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The Squid and the Whale [2005] [R] - 8.4.7



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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

A study in family dysfunction, with Jeff Daniels and Laura Linney as a married couple whose relationship spirals out of control. Their two young sons are now torn between their parents as they are whisked back and forth, from one's house to the other's, throughout the week. The effects of the breakup, their feelings toward each other, and past secrets take their toll on the boys. Also with William Baldwin, Anna Paquin, Halley Feiffer and Jesse Eisenberg. Directed by Noah Baumbach. [1:21]

SEX/NUDITY 8 - A teenage girl and a teenage boy lie in bed together, and she is in a bra and pants (we see her cleavage) while he is clothed; she has her hand in his pants, and we see her arm moving rhythmically and when she stops it is implied that he has climaxed. A teenage boy and a teenage girl kiss, and the girl complains that the boy shoves his whole tongue in her mouth.
 A man has his hands under the shirt of a much younger woman (she's his student), he tries to kiss her and tells her to do something sexual, while his teenage son enters the room, sees them, and is upset. A young woman kisses an older man and makes a remark on how it would be to have sex with him.
 A boy masturbates against a library bookshelf while looking at a picture of a nude woman (we see her bare breasts and abdomen); the boy puts his hand in his pants and wipes semen on the books. A boy lays his mother's underwear on a bed, he finds a condom in her drawer, he puts it on and the scene ends. A scene from "Blue Velvet" is shown, where a nude woman holds a man and pleads with him to love her (we see her bare breasts).
 A teenage boy and a teenage girl lie in bed together, the girl straddles the boy and the boy says that he thinks that they should wait to have sex. A young woman touches a teenage boy's hair tenderly (he seems enamored with her). A young woman kisses a teenage boy on the cheek.
 Several boys talk about who one of them should have sex with and they talk about an older girl being more experienced. A boy goes to his mother's house and finds her with a man -- nothing sexual is shown but a sexual relationship is implied.
 A woman tells her teenage son about the places where she had sex with a man, and the boy becomes upset and tells her to stop. A man tells his son about the boy's mother being unfaithful to him. A man tells his son that he had many opportunities to have extramarital affairs but did not choose to do so. A man talks about a young woman's writing being racy.

VIOLENCE/GORE 4 - A woman slaps her son in the face. A boy hits his brother in the face and they argue over whose fault it is that their parents broke up. A teenage boy bends over and when he sits back up his head hits a young woman in the face giving her a bloody nose. A boy throws a ping-pong paddle at his father and hits him in the head and a woman is hit by a tennis ball during a game.
 After an argument it is suggested that a man may have hit his wife in the face (she pulls what looks like a scab off of her lip the next day). A woman in a movie has large dark bruises on her arms and chest.
 A man has a heart attack, falls on a street and holds his arm; we see him taken away in an ambulance and then in the hospital. A man is nearly hit by a car.
 A man and a woman argue bitterly and two children appear to be troubled and uneasy. A boy confronts his mother about her having had an affair and they argue. A man disparages his wife to their children. A boy tells his mother that she is ugly, and a teenage boy tells a teenage girl that she has too many freckles on her face.
 A boy smears semen on a locker and on library books. A boy vomits. A man spills cooked meat on a floor and then serves it to his children for dinner.
 A boy talks about being frightened by a squid and a whale fighting in a museum display (we see the sculpture later).

PROFANITY 7 - 25 F-words and its derivatives, 1 obscene hand gesture, 15 sexual references, 11 scatological terms, 13 anatomical terms, 10 mild obscenities, name-calling (jerk, stupid), 6 religious profanities, 5 religious exclamations. [profanity glossary]

SUBSTANCE USE - A boy drinks beer in several scenes, a young woman and a teenage boy drink beer, a man and a young woman drink wine with dinner, and a man drinks wine. A teenager smokes a cigarette, and two teenage girls smoke cigarettes.

DISCUSSION TOPICS - Separation, divorce, infidelity, effects of divorce on children, parental influence, feminism, virginity, relationships between older men and younger women, commercial success, guilt, blame, hate, father/child and mother/child relationships, dishonesty, plagiarism, obsession with sex, indecision, philistines, competition, lust, jealousy, lying.

MESSAGE - Divorce and dysfunctional relationships will mess kids up.

Special Keywords: S8 - V4 - 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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