A dysfunctional Hollywood family consists of a self-help guru (John Cusack), his wife (Olivia Williams) who manages their teen son's (Evan Bird) acting career after having already spent time in drug rehab, and their daughter (Mia Wasikowska), who's just been released from a psych ward. The daughter becomes the personal assistant to a dysfunctional actress (Julianne Moore) who is haunted by the ghost of her famous mother (Sarah Gadon). Also with Robert Pattinson, Carrie Fisher, Jayne Heitmeyer and Kiara Glasco. Directed by David Cronenberg. [1:51]
SEX/NUDITY 10 - A woman lies behind a man in bed as he thrusts into another woman with her back to him; all three are on their sides facing away from the camera with a blanket pulled up to the lower thighs (we see their buttocks and backs) and when the man stands and we see full frontal and rear nudity, including his penis; the man sits in a chair facing the camera, grasps his penis and masturbates, covering the head of the penis with his hand as he looks at the women as they embrace and kiss, revealing bare breasts; one woman gets up, covers herself with a sheet and runs to sit outside by the pool when the man appears at poolside and we see an extreme close-up of one of his buttocks and thighs as she says that she is not a good "dyke."
► A woman asks her driver if he had sex with her burn-scarred female assistant and if it was creepy, and he says no; she asks him if he would have sex with her "just for research" and he says he doesn't know; she asks if he can see her in his rearview mirror and he looks (we do not see the image) as we see her in the back seat with her upper arm moving and she pants slightly (masturbation implied); the woman asks, "Do you like my holes? Are they better than hers?" and he says yes; we then see the driver lying behind and on top of her in the back seat, thrusting (we see no flesh) as they breathe heavily and he sits up, then she sits up and pulls down her dress over her partially bare thighs and we see in a window of the house that her assistant watched them thrusting and the car bouncing; the first woman exits the car and the back of her dress is wet as she uses a scarf to reach up and wipe her groin as she crouches in the driveway (we see her lower thighs).
► A woman asks a limo driver on a date and he refuses, but meets her in a park on another evening when they lie on a brick ledge and kiss for several seconds as the scene ends (sex not implied). In a black and white movie, a woman wearing a thin-strapped knee-length dress rolls in the grass with a man and they kiss (we see part of one of her thighs); later as a ghost, the woman wears this dress and appears in a bathtub (the one thigh shows as she stands) and in a massage room while telling a woman that she lied about emotional and sexual abuse in childhood.
► A woman kneels and then lies face down on a mat while wearing her bra and panties as her male therapist (clothed) holds her hands behind her back or over her head and rubs her lower back and lower legs in two scenes (we see significant cleavage and buttocks); as the man does acupressure in her lower back an upper buttocks, she pants as if in sexual paroxysm.
► A woman wears several sheer tops with bra and panty sets that show through, revealing cleavage and body curves. A woman wears a long sheer dress over panties and bra and most of her breasts bulge out the top of the bra and dress neckline, jiggling as she runs and hops. A woman crying in a bathtub reveals frontal nudity from the waist up and we see her breasts and nipples. A woman having a head massage wears a long towel that bares only her shoulders and arms; she jumps from the table and twice, we see her bare back, buttocks and one thigh. A teen boy wears only knee-length sweat pants during a neck massage, rises form a table, and reveals bare shoulders, chest, abdomen and bare arms. At restaurants, many women wear very tight, short skirts that reveal nearly full bare legs to upper thighs. A few women wear tops with necklines that reveal some cleavage. A little girl with her back to the camera wears a conservative one-piece swimsuit and we see one bare arm and one partial thigh. A woman flatulates three times while sitting on a toilet, wipes herself with toilet tissue as we see the side of one bare buttock while she sits, and raises her panties under her dress as she rises.
