Become a Premium Member | Only $2 a month

► You're making sure we survive
► Exclusive previews
► No more ads


The Paperboy [2012] [R] - 8.7.10



Although our site is very popular, the current economic climate has reduced our revenues just when we need extra security to prevent attacks from hackers who don't like what we do. If you think what we do is worthwhile, please donate or become a member.


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.

 [more »]

Sex & Nudity
Violence & Gore
1 to 10


» Official Site
» IMDb Listing

A big-time reporter (Matthew McConaughey) returns to his hometown to investigate a case involving a death-row inmate (John Cusack), who may have been wrongfully convicted. Also with Nicole Kidman, Zac Efron, David Oyelowo and Macy Gray. Directed by Lee Oliver. [1:47]

SEX/NUDITY 8 - We see a montage of a man and a woman having sex and it appears as though the man is raping the woman, but occasionally the woman appears willing and interested; we see the man and the woman in multiple positions, including the man forcefully turning the woman over (we see his bare buttocks) and the man is seen with his hand and face in the woman's skirt.
 In a room with three men, a young man and a woman, one of the men crudely instructs the woman to open her legs and we see her opaque tights as the man instructs her to rip them open; the woman rubs her hands over her underwear and she moans sexually, the man instructs the woman to open her mouth and implies that she had sent him crude letters describing oral sex and the man and the woman appear to climax without touching themselves or others (we see a wet stain on the man's crotch and a second man watching the performance grabs his crotch, implying that he was also sexually aroused).
 We see the bare buttocks of a man while he is hog tied with his hands and legs tied behind his back and he is lying on a sheet of plastic with another man watching him; another man (we briefly see his bare buttocks) wearing boxer-style underwear leaves the room, we see that the man's face is beaten to a bloody pulp (please see the Violence/Gore category for more details) and it is implied that the man had been raped and we later learn this as fact when a young man confirms to a woman that his older brother had been violently raped.
 We see a man's bare back and a portion of his chest as it is implied he is having sex with a woman in the back seat of a car (we do not see the woman but we hear sexual moaning).
 We see a woman's bare breasts for an extended period of time and she is visibly pregnant as she interacts with an older woman and a group of children. A young man wearing only brief-style underwear (his bare back and chest visible) dances with a woman. A young man tells a man (his older brother) to take a shower and we see him take off his clothing (his bare chest and back are visible); the man sits on a toilet, and then gets into the shower where we continue to see his bare chest and back. A man shouts at a young man to take off his clothing and we see the young man immediately strip down to his brief-style underwear. On multiple occasions we see a young man in his brief-style underwear, and his bare back and chest are visible. On multiple occasions we see a young man in swimming trunks, and his bare back and chests are visible. We see a woman wearing a sheer nightgown over black underwear and bra (the woman's cleavage is visible). We see a portion of a woman's cleavage and bra when she wears a partially opened robe. We see a woman wearing a cleavage-exposing dress. We see a painting of a nude woman in a man's living room.
 We see a woman open her robe in front of a young man (she is wearing a bra and brief-style underwear) and she says, "Just this once" (implying that she is going to have sex with him); the young man takes off his shirt (we see his bare chest), the woman climbs on top of him and they kiss passionately as we hear a second woman narrating and giving a play-by-play of the young man and the woman kissing, but she stops, saying that people know what is going to happen next (sex is implied between them and no nudity is visible).
 A woman tells a young man using crude terms that she is sexually aroused when thinking about a man and knows that the man is equally sexually aroused by the thought of her; we hear the woman moaning sexually as she gasps (her hands are visible, and it is implied that she is feeling sexually gratified by the thought of the man).
 A man forcefully grabs a woman and begins to kiss her and the woman tries to pull away but then relents and they kiss passionately. A woman kisses an older man on the cheek. A young man hugs a woman and kisses her shoulder lovingly (she is a mother figure to the young man).
 A young man wearing only brief-style underwear teases a woman saying that she could have interrupted him masturbating; the woman then jokes that she has walked in on the young man masturbating countless times before and tells the young man to swap roles as she props her legs up on a bed and jokingly taps her groin area (we see her opaque tights) and shouts that she is masturbating.
 A man tells a young man that he had gotten drunk one time and allowed the young man's older brother to perform oral sex on him. A young man imagines a woman asking him if he would like to have sex with her. A man asks a young man if he had come to visit for a "quick poke" with the man's wife. A man reads aloud a letter from a woman concerning her relationship with a man; the letter describes in crude terms how her prison pen-pals have only been interested in performing oral sex on the woman whereas another man wants the woman to perform oral sex on him. A woman tells a young man that he should be interested in having sex with three women wearing bikinis rather than thinking about her performing oral sex on him. A woman tells two men that she believes a young man (one of the men's younger brother) is "sexually repressed" and one of the men then makes a crude remark that the woman is "starved" for male genitalia. A young man asks a woman if she had sex with a man, and she implies that she had, saying that having sex with the man was the most natural thing she could have done. A woman narrates that she "knew" a young man was interested in having sex with a woman. A woman's voiceover says that she knows a young man masturbates while looking at "girly magazines" while thinking of a woman. A woman grabs a book from a young man's hands (it's "Lolita") and remarks, "This is porno." A man remarks that he knows he will not have sex (using crude terms). A man crudely remarks that a man is not being able to cup a woman's breast because he had a thumb cut off. A woman crudely tells another woman that she needs to find a "young man" that will have sex with her. A woman tells an unseen man that a man was out "chasing girls" rather than raising his youngest son. A woman's voiceover explains that a young man is upset that his older brother had never told him he was gay.

