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Nobel Son [2008] [R] - 8.7.7



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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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» IMDb Listing

Black comedy with Alan Rickman as a womanizing professor who wins the Nobel Prize for Chemistry. However, his gloating is short-lived when he and his wife (Mary Steenburgen) learn of their son's (Bryan Greenberg) kidnapping. Also with Bill Pullman, Danny DeVito, Eliza Dushku, Ted Danson, Shawn Hatosy, Ernie Hudson, Tracey Walter, Lindy Booth and Kevin West. Directed by Randall Miller. [1:15]

SEX/NUDITY 8 - An older, married professor is seen having sex with a young woman, who's his student, on a desk: the man breaths heavily and says crude things (there is no nudity but we see her legs wrapped around him and her bra reveals slight cleavage, bare shoulders and back), and then the two get dressed.
 A woman invites a man back to her apartment, she grabs him and they kiss, she removes his coat, they kiss again (we see a tongue), the woman pushes the man onto a mattress, she removes her dress (we see her bare back and bare buttocks in thong underwear), he kisses her while touching her buttocks, and they move to the mattress where we see quickly cut scenes of them kissing and caressing while on top of one another. A man carries a woman in his arms (we see bare shoulders, chest and arms).
 A man receives a package containing what appears to be a severed breast (it seems real, has a nipple with parsley around it, and cooking instructions). A man gets out of bed and stands completely nude on a rooftop (we see his bare chest, back, and bare) and two men are watching from a neighboring rooftop cheer (he covers his crotch area). A woman's cleavage is shown in multiple scenes. A man is seen bare-chested with a towel wrapped around his waist. A woman comes out of a bathroom with wet hair and wearing a robe (we see her bare legs). A man sits in tight boxer shorts. The camera focuses on a young woman's buttocks in tight jeans.
 A professor flirts with one of his female students. A man presses against a flight attendant. A woman kisses a man on the lips. A woman writhes in a chair while she talks about a man and unsnaps the bottom of her dress (we see her bare thighs). A woman lies on top of a man in a park telling him she wants to have sex with him badly (she uses a crude term).
 A man places a device into a life size Santa Claus that makes it speak, using a male voice, and it yells various expletives at people in a mall, including sexual references directed at women, requests for oral sex and references to having an erection; it also uses crude terms for penis, buttocks, and sexual intercourse.
 An older, married man and a young woman stand close to one another at a party removed from the crowd and the woman threatens to tell people about their affair; the man runs his hand along the woman's breast and upwards onto her shoulder where he removes her sweater (there is no nudity) and he remarks, "I'd like to tear the clothes of your gorgeous little body." A woman talks about a man liking her breasts (her cleavage is apparent), and pushes them up and down with her hands over her bra. A woman tells the man to "touch me like it's last night," he lays on top of her in bed and they kiss.
 At a poetry reading, a man reads a poem aloud and makes a crude reference to being dampened with semen and multiple times he yells out a crude term for breasts. A man talks about another man having sex with boys, and a man talks about another man having "latent homo-erotic wet dreams." A man talks to another man about receiving oral sex using crude terms. A man talks to another man about being impotent and his marriage ending because of it. A woman talks about a man and her being "consumed by raging passion." A man tells a man that he lied "to get a girl into the sack." A man reads a poem and states, "suck my lips, open your legs wide to the great conquering me." A man tells a woman he's "not big on foreplay." A man accuses another man of having sex with another man's wife (he uses a crude term). A man tells another man that a married woman had sex with many men (using a crude term). A man mixes sexual references with cannibalism while he speaks to a woman he's flirting with. A man refers to a woman's blood as "love juice." A man makes mention to another man's "philandering penis." A man asks about "the breast with the string beans." A woman tells a man he is punishing her for sleeping with him. A man discusses his mother getting pregnant by somebody other than his father stating, "He was sterile."
 A man shows another man various photos of his father having sexual encounters with various women. A man runs around in boxer shorts hurriedly getting dressed (we see his bare chest and back).

