backwards down the shaft and we hear a loud thud.
► A man steals a chemistry-lab door key and enters the room where we see dozens of bottles of clear liquids, some chemicals and plastic bottles; the man pours some white powder from a jar into a smaller jar and puts the smaller container into his pocket, and then later pours some of the chemical into a cup, takes the cup to a park, sits on a bench beside another man and when the second man looks away, switches cups with the second man; later that day, a radio announcement reports that a man died in a park.
► At a college party, a male student takes a pistol out of his closet and mentions Russian Roulette; he removes all the bullets and a female student asks what Russia Roulette is as a male professor at the party takes the gun, loads in one bullet, spins the cylinder, points the gun at his temple, and pulls the trigger (we hear a click, but no shot discharges) causing others to gasp; he spins the cylinder again and points the gun at his head as the students shout angrily at him, and a male student takes away the gun.
► A college-aged man and his girlfriend argue in several scenes and she states three times that she cannot be committed to one person long term. A woman argues with an older man in a few scenes, raising her voice and screaming for a few seconds in these scenes.
► A male professor tells a student that real life is nasty and ugly and includes hate and genocide. He adds that people go through life in ignorance, with misinformation and apathy. In a beach scene in which a man stands and looks at the ocean alone, his voice narrates that he has considered suicide by drowning. A woman says to friends that romantics think that suicide is romantic. Outside a diner, a man hyperventilates, leaves his female friend and says that he must go home; he hyperventilates for several steps in close-up as he walks away and later, says that planning a murder made him feel alive. In a diner booth where two couples sit, one of the women cries and states that a family court judge is going to give custody of her children to her ex-husband, because the judge is a friend of the ex's attorney; she says that she hopes the judge gets cancer and a man's voiceover narration says that he will kill the judge to help the woman. Discussing mystery novels and a murder in the news, a man says that he always thinks of cyanide, because it is fast acting, whereas arsenic is slower and painful; a woman says she always hears that poisoning is by arsenic in news reports of murder and a man says that he would use a gun or run over the victim with a car. A man tells a woman that he is a murderer and says, "I eliminated a cancer. I had a sense of accomplishment." A man says that a murder was the meaningful act for which he had been searching and a woman raises her voice, screams and cries at him, then tells him to move away from town. A woman tells a man that he should turn himself into the police or she will report him and he agrees. A woman breaks into a man's house through an open window and looks at papers on his desk, and then leaves; she sees notes about a man who died in a park and about a philosopher who wrote that some killings are moral, because the world is a better place without the victim. A woman tells a man that a recent judge's death was from a heart attack caused by cyanide poisoning and later another woman tells the first woman that a man they both have a crush on committed the murder. We hear that an innocent man was arrested for a murder. A woman stands on a beach and we see her staring at the ocean while a voiceover says that she was close to death for one terrifying moment. We hear that a male college student suffered from the shingles. A man tells a woman that he has suffered from erectile dysfunction for a year (please see the Sex/Nudity category for more details). A man tells a woman that he had an MRI done, but nothing serious was found (he does not mention a condition). A woman tells another woman that a man was depressed when his wife left him; the second woman states that the man witnessed a beheading in Iraq. A woman asks a man if he saw a beheading in Iraq and he says no, but he was close to a bomb explosion. A man tells a woman that he stepped on a land mine in Iraq, but we do not see an injury. A man says that in traveling the world to help others, he caught meningitis. A woman tells a man that another man's mother committed suicide by drinking bleach when the second man was 12 years old. A woman tells her boyfriend that she is achy and may have the flu. A radio announcer states that authorities found a man dead in a local park, having had his second heart attack.
PROFANITY 5 - About 5 F-words, 8 scatological terms, 5 mild obscenities, name-calling (stupid, crazy, nuts, crackpot, middle-class, self-destructive), 15 religious exclamations (e.g. Oh My God, God, Oh God, My God, Jesus). [profanity glossary]
SUBSTANCE USE - A woman invites a man home for "great grass" but he declines, three female college students light and puff a small marijuana pipe (we do not see the drug), a female professor says that the addition of a new male professor to the college put Viagra into the philosophy department, a woman asks a man if he took his Cialis and he replies that he did but that it did not work, a woman swallows two aspirin tablets with a glass of water, and a man takes an aspirin with a glass of unknown liquid at a desk. A man drinks from a flask while driving and we hear it contains single-malt Scotch, a man offers a flask to a woman and she laughs and declines (he drinks), a man offers a flask to a college aged woman and she declines (he drinks), a man brings out a flask at a beach and drinks, a man has a short glass of Scotch on the dining room table (he does not drink), a woman brings a bottle of Scotch to a man's door and he invites her in where he pours Scotch into two short glasses and the man and woman drink, a man gets up from bed and pours and drinks a short glass of Scotch, a glass of wine is seen in a painting, glasses of wine are seen on a table and a woman sips from her glass, a woman at a cocktail reception orders a martini and a man orders a scotch while others around them drink short and tall glasses of alcoholic beverages, men and women at a college party drink from cups of beer, men and women at a piano recital carry and drink from cups of punch (they may or may not contain alcohol), men in a bar scene sit at the bar with glasses of beer (one drinks) and men sit at a table with short glasses of amber liquid in front of them, a waiter in a restaurant brings a man and a woman two large martinis and the woman drinks, two glasses of dark liquid are shown near a pool table in a pool hall bar, two women art a bar drink scotch and wine and men at the corner of the bar sit in front of glasses of beer, and a male professor tells a female student that Emily Dickenson wrote about the inebriate of the air (about someone intoxicated by only air).
DISCUSSION TOPICS - Philosophy, sense of purpose, "moral murder," job burnout, mental illness, grandiose ideas, relationships, love, fidelity, infatuation, suicide, responsibility, murder, death, lies and gossip, consequences, unexpected results, poetic justice.
MESSAGE - Seek professional help for job burnout and depression before they become dangerous conditions.