VIOLENCE/GORE 7 - Two men fight with a shovel and a machete; the man holding the machete grabs the other man and shouts as a young man (the other man's brother) watches until the man slowly slices the man's neck with the machete (we see blood spurt from the wound and the man drops the man's body to the ground); the man's body twitches as he dies.
 In black and white we see a police officer being stabbed repeatedly in the stomach (blood is visible and we hear the knife entering the man's stomach), and we see a photograph of the dead man and his intestines are seen hanging out of his stomach while a woman narrates, saying that the dead man was rumored to have dragged his intestines for "a mile" before he died.
 We see the male victim of a rape, hog-tied and lying face-down in blood on a plastic tarp, his face is mangled and covered in blood and one of his eyes appears to have been cut open; his younger brother discovers him, he screams for help, begs the man not to die, and we later see the man in a coma in a hospital bed and then slowly recovering in the hospital (he has an eye patch and scars on his face from the traumatic beating).
 We see a man's body (covered in blood) and a dead woman's body loaded into a boat and then driven through a swamp. We hear a woman and a man shouting and moments later we see the dead woman as the shouting man touches her face.
 We see blood on a man's hand and arm when he shakes hands with a woman who acts surprised and we see the man wrap his arm with a bandage (blood is seen dripping from the bandage). We see a dead alligator hanging from a tree as a man uses a knife to gut the alligator from neck to tail, a trail of blood is seen on the alligator's stomach and we see the alligator's innards drop to the ground; a young man watches and gags, sickened by the butchering. We see a dead opossum hanging from a tree.
 A young man with a newspaper slaps a man with it causing the man to shout and lunge at the young man; the two wrestle and the young man gets the man in a headlock until the young man's brother shouts at him to drop the man, saying he could kill him, and the young man releases him and the man threatens to kill the young man if he ever attacks him again.
 A young man struggles underwater as he is stung by many jellyfish, he struggles to the shore and throws himself on the ground, panting (large jellyfish stings are seen all over his body) and he blacks out as three young women try to help him; a woman shouts at the three young women, threatens to beat them up and tells them not to urinate on the young man, we see the woman crouching over him, urinating on various parts of his body (we see multiple shots of the stream of urine pouring onto the young man) and the young man is seen waking up in bed with sting marks visible on his face as a woman remarks that another woman had urinated on him to save his life.
 A corrections officer shouts at a prisoner sitting with two men, a woman and a young man; the officer then grabs the man and violently hauls him out of the room as the woman screams and runs after him. A man is shocked by an electric fence and he falls backwards (he is unharmed). A woman tells a young man to tell his older brother to get his hands off her (we see the man roughly grabbing the woman's shoulder); the man grabs the young man's arm and pushes him away, and then immediately apologizes. A man and his younger brother struggle as they walk through a swamp; the man slips into the mud and the young man acts scared when a snake slithers past them. A man chases a young man through a dense swamp; we see the young man hiding underwater as the man looks for him for hours and we see the young man escape unharmed.
 A young man screams at a man. A man shouts at a woman and another man shouts at him for being mean to the woman. A man shouts at another man. A young man shouts at a man and slams his fists against the man's desk. A man shouts at a young man (his brother) and shouts angrily, telling him not to drive drunk. A woman shouts at another woman.
 An unseen man asks a woman to describe a murder: we hear her describe a man being stabbed to death. We hear a man reading aloud a newspaper article about a young man's life being saved by a woman urinating on him. A woman's voiceover says that a man had been convicted of murdering a man and a woman and that he was put to death in the electric chair. A woman's voiceover explains that no one had been able to establish who had killed a police officer. A man tells another man that blood-covered machetes and clothing had been found in the man's house, which led him to being convicted of a murder; the man responds that he was a professional alligator hunter and all of his clothing were covered in blood. A woman tells an unseen man that a police officer was known for killing African American people, including some of her family members. A man tells another man that the man's nephew was going to be electrocuted if the man did not come forward to contest his conviction. A man tells another man that a man had cut off the thumb of a police officer after he was pulled over. We hear a woman tell another woman that a group of alligators attacked a man and ate his leg. A young man tells a woman that he had gotten angry and intoxicated while in college, drained his university's swimming pool and was since kicked out of school. A woman half-jokingly tells a young man that he needs to watch his mouth or it will "get him cut." A man vaguely implies that a man with facial scars had gotten the scars because he was a "busybody." A woman warns a man that if he continues to stare at two men that he is going to get himself in trouble and we see the man eyeing two men aggressively. A woman chides another woman for interrupting the woman's conversation. An older man asks his adult son if a man the son is investigating is in jail for a specific reason and he explains to his father that he believes the man was wrongly convicted of murder.
 Throughout the movie we see a man with scars on either side of his mouth and it is implied from a conversation between the man and a woman that he had been attacked and his mouth cut open.
 We hear a young man urinate (we see his back turned to his older brother as he urinates in a swamp). A young man tells a man (his older brother) using crude terms that his house smells like urine. A woman purposely spills iced tea on another woman's lap.