► We hear that a husband and his wife are biological siblings, separated as kids and discovering their genetic relationship later; their teen daughter and young son had pretended to get married at home several times, after the daughter found the parents' birth information in a lockbox. A woman reports on a TV show that her mother physically and sexually abused her. A woman says about another actress that she would allow producers to have sex with her (using crude anatomical, sexual and scatological terms). A teen boy says that his penis (using a crude term) is long and coiled and oiled. A teen actress repeatedly states that other actresses are menopausal. A teen actress says that orderlies have sex with old women in nursing homes as a "mercy [sexual term deleted]." Sitting on a toilet with her panties around her knees and bare thighs exposed, a woman asks her female assistant if she is having sex with a man and if he ejaculated; the younger woman says no to both. A psychologist tells a couple that the bedroom is for love, not fighting, as the woman is seen crying and the man nods. A teen boy tells a male friend that he had sex with a girl, but he is lying and his friend laughs. A woman cries and tells her mother, who is dead, that she wants to kill her; later, the ghost of her mother says that she has ugly breasts and used up old holes. A woman and her teenage brother perform an impromptu wedding ceremony using their parents' wedding rings in a park (please see the Violence/Gore category for more details).
VIOLENCE/GORE 7 - A woman sits on a couch in woman's home as the woman berates her for being lazy; the first woman stands and we see a large spot of blood (from an earlier beating to the stomach) has soiled the couch; the second yells about the dirty, smelly girl having a period on an expensive couch until the first woman picks up a statue, hits the other woman in the head several times and we see the victim as she convulses, lies still, and becomes covered in blood; blood splatter covers the first woman's face as she continues to strike the second woman off-screen (we hear a few thuds of the strikes, and then the sound disappears and the scene ends).
► A man returns home to find his wife on fire at night outside near their pool; she is kneeling, writhing and screaming and we see her head become a skull as her body sinks into flames; the man kicks her over onto her side and pushes her into the swimming pool with a chaise lounge (self-immolation to escape depression is implied).
► A teen boy finds his father in a catatonic state and steals his wedding ring, then goes to his adult sister's house and they drive to a park where they take handfuls of pills from four large medication bottle, swallowing them with an energy drink and perform an impromptu wedding ceremony with their parents' wedding rings; they swallow a massive amount of the medication, lie down, look up and recite poetry together that includes the line, "On the stairs of Death I will write your name."
► A teen boy unloads a handgun he took from a friend at a gathering, points it under his own chin and to his temple, pulling the trigger each time with no result. He points it at a dog off-screen, fires and we hear the report of an actual bullet firing; the camera cuts to the dog, lying dead with a blood spot on his neck, as his owner cries and orders the boy out of the house.
► A woman's father gives her a large sum of cash and warns her to leave Los Angeles; she then visits her mother, who cries and when her father finds her there, he picks her up by the shoulders, shakes her, slams her to the floor, then punches her in the stomach four times, before the mother stops him; the father picks the daughter up by the shoulders and pushes her out the front door while the mother cries and sees that her ring finger is bloody and that her wedding ring is missing; she says that her daughter stole it. During a hallucination, a teen boy strangles his four-year-old male co-star, who had transformed into a dead girl's ghost (the little boy is said to survive).
► A teen actor visits a little girl who has non-Hodgkin's lymphoma in the hospital (we hear the girl later dies) with IV lines in both arms; he asks her how she got AIDS and she says she does not have AIDS, and later the boy berates his driver for not having accurate information, shouting and calling him abusive names. A married couple argue over their children's lives. A teen boy argues with a female reporter whom he is trying to avoid. Two teen boys argue. A woman argues with the ghost of her mother. A woman reports to an actress that another actress' little boy died and the second actress is in the hospital. A teen boy tells his adult sister, "If you hurt me, I'll kill you." In an old movie scene two large orderlies grab a woman and drag her away down a sanitarium hallway. We hear that an actress died in a fire of unknown origin. A woman takes a job as a personal assistant to an aging female Hollywood has-been plagued by thoughts of her own abusive childhood. A woman says that she and another woman are dual-diagnoses (have multiple mental disorders). A woman asks a therapist if she is a multiple-personality and he says no. A woman hallucinates images and ghosts of her mother several times.
► A woman has significant scar tissue across her left cheek, throat, middle back and lower forearms that she covers with long gloves; her parents shun her, because of her burns and her psychological treatment for schizophrenia; we hear that she lit a fire in her parent's house while they were asleep, after forcing her brother to swallow a handful of psychotropic pills to sleep or possibly to die.
