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The Promise [2017] [PG-13] - 4.7.3



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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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Based on real events from the 1915 Armenian Genocide: A medical student (Oscar Isaac) falls in love with a dancer (Charlotte Le Bon), who's dating an American reporter (Christian Bale) who is investigating the Ottoman persecution of Armenians. As the genocide begins, the members of the love triangle decide to fight together for the Armenian resistance. Also with Daniel Giménez Cacho, Shohreh Aghdashloo and Rade Šerbedžija. Directed by Terry George. A few lines of dialogue are spoken in German with no translation, and a few additional lines are spoken in Armenian, a Turkish dialect, and French with English subtitles. [2:14]

SEX/NUDITY 4 - A man seated on a bed hugs a woman around the waist, then removes her dress (she wears a corset that reveals cleavage and abdomen); she lies on top of him as she begins to remove his shirt, they kiss and the scene changes to morning, when they lie close to each other (we see his chest, abdomen and her bare upper back; sex is implied). A woman lies in bed wearing a nightgown that reveals her bare shoulders, while her husband lies on top of her (his bare back is seen) as he kisses her (sex is implied).
 A woman lies in bed wearing a long-sleeved gown that reveals the top of one breast (no nipple is seen) and we see her slightly swollen belly covered by the gown. Four women wear long ball gowns with necklines that show cleavage. A belly dancer wears a midriff-baring top that reveals a little cleavage and long skirt that reveals one bare leg; she and another woman wearing a long dress dance together, writhing and twisting as men applaud.
 A man and a woman kiss passionately for several seconds. A man and a woman kiss briefly in four scenes. A woman kisses a man on the cheek in three scenes. A man kisses a woman on the forehead. A man and a woman hold hands in three scenes.
 We hear retching off-screen and we see a woman as she tells her husband that she might be pregnant and he embraces her.

