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O Brother, Where Art Thou?



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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: PG-13

Loosely based on Homer's "Odyssey," this Coen Brother's Depression-era comedy stars George Clooney, John Turturro and Tim Blake Nelson as three escaped convicts who encounter numerous obstacles on their way to finding some hidden money. Also with John Goodman, Holly Hunter, Chris Thomas King, Charles Durning, Michael Badalucco, Wayne Duvall, Ed Gale, Ray McKinnon and Daniel von Bargen. [1:46]

SEX/NUDITY 4 - Several instances of mild sexual innuendo. Three men find three "sirens" (seductive, singing women) washing their clothes in a river and wringing them out over their heads, causing their dresses to become wet and clingy (we briefly see part of one woman's breast through her wet top); the women approach the men and continue to sing while rubbing the men's faces and chests (the scene ends before anything else happens; it's implied that two of the men pass out shortly afterwards, when they wake up they talk about the third man supposedly having had intercourse with one of the women). We see some shirtless men.

VIOLENCE/GORE 5 - Several instances of threatening with guns and gunfire: a boy fires a few shots at three men, several police officers shoot at three men, gunfire is exchanged between people in two cars, a man fires shots into the ceiling of a bank while he's robbing it, and a man shoots at a herd of cows (we see one cow shot a few times; black, bloodless holes are briefly seen on its side). A man with his hands tied above his head is whipped in the back a few times while being interrogated by police officers (we hear loud cracks and his screams, and we also see a long, bloody mark across his back). A man hits two others in the head repeatedly with a large tree branch (though one of the men gets a bloody nose and mouth, neither seems seriously injured). Three scenes involving near-hangings/lynchings: we see an extended Ku Klux Klan ceremony during which an African-American is being led toward a noose (he's rescued before anything happens), three men's hands are tied and they're forced to stand underneath three nooses (we see their freshly-dug graves to the side), and a noose is put around a man's neck before a scene ends (it's assumed that he's been hanged until we see him in a later scene). A huge flood/wave of water flattens a house and hits a group of people (we see lots of debris floating underwater, as well as a swimming man and dog; we see that several people in the group survive). We see a large, burning cross fall to the ground, and it's implied that it hits and presumably kills a man (we only hear a loud thud). A man is nearly stabbed in the face with the end of a flying flag pole (he catches it a few inches away from his face). A man audibly crushes a frog in his hand and then throws it against a tree; also, we see the impact of a car hitting one of many cows crossing a road. Police set a barn on fire with a few people inside (they are rescued by a boy who drives a car though the barn wall); during the same scene a truck filled with guns and ammunition also catches on fire and eventually explodes (no one is injured). In another scene, police officers set an empty barn on fire (they think people are sleeping inside). A man grabs and chokes another before they roll down a hill together, a man climbs on another's back and is quickly flung to the ground, two men fistfight (one hits the other repeatedly in the face, while the other never lands a punch), a man is thrown out of a store, a man throws a rock at a boy, a man swats others in the chest with his hat several times, and a man is pelted with food by a crowd of people and then carried out of a room on a rail. We see the legs of someone who's being dragged into some bushes; its implied that the person's clothes are stolen. Three men are chained together at the leg for a few scenes; in one scene, two of the men are pulled out of an open train car when the third fails to jump aboard. A criminal being led through town by a large group of people talks excitedly about being electrocuted in an electric chair. We see what's supposed to be a cooked gopher on a stick.

PROFANITY 4 - A few anatomical references, lots of mild obscenities, many religious profanities, lots of insults, and several racial slurs. [profanity glossary]

DISCUSSION TOPICS - Escaped prisoners, 1920s/Depression Era, racism, the Ku Klux Klan, lynch mobs, political campaigns, baptism and redemption (a couple of men believe in redemption and another ridicules it), selling one's soul to the devil (one man claims to have done so), fake evangelists, seers, police brutality, divorce, deception.

MESSAGE - Life has a strange way of working out.

Special Keywords: S4 - V5 - P4 - MPAAPG-13

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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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