► A teen boy sees the ghost of a dead girl and we see her wearing a below-the knee dress that reveals black cracks all over the lower legs and feet and her arms and hands are covered with tiny tattoos of moons and designs. A famous female movie star who died in a fire appears as a ghost to her aging daughter in a few scenes; she wears the same white dress as in her famous black and white movie. On a movie set, a teen boy sees the ghost of a dead girl that he visited in a hospital. A teen boy sees the ghost of a little boy and a little girl dive into his swimming pool and disappear. A woman throws her cell phone hard onto a brick patio, screams very loudly, and then cries.
► A woman sitting on a toilet passes gas loudly twice, asks her assistant for a laxative, and says, "It stinks in here"; she does not wash her hands before leaving the bathroom. A teen boy tells another teen boy that someone collects his defecation and diarrhea. In a trailer, a little boy stands at a urinal, but we see and hear nothing; the camera cuts away and back, and we see a little girl wearing a long dress at the urinal with her back to the camera and not using the urinal. A teen boy runs to a urinal at home and vomits yellow-white material into the bowl, retching loudly.
PROFANITY 9 - About 48 F-words and its derivatives, 18 scatological terms, 14 anatomical terms, 3 mild obscenities, name-calling (crazy, insane, idiot, stupid, monster, weird, strange, psychotic, liar, freak, dope fiends, dyke, jerk, creepy, pig, whore, faggot, queer, rabbi, reckless, homicidal, pathetic, jail-bait [a 13-year-old boy calls a four-year-old boy this in anger for "stealing his scenes" in a movie and the sexual connotation may not have been intended], old man, snake pit, psychetron, suckerfish, Scarface, Arnold Kubler Ross, Jew, Jim Carey), stereotypical references to men, women, people with mental illnesses, child actors, aging actresses, acting managers, directors, producers, TV talk show hosts, reporters, stage mothers, abused children, ghosts, TV psychologists, hillbillies, Jews, Whites, gays, exclamations (shut-up), 21 religious exclamations (Oh M God, Oh God, Holy [scatological term deleted], For Christ's Sake, God, Thank God, You Are Consecrated To Me). [profanity glossary]
SUBSTANCE USE - A woman has five types of prescription medications in large bottles and we see her swallow a dozen pills with water, a woman pours a few bottles of pills down a toilet and flushes it, we hear that a woman administered many pills to her young brother and that he survived the overdose, a 13-year-old actor just out of drug rehab breaks his sobriety and uses GHB from a female friend to get high and shoots a friend's dog (please see the Violence/Gore category for more details), a teen boy and his adult sister commit suicide by swallowing a large number of her anti-psychotic pills (please see the Violence/Gore category for more details), a woman says that her housekeeper stole Vicodin from her, a woman tells her assistant to pick up her prescriptions ( Vicodin, Zoloft and Ambien, along with vitamins, a laxative, and herbs), a woman says that Vicodin makes her constipated, a woman cries about cramps and swallows a Vicodin with water, the ghost/hallucination of a woman's dead mother appears and tells her that she has narcotic childhood abuse fantasies, and a teenager tells his father that he takes no drugs not even TheraFlu. A teen boy drinks several cans of an energy drink throughout the film, three under age teenagers drink mixed cocktails and one of them drinks whiskey as well while adult men and women drink various cocktails in the blurry background, three teens drink whiskey or mixed cocktails in a home, a woman at lunch with her son drinks wine and tells him he must have a drug test to get a part in a new film (he drinks an energy drink), a woman in a restaurant drinks a martini and a man drinks a short glass of whiskey while other men and women hold drinks in a fuzzy background. A man and a woman smoke a pipe and cigarettes respectively at home in a living room and their bedroom.
DISCUSSION TOPICS - Incest, family secrets, severe mental disorders (SMDs), aging, competition in Hollywood, drug abuse, underage drinking, suicide, fire setting as a manifestation/result of child abuse, glamour, gossip, power, acting as a profession, TV psychologists.
MESSAGE - Hollywood can be a dangerous place with deeply troubled denizens.