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Mystic River



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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

Three childhood friends Sean (Kevin Bacon), Jimmy (Sean Penn) and Dave (Tim Robbins) from a rough Boston neighborhood find themselves embroiled in a web of lies and secrets when Jimmy's 19-year-old daughter is found brutally murdered. The police investigation is led by Sean, but when it doesn't seem to be progressing, Jimmy gives the police a deadline to solve the case or he'll take matters into his own hands. Meanwhile, there's something decidedly strange about Dave's behavior. Also with Laura Linney, Marcia Gay Harden and Laurence Fishburne. Directed by Clint Eastwood. [2:17]

SEX/NUDITY 7 - A man sits in a car and a boy's head raises up from his lap (presumably performing oral sex). A man and a woman lie in bed together kissing and caressing each other. A young man and a young woman kiss a few times, a woman kisses a man's head and they kiss, and a man and a woman kiss. Allusions are made to a boy (11 years old) having been sexually molested by two men over a period of four days, and the grown man refers to it as "they had their fun." Three young women dance on a bar: one, wearing a short skirt, kicks her legs up and we see her bare thighs and the men in the bar admire them. A man makes a comment about a boy being "damaged goods." A man talks about child prostitution. A man and a woman sleep in bed together. A young woman kisses a man on the neck and nose (her father). We see a man in his underwear as he dresses. A woman wears a short top that reveals her bare back to the hips, and a woman wears dresses that reveal cleavage. There are several sexual remarks made: a man says to another man "she wants to bed you," and "she makes gay guys re-think their orientation."

VIOLENCE/GORE 8 - A man stabs a man in the stomach, he falls back on the ground with a bloody wound and the man shoots him in the head (we see a white flash). A man grabs a man out of a car and punches him in the head and face repeatedly (we see blood and broken teeth). A young man throws a boy over a table, grabs another boy and punches and kicks him in the face repeatedly (he has a very bloody chin, mouth and nose), he goes back to the first boy, shakes him and hits him. We see the dead body of a young woman in an abandoned bear cage (her leg is twisted and she has blood on her head and chest). We see a dead body on a table in a morgue, with skin tinged blue, and dried blood and bruises; a man identifies the body. We see a dead body on a table in a funeral home. A boy threatens a young man with a gun, he fires into the ceiling and is wrestled to the floor. A man talks about having shot a man twice. We see a car accident scene where the seats of a car glisten with blood and a man talks as if he caused the accident on purpose. We hear that a young woman was shot twice, that she has a split in her head and that she was beaten to death with a hockey stick. We hear that a man was found dead. Allusions are made to a boy (11 years old) having been sexually molested by two men over a period of four days. Also a man talks about having been kidnapped when he was a boy and abused for four days by two men. A man talks about having beaten someone possibly to death. A man yells at a boy and forces him into a car, we see the boy in a darkened room, a man comes in and the boy says "no more, please." A man has a bloody cut on his stomach, a badly bruised hand and blood on his hands. Three men fight with a crowd of police to get to a crime scene and one screams in grief and terror when he realizes who the victim is. A man talks about what is done to a body during an autopsy. Two men push forcefully through a crowd, shove a few people and make threats. A bloody bit of stocking is found. A man confronts a man and threatens him with a knife. A man threatens to kill someone. A man talks in a joking manner about a man with a steak knife in his chest. We see a bit of blood inside a car. Boys talk about doing mischief; stealing a car, writing in wet cement. A man shoves a boy against a wall. A young woman is startled when someone in the back seat of her car touches her. A man vomits twice (we hear splat and gagging). Two men are dubbed "The Savage Brothers" because they strong arm people.

PROFANITY 10 - 73 F-words and derivatives, 2 obscene hand gestures, 1 sexual reference, 16 scatological terms, 8 anatomical terms, 11 mild obscenities, 3 religious profanities, 18 religious exclamations. [profanity glossary]

DISCUSSION TOPICS - Pedophilia, child prostitution, sexual abuse, chemical dependence, revenge, weakness, remorse, friendship, death of a child, Adolf Hitler, death of a parent, death of a spouse, mental instability, road rage, inevitability, embezzlement.

MESSAGE - Taking the law into your own hands can have unpredictable results. We do what we have to for the people we love.

(Note: People are shown smoking cigarettes and drinking alcohol, sometimes to the point of inebriation.)

Special Keywords: S7 - V8 - P10 - 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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