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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

A modern reworking of William Shakespeare's "Othello" set in an elite private school located deep in the American South: Mekhi Phifer stars as the tragic hero, the victim of his own insecurities and the influence of a treacherous friend. He's an NBA hopeful, the only black student at the school and he is dating Julia Stiles; his best friend, the Iago of this rendition, is Josh Hartnett. Also with Martin Sheen and Rain Phoenix. [1:31]

SEX/NUDITY 6 - A young man and woman kiss and get in bed under the sheets; we see him bare-chested and her shoulders are bare, and the woman tells the man, "I want to give myself to you any way you want me." The couple has sex, changing positions and moving rhythmically and then the sex becomes rough and she screams for him to stop but he does not (no nudity is evident). A young man and woman kiss, take off their shirts (we see her bare back and shoulders and his bare chest and shoulders), and they kiss and hold each other. A couple kisses romantically several times. There are discussions of a young man forcing himself sexually on a young woman, and there is a discussion of rape. There is a discussion of a young man and woman having sex in a library, and there are references to a young woman being unfaithful to her boyfriend. A young woman is shown sleeping in a slip. Young women are seen in tight-fitting tank tops and short skirts or tight-fitting pants which expose cleavage, thighs and midriffs. Young people are seen dancing together and touching each other. There is a conversation about the sexual habits of a group of young women.

VIOLENCE/GORE 6 - A young man is shot in the chest and we see the bloody wound, a young man is shot in the stomach, a young woman is shot in the stomach and we see some blood on her shirt, and a young man shoots himself in the chest and we see the bloody wound several times. A young woman is strangled to death; we see this twice, once in more detail with her struggling and gasping for air until she dies. A young man is shot in the leg and we see some blood on his pants. A young man is hit on the head with a tire iron. We see two dead bodies lying on a street, and a dead boy on a stretcher. Two young men fight with punches and shoving; one is tackled and is shown with a bloody wound on his stomach. Two young men struggle over a gun. A young man is held while another young man punches him in the stomach and face. A young man slams another young man against a tank (in a boiler room) and holds his arm against his throat while he yells at him. In one scene consensual sex turns rough, and the event is discussed afterward as possibly being rape. A young man tackles another young man and tries to hit him, a young man shoves a boy and he falls to the floor. A young man breaks a basketball hoop in rage. A coach is seen yelling at his team several times; he throws an eraser at a young man once, he breaks a clipboard once, and he throws things off his desk another time. We see a young man being injected in the stomach with steroids and he winces. A young man threatens a group of people with a gun. A young man is pushed down hard on a basketball court and appears injured. We see a young man with a bloody bandage, and a young man has a large scar on his back.

PROFANITY 9 - 61 F-words (a few of which we hear in song lyrics), 4 sexual references, 23 scatological terms, 13 anatomical terms, 8 derogatory references to African Americans used by African Americans (some of which we hear in song lyrics), 1 derogatory reference to Caucasians (used by a Caucasian), 3 derogatory references to homosexuals, 13 mild obscenities, some name-calling, 4 religious profanities, 3 religious exclamations. [profanity glossary]

DISCUSSION TOPICS - Jealousy, favoritism, parental approval, interracial relationships, friendship, trust, love, racism, elitism, virginity, being unfaithful, steroids, reputation.

MESSAGE - Think and check and ask before trusting someone's accusations. Many "friends" have ulterior motives. Jealousy is a dangerous emotion.

(Note: There are a few scenes of young people doing drugs and drinking alcohol.)

Special Keywords: S6 - V6 - P9 - 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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