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Kill Your Darlings [2013] [R] - 7.6.5



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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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The great poets of the Beat Generation, Allen Ginsberg (Daniel Radcliff), Jack Kerouac (Jack Huston) and William Burroughs (Ben Foster), are friends whose relationship is tested by a murder. Also with David Cross, Michael C. Hall, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Elizabeth Olsen and Dane DeHaan. Directed by John Krokidas. [1:44]

SEX/NUDITY 7 - During an extended scene, we see the progression of a young man and a man kissing briefly, then undressing and then having sex: we see the young man's bare buttocks as he lies down on the bed, then flips over and we see his bare chest as the man climbs on top of him; the young man's legs are shown around the man's shoulders as they have sex (we see the man's bare back and buttocks as he thrusts) and they kiss passionately as they have sex.
 We see a young man's bare buttocks as he sits at a desk masturbating (we see his back and bare buttocks) and his arm is seen moving rapidly; we see multiple cuts of this scene, implying that the young man masturbated multiple times in the same day.
 A young woman lifts up her sweater to show a young man her bra as she reaches to unzip the young man's pants; the young man shies away, the young woman reacts and covers her chest with a sweater, the young man relents and then allows the young woman to unzip his pants and she performs oral sex on him; the young woman drops to her knees and a second young man approaches, unbeknownst to the young woman, and watches (we see the young man; the young woman is out of view and we hear the young man moan sexually and it is implied that he climaxes as he makes eye contact with the second young man).
 We see a man pulling a book from a box marked "pornographic" and we later see the books in a glass display with drawings of genitals, a man and a woman having sex, a picture of a small ceramic of a man and a woman having sex and male genitalia displayed as a flower; several young men look at the drawings and laugh, and a woman sees the drawings and becomes very upset. We see an abstract painting of a woman's bare breasts.
 A young man discovers another young man in his bed (the young man is wearing boxer-style underwear and a tank top), and the young man climbs in after stripping down to boxers and a T-shirt (no sex is implied). We see a shirtless young man in a body of water (his bare chest is visible). We see two young men wearing boxer-style underwear and shirts. We see a young man wearing boxers and a sweater, and later wearing boxer-style underwear and a tank top (bare shoulders and legs are seen). We see a young man and a man wearing boxer-style underwear and T-shirts (bare legs are visible).
 A young man rests his head on another young man's chest, he caresses his face and they kiss briefly, then pull away, and then kiss again, passionately; they are interrupted when a man shouts for their attention. We see a young man and a young woman kissing and the young woman rubs her hand on the young man's face. A young man grabs a young woman's face and kisses her deeply, and then walks away; a second young man asks the young man if he knows the young woman, and the young man jokes that he does not. A man kisses a young woman. A man kisses a young woman's arm.
 During a drug-induced hallucination, a young man imagines a woman kissing a man passionately while sitting on his lap. A young man puts his head on another young man's lap as he imagines the young man on his lap sucking his fingers after he gingerly touches his lips and runs his hands over the young man's face.
 We see two men being arrested in a bar then lead away in handcuffs by the police; a man tells two young men and another man that the two men had been arrested for being "perverts" (implying that they had been arrested for homosexual acts). A young man is implied to be in a sexual relationship with a man and we see the man begging the young man to pay attention to him.
 A man gingerly touches the shoulders of a young man while another young man watching notices that the man is obviously touching the young man as a part of his attraction. Two young men hold hands through prison bars.
 A young woman makes a crude remark to a man in front of two young men, saying that the man would have sex with her but will not marry her, then makes another crude remark about the man liking her mouth "wide open." A young man recites a crude poem in front of several young men and women until a woman tells the young man to stop and we see the young man holding a lamp at his crotch to pantomime an erection; the young man runs away, chased by the woman. In front of crowded room, a man makes a remark about "self abuse" and teases a young woman; the young woman blushes and implies that she practices masturbation. A young man remarks that a person going to a dance is "catnip for the skirts" (young women). A young man makes a crude remark about a place being for homosexuals.