PROFANITY 10 - About 58 F-words and its derivatives, 1 obscene hand gesture, 9 sexual references, 20 scatological terms (1 mild), 10 anatomical terms (1 mild), 10 mild obscenities, 9 derogatory racial terms, 1 derogatory reference to homosexuals, 1 derogatory reference to gay people tattooed on a man's torso, name-calling (evil nasty son of a gun, fat, crazy, horny little boy, nasty white trash swamp, nasty little nutjob, Daisy May, pregnant nun, Martin Luther King, Muhammad Ali, ain't as dumb as they look, pigs, dirty white pig, oversexed Barbie doll, James Bond, pirate), exclamations (shut up), 4 religious profanities, 3 religious exclamations. [profanity glossary]

SUBSTANCE USE - We see three young women smoking a marijuana cigarette. A man is seen very intoxicated and we see him drink liquor directly from a bottle on multiple occasions, men and women drink liquor at a bar, men and women drink liquor and wine throughout the movie, a woman drinks from a flask, and a young man asks his older brother if his hands were shaking due to not drinking. Throughout the movie we see men and women smoking cigarettes.

DISCUSSION TOPICS - Racial discrimination, discrimination against gay people, abandonment issues, prison pen pals, disappointment, murder, revenge.

MESSAGE - Sometimes getting to the bottom of the truth can reveal more than a person might want to know.

Special Keywords: S8 - V7 - P10 - MPAAR

Our Ratings Explained

Tell Friends About Our Site

Become a Member

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.

INAPPROPRIATE ADS? We have little control over ads since we belong to ad agencies that serve ads automatically; a standing order should prevent provocative ads, but inappropriate ads do sneak in.
What you can do



Become a member: You can subscribe for as little as a couple of dollars a month and gain access to our premium site, which contains no ads whatsoever. Think about it: You'll be helping support our site and guarantee that we will continue to publish, and you will be able to browse without any commercial interruptions.


Tell all your friends: Please recommend to your friends and acquaintances; you'll be helping them by letting them know how useful our site is, while helping us by increasing our readership. Since we do not advertise, the best and most reliable way to spread the word is by word-of-mouth.


Alert local & national media: Let major media know why you trust our ratings. Call or e-mail a local newspaper, radio station or TV channel and encourage them to do a story about our site. Since we do not have a PR firm working for us, you can be our media ambassadors.

Copyright © 1992- Critics. All rights reserved. "Kids-In-Mind™" and "Movie Ratings That Actually Work™" are Service Marks of Critics. For legal queries please see our Terms of Use; for comments or questions see our contact page.