VIOLENCE/GORE 7 - A man hits another man in the back of the head with a baseball bat (he falls to the ground but remains conscious), he ties him and tapes his mouth shut, punches him in the face, puts a burlap sack over his head, yells expletives and carries him outside (the man's head hits a car's trunk), and then shoves the man into the trunk of the car and drives away.
 A man receives a package containing what appears to be a severed breast (it seems real, has a nipple with parsley around it, and cooking instructions, stating, "Preheat oven to 350... cook until brown"). A woman opens an envelope and removes a plastic bag, and the plastic bag is filled with blood and a human thumb. A man walks into a room and looks down and the floor appears to be covered in blood. A police office pulls a piece of flesh out of the cinders of a fireplace.
 A man pulls on a bicycle that is hanging from a ceiling in a garage, and we see smoke and debris coming from the garage door implying that the ceiling has collapsed and we see that a car has fallen from the ceiling and the man's arm and hand are sticking out from under it, and it is implied that the man is dead.
 A man punches another man in the face three times, he falls to the floor (his mouth is bleeding), and one man kicks the other repeatedly (we do not see the impact), we hear the man groaning and he is shown lying on the floor and his lips and teeth appear bloody.
 A man tasers another man in the chest and the man convulses, makes noises and then passes out. We see a man in a surveillance tape being struck in the back by an assailant wearing a mask and swinging a baseball bat and the man falls to the ground. A man punches another man and knocks him out, he injects him with something (we see the needle go into his back area), places a sack over his head and in the next scene the man is handcuffed and tied to a pillar.
 A man is shown dead in a bathtub (his face underwater) after committing suicide: he is holding an electric appliance in his blue-tinged hands, and a suicide note appears to be written in blood above the tub reading, "I had to checkout."
 A man wakes up on a paved road, he has been beaten and his face is cut and bruised, his nose appears broken and his lip swollen. A man cuts his finger while chopping vegetables with a large kitchen knife; we see his bloody finger and the blood intermingled with the food. We see a photo of a man with his mouth duct-taped closed (the man is being held hostage and his face appears bruised and cut).
 A man forces another man to swallow a locker key stating "it'll poop itself out," and he threatens to shove the key up the man's behind (using a crude remark); the man places the key in his mouth and we later see excrement in a toilet and a man moving it with a wire hanger.
 A man is seen chained to a radiator in what appears to be an abandoned house, his mouth is duct taped, his face bruised and he seems dizzy and disoriented.
 Various people make several references to cannibalism throughout the film: A man tells a woman, "in case I have to eat you… vegetarian's taste better"; a man tells about his knowledge of another man studying cannibalism; a father talks about his son's fascination with cannibalism, a mother talks to police about her son's fascination with cannibalism, a man says to another man, "It's okay to eat the dead but not okay to cut off a finger?"; a man states, "Dear old dad is cooked"; a man states, "It isn't evil to eat the dead, it's recycling, true evil is to eat a man alive"; and a man talks about "consuming flesh."
 A man grabs another man by the throat, pushes him up against a wall and tells him, "I'll kill you first." A man wields a knife and threatens to cut off another man's thumb, the man begs him not to, we see the man put the knife to the man's thumb and the scene ends ambiguously. Police officers pull guns on an elderly couple. A woman pulls a handgun out of a drawer, tells another woman, "I have a handgun pointed at your head" and uses an expletive to tell the woman to leave. A man holds up a knife and says to a man "fun time." A man mentions Jeffrey Dahmer, and a man mentions the Unabomber. A woman mentions her father is dead. A man talks about his stepfather committing suicide. A woman talks about a man's suicide. A woman rents an apartment in her home after a man has committed suicide there, but doesn't tell the tenant. A man recites a poem entitled "Death by Drano." A woman cries, "I want to talk to my son!" A man tells another man, "I sent them a severed human thumb."
 A married couple argues over giving money to kidnappers. A woman cries about her son being kidnapped. A father insults his son's intelligence in various scenes. A kidnapper makes phone calls to the parents of the man he has abducted. A man yells for help. A man says he's scared. A man curses and argues with his abductor. There are several conversations about a severed thumb throughout the film. A man watches another man on television talk about how he was physically attacked by a man with a mask and a butcher knife, he cries and says that the attacker cut off his thumb. A woman tells a police officer "I wanted to hurt him," pertaining to her lover. A woman reads a poem in which she states, "the bath of my own excrement." A man tells another man, "My mother hated me." A man talks about another man being crazy and ending up in a psychiatric ward. A man calls a woman "psychotic." A man talks to another man about his time in a psychiatric hospital. A man tells another man that his lover is criminally insane and that she "burned her Father alive."
 A man vomits in a toilet (we hear him gag and see the vomit emerge from his mouth and he spits). A man spits on and then cleans his knife with his saliva. A man unbuttons his pants after eating too much and passes gas audibly (he talks about flatulence and makes a joke).
 A man kicks a chair. A woman drops a dish and it breaks. A car is operated by remote control in a mall causing shoppers to jump out of the way (no one is hurt). A car crashes through a wall (no one is hurt).

PROFANITY 7 - About 21 F-words, 25 sexual references, 16 scatological terms, 19 anatomical terms, 14 mild obscenities, name-calling (cannibal, nympho, liar, groupie, crazy, psychotic), 5 religious exclamations. [profanity glossary]

SUBSTANCE USE - A woman drinks tequila, a man drinks alcohol, people drink wine in a few scenes, alcohol is seen on the dinner table in two scenes, and a man buys beers for people at a bar (we see many bottles laid out on the bar). Someone smokes a cigarette in one scene.

DISCUSSION TOPICS - Kidnapping, abduction, the Nobel Prize, infidelity, professors sleeping with students, illegitimate children, suicide, extortion, ransom, father/son issues, Obsessive-Compulsive disorder, psychiatric disorders, poetry, arson, torture, sexual deviance, narcissism, cannibalism, womanizing.

MESSAGE - A man who may be a genius and is well respected for his intellect, is not necessarily a decent human being.

Special Keywords: S8 - V7 - P7 - 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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