VIOLENCE/GORE 6 - We see the following scene on multiple occasions in varying detail: A young man holds out a knife and a man pushes himself into it; the young man pulls back the knife in shock (blood is seen on the knife), and then stabs the man in the stomach and chest five more times; the man collapses to the ground with blood pouring from wounds on his chest as the young man ties the man's hands and carries him to a body of water, where he holds the man until slowly dropping his body into the water; during one instance of this scene, a man's voiceover explains that the man was not dead when he was lowered into the water, but drowned because the young man had placed rocks in his pockets. A young man is seen holding the body of a man that appears to be dead in a body of water; the young man has scrapes on his chest and a bloody cut on his cheek.
 A young man puts the blade of a knife in a second young man's clutched fist, then pulls it up and the young man yelps in pain (we see a large cut and blood on the second young man's palm); the young man then repeats the action on himself (we see his palm cut and bloodied) and the two young men hold their bloodied hands against one another's.
 A young man enters a room where his mother is clutching her hand, and we see blood on her chest and a broken window; the woman appears to be mentally ill and as the young man wraps her hand she tells him that his father had nailed shut the windows of her room; the young man explains that he had closed the windows for the woman's safety.
 A young man wraps a noose made from bed sheets around his neck and ties it to a prison cell bar, he lets his legs go slack and we see him struggle momentarily, the bed sheet comes undone and he falls to the ground, gagging (he is unharmed). We see two young men with nooses around their necks and the rope hanging from a pipe on the ceiling; the two young men joke and push one another, knocking over the stools under their feet and they begin to choke and hang until the pipe breaks and they fall to the ground unharmed; the two laugh and it is apparent they were not seriously trying to take their own lives; we later see a flashback of the two young man dropping and the rope on their nooses going taunt.
 We hear the sound of a cat struggling (meowing loudly) and a man discovers the cat inside an oven with the gas turned on; the man releases the cat from the oven, holding it and we see that the cat is unharmed, but the man is obviously upset and holds it to his chest as a young man tells the man that he knows who had purposely put the cat in the oven to die.
 A man grabs a young woman and shoves her; the young woman shoves the man away and shouts at the man to leave. A young man shoves a man angrily until another young man breaks them apart. A man slaps a young man (his son). A man throws a football at a young man's head, knocks a painting off a wall and onto the young man's head. A young man grabs a piece of paper from a young man, ripping it from his hands. A man angrily storms out of a bar and he spins past a woman, bumping into her (the woman is unharmed). An obviously mentally unstable woman is seen being lead by doctors and she tries to protest (she appears to be heavily sedated) while a young man (the woman's son) is upset as he watches his mother lead away. A young man is seen in handcuffs. A man is lead away in handcuffs. During a drug-fueled hallucination, a young man imagines a man's finger catching on fire (the man is unharmed).
 A man threatens another man. We see a man shouting at a young man (his son); we hear no shouting, only loud instrumental music playing. A man shouts at two young women and a man, and one of the young women stand up and runs off. A young man shouts at two young men. A young man shouts at another young man. A young man shouts angrily at his mother and a man. Two young men shout at one another. A young man shouts at a man that he had been dragged into the man's "perverted mess."
 A young man asks another young man to help him write his defense for a murder charge for killing a man and we see the young man reading a defense writ that describes murdering someone because the victim was a known homosexual trying to come onto a non-homosexual and the non-homosexual killed the homosexual in self defense; we then hear a voiceover explaining that a man had also been arrested in association with a young man murdering a man because he had advised that the young man drop the knife used in the murder in a gutter (we see the young man drop the bloodied knife). A young man discusses a note that he discovered which states that a young man had tried to commit suicide by poison gas. A young man tells his mother that his friend was in jail for killing a man. A young man tells another young man that he believes the young man is Jewish, then adds that he is "getting good at telling." We see a title card at the end of the movie explaining that a man had been released from prison on bail after being arrested in connection with a young man murdering a man. We see a title card explaining that a young man had served 18 months in jail for murdering a man. An obviously mentally unstable woman tells a young man (her son) that her husband is trying to "get inside her head." An obviously mentally unstable woman tells a young man (her son) that she would have died alone in her home. A young man tells another young man in a half-joking manner that they could "get rid of" a man that was interested in the young man. A young man jokes with another young man, saying that he should "kill him" in reference to a man that would not leave him alone. A man tells two young men and a man that a group of people had found a name for their group by "stabbing" a person. A man and young woman listen to a record with a voice recording of a man discussing how he had been at war and "bombed at" for days; a man and a young woman listen to a second record with a man's voice explaining that he is dying slowly and we hear the pain in his voice as he explains that he is "rotting from the inside." We hear a radio announcer discussing how a country had "carpet bombed" another country. We see newspaper headlines on two occasions which read that a young man had murdered a man.
 Two men and two young men break into a library and replace books on display with books deemed "pornographic"; we see two police officers rush into the room and chase them; they narrowly escape unharmed. A man and two young men steal a boat from a dock and they are caught by a police boat; we later see the two young men being questioned by their university chancellor (no one is harmed).
 A man puts himself in a barrel, a young man kicks the barrel and it rolls down a small hill and crashes against a fence; the man gets out of the barrel and vomits (we see the vomit spray from his mouth and hear the sounds of vomiting). A young man takes a piece of chewed-up gum out of his mouth and puts it in another young man's hand.