VIOLENCE/GORE 7 - We read that over 4,000 men, women, and children were saved by the French navy, and that the Turks murdered 1.5 million people of all ages, and that the Turkish government refuses to admit wrongdoing even 100 years later.
 A man finds his dead wife in a pile of bodies and cries, shuddering as he embraces her; in another scene, he shouts that the Turks sliced open her belly and removed an unborn child, discarding it (we do not see this).We see about 100 bodies of families lying dead and bloody with their eyes open and their bodies sprawled across one another, along with two bloodied dead children as a child stands up in the background, crying and screaming, with blood on her face.
 A man is shot in the neck and we see his bloody neck and hands; a medical student removes the bullet by firelight and we see bloody metal tongs and a bloody bullet. A man pours medicine onto a wound on another's man's leg and we see some blood on the trousers. At a medical school, we see a male cadaver with the belly held open with clamps (the skin of the chest, belly, shoulders, and arms is blue) as a man reaches into the bloody opening, snips off the artery to the spleen and removes the organ; another man reaches into the belly, tries to find a cancerous tumor, disturbs the intestine, and is squirted in the chest with red-brown material that we hear is feces causing him to faint and fall onto the body.
 Grimy, dusty Armenian prisoners work in a desert valley, where explosives clear land for a railroad line with large puffs of smoke accompanying booming explosions as an officer beats random workers in the back with a long club, causing shouts of pain; a man's leg is broken when a metal rail falls on it and guards beat him with clubs causing him to scream in pain and later an officer shoots and kills him. A man is forced to stand in front of a six-man firing squad as six shots are fired and the man falls dead with blood on his shirt. A man throws a case of explosives at the feet of an officer, exploding loudly and killing the officer and himself, while destroying a rail car in fire and black smoke.
 Armenian men are arrested by Turkish soldiers and we see the victims, including many old men, made to kneel and accept beatings with clubs and rifle butts; one man receives a rifle butt in the face and falls onto his face in a pool of blood. A man and a woman in a street fight off two Turkish soldiers; the man punches both soldiers, receiving a kick to the groin, causing him to shout in pain and fall and the woman slams cabbages onto the heads of the attackers, who run away (we see some blood on the man's head and a scrape on his face). A man on horseback is chased and arrested by three Turks on horses who place him in jail for being a spy after an officer shoves him to the floor, points a pistol to his temple, and pulls the trigger of the empty gun.
 Many Armenian refugees hike to a mountain where a Turkish officer tells them to leave, they refuse, and soldiers appear with rifles; Armenian men and women shoot rifles and handguns, throw large rocks and use wooden clubs for defense as the soldiers open fire and then retreat. Turks set up cannons and mortar launchers that create loud explosions and large smoke clouds as Armenians scream and run down a mountain where a ship is waiting and sailors run onto the shore to help the people into lifeboats. Mortars fire at lifeboats full of refuges at night and one boat nearly turns over, dumping a woman and a child who cannot get back in (they bob in the water and scream) until two men jump in to save them, but the woman floats away under water dead with her face blank and eyes open and the screaming child is saved.
 Soldiers march captive families along a path and a woman collapses; a horseman rides over and shoots her in the head, killing her in a long shot that does not show blood as three other horsemen chase a man in a car who viewed the shooting (he and another man escape in the car). Two tripods of logs stand with a man hanging dead from each one and a large sign in Turkish writing pinned to the chest of each one.
 Two scenes show Turks carrying flags and beating Armenian men with clubs in the street, setting fire to Armenian flags, breaking the glass doors and windows of shops, and setting an Armenian shop ablaze with flames that fill the screen; an older man and a woman receive hard punches from a soldier and fall below the frame.
 A soldier escapes a work detail and jumps onto a passing train at night and he lies on top of the last car where he hears screams of people inside it; he climbs down, misses being hit by a tunnel wall, and looks into the window to see screaming men and women reaching their hands out in the rain for water as he tries to open the car, but falls off and into a river, where he swims to the bank and passes out. We hear cannon and rifle fire off-screen, accompanied by screams of women and children as a Turkish soldiers with wagons of loot and captive men, women and children come into view; the soldiers laugh and one of them drags an older woman along the path by her hair.
 An injured woman is shown and we later see her with her shoulder and upper chest covered with blood stained bandages; she is found dead later.
 A man argues with and berates German soldiers at a gathering and his date tells him, "I'm sick of your drunken behavior"; the couple argues about the German-Turk alliance and how it hurts Armenia. A man in a hotel shouts about multiple murders and people stare at him. A man tells another man that a long scar on his face is a bullet lodged in his cheek and he goes on to say that when any building project is done, officers murder the workers. A man argues with another man twice and says that the country is a graveyard. A woman says that her mother died when she was age 10 and her father later committed suicide. A few scenes show outdoor war hospitals with many nurses washing the hair of orphans or helping sick people walk to chairs and cots; a few men use one or two crutches to walk and we hear that the orphans watched their parents being murdered by Turks. A man asleep on the ground by a farm scares a woman who screams.
 We see a funeral inside a dark Orthodox cathedral. We see a short graveside service on a mountain around a grave made of rocks. An empty village with its houses broken into rubble and large smoke plumes rising is shown.

PROFANITY 3 - 1 scatological term, 2 mild obscenities, name-calling (foolish, ridiculous, bastard, friends, witch, Armenian dog, Russian dogs, lying Turkish traitor), 19 religious exclamations (e.g. Oh My God, Oh God, My God, Dear Lord, Praise God, God Bless You, Thank God, God Help Me, and short prayers by a priest four times). [profanity glossary]

SUBSTANCE USE - A village apothecary works with powders and small bottles of liquids and he gives a white liquid to a patient who grimaces at the taste, and a man jokes that people think he goes to opium dens. Glasses of wine and a bottle of wine are shown on dimly lit tables at a banquet where a man pours a glass of wine (no one drinks), three men and a woman each drink a glass of champagne, three men and a woman drink glasses of Absinthe at a lounge, two outdoor parties and an outdoor wedding show men and women drinking glasses of champagne, and we see glasses of champagne on tables. A man smokes a cigarette in an outdoor café, a man smokes a cigarette at an outdoor dinner table in a camp, and a man smokes a cigarette on a porch.

DISCUSSION TOPICS - The Armenian Genocide of 1915, Muslim-Christian relations, Middle East conflicts, power, lying, war, conquest, murder, death, loss, grief, fear, orphans, refugees, homelessness, determination, courage, escape, starting over, love, relationships, families.

MESSAGE - The Armenian Genocide was a ruthless unprovoked murder of 1.5 million men, women, and children during the ethnic cleansing campaign by Ottoman Turks.

Special Keywords: S4 - V7 - P3 - MPAAPG-13

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