PROFANITY 5 - About 8 F-words and its derivatives, 2 sexual references, 6 scatological terms, 2 anatomical terms, 11 mild obscenities, 1 derogatory racial term, 4 derogatory terms for homosexuals, name-calling (Lord of the Fairies, only the most antisocial, crazy [mild obscenity deleted], smells like poor decisions and domestic cigarettes, criminal, darlings and vermicides, un-bloomed stalwart, kid, perverts, squares, finks, traitor, phony, pathetic), 4 religious profanities (GD), 5 religious exclamations (e.g. Christ, Jesus, Oh My God, Thank God, God Forsaken). [profanity glossary]

SUBSTANCE USE - Throughout the movie we see men and young men using drugs, we see men and young men drinking tea laced with drugs, a man is shown using a syringe to inject drugs, a man is seen feeding a young man drugs, young men use gas masks to ingest nitrous oxide a man who is obviously intoxicated is shown in a bathtub ingesting nitrous oxide from a gas mask, a man rattles off a series of serious side effects from taking a drug, a young man takes a drug and we see him in a drug-induced stupor (we see him cycling his feet in the air rapidly as he lays on a bed and he claims that he was "writing"), a young man smokes a marijuana cigarette, and a young man offers a young man a marijuana cigarette and he turns it down saying that he does not smoke marijuana. Men and young men drink hard liquor and beer throughout the movie (on multiple occasions to the point of obvious intoxication, including one young man stumbling to the ground from intoxication), we see multiple bar scenes where men and women have alcoholic drinks in their hands and are drinking, a man offers a young man a drink of liquor and the young man turns it down saying that he does not drink, a man drinks liquor directly from a bottle, a young man is seen drinking from a bottle of alcohol while walking through a park, and a young man is shown drinking from a flask on two occasions. We see young men smoking cigarettes throughout the movie and a woman is seen smoking.

DISCUSSION TOPICS - Murder, revenge, friendships, WWII, poets, beat-lifestyle, Allen Ginsberg, Jack Kerouac, William Burroughs, homosexuality being illegal, excessive drug use.

MESSAGE - The bonds of friendship can be very strong. Writers can be very complicated people.

Special Keywords: S7 - V6 - P5 - 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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