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The Stepfather [2009] [PG-13] - 5.7.5



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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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A divorced woman (Sela Ward) meets a man (Dylan Walsh) in a grocery store who appears to be considerate and is immediately smitten. After becoming engaged and moving in together, her eldest son (Penn Badgley) returns from military school and is skeptical of the man's sincerity; he tries to find out more about him and the truth is eventually uncovered with fatal consequences. Also with Amber Heard, Sherry Stringfield, Paige Turco, Jon Tenney and Nancy Linehan Charles. Directed by Nelson McCormick. [1:41]

SEX/NUDITY 5 - A young man and a young woman in swimsuits kiss in bed: he lies on top of her, kisses her chest and neck and caresses her bare leg and abdomen. A man and a woman kiss while lying in bed: the man snuggles and kisses her neck, he climbs on top of her, they continue to kiss (they are both clothed) and it is implied that they have sex while a young man (the woman's son) in the next room can hear giggling and noises.
 A young man and a young woman kiss passionately while in a swimming pool. A young woman hugs a young man, kisses his ear and they go underwater in a pool, while continuing to kiss. A young man and a young woman kiss in several scenes. A man and a woman kiss in several scenes.
 A young woman is shown in a few scenes wearing underwear while lying on her bed and talking to her boyfriend on the telephone (tank top and bikini panties that reveal cleavage, bare abdomen and bare thighs). Two women wearing robes are shown preparing for bed; one drops her robe to take a shower (we see her bare shoulders and back). A young woman wears a short top that reveals her bare abdomen. A young woman wears a skimpy bikini in many scenes and a young man wears swim trunks. A woman wears low-cut tops that reveal cleavage in several scenes. Several young men wear Speedo-type swim trunks while competing in a swim meet. A young man opens a shower curtain and we see his bare chest and abdomen while he wraps a towel around his waist.
 A young man and a young woman lie on a chaise lounge and snuggle. A man and a woman flirt and she asks him to join her and her two children for pizza (he accepts). Two women flirt. Two women exchange loving remarks and it is implied that they are a couple, and perhaps married.
 A young man tells a young woman that events were "a turn on." A young woman tells a young man that she is having sex with another young man to get his attention. A woman tells a man about another woman being unfaithful to her husband. A man and a woman talk to a young man about his girlfriend and that people might not approve of their physical relationship. A young man tells a man and a woman that people might not approve of their physical relationship.

VIOLENCE/GORE 7 - A man places his hand over a woman's nose and mouth smothering her (we see her struggle briefly and then die). A woman's head is pushed into a swimming pool, she struggles (we see her face under water) and then drowns and we see her floating motionless in the water. A man slams a glass vase into another man's head knocking him unconscious and we then see the man wrapping a plastic bag over the man's head smothering him (he struggles briefly).
 A man attacks a woman and shoves her down a flight of stairs (we hear cracking and she moans while lying motionless on the floor with her legs twisted). A man with a large knife chases a woman, she hides in a room, the man breaks the door open, and she stabs him in the neck with a shard of a broken mirror (we see blood on his neck and her hand); he stumbles and falls into a bathtub.
 A man and a young man fight: they crash through a window and out onto a roof, the man falls over the side, he grabs the young man and they both fall to the ground and they lie unconscious. A man tries to grab the foot of a young man climbing up an attic ladder, the young man kicks him in the face, the man falls to the floor, gets up and climbs into the attic where three people are hiding; he threatens a young man with a knife, and the young man falls through the floorboards. A young woman threatens a man with an electric saw, and she and a woman fall through the floorboards (we see the woman with a broken leg and blood on her pants). A man punches a young woman in the face, she falls unconscious and we see her with blood on her mouth.
 A man walks casually through a house where there are several dead bodies (a woman and children) on the floor and across furniture; we see gray-tinged faces and a bloodstained rug. A young man opens a chest freezer, finds a dead body inside (we see gray-blue tinged skin and eyes wide open), he jumps back and falls on the floor. We see a crime scene where a man appears inconsolable when he sees the bodies of family members and bloody knives in evidence bags.
 A man grabs the back of the neck of a young boy and squeezes while yelling at him. A whirring electric saw falls onto the floor next to a woman and a young woman, who are frightened.
 An ex-husband and wife argue bitterly. We hear a police report of murder victims that includes descriptions of multiple stab wounds and blunt force trauma. We hear that a murder victim had a gunshot wound to the back of the head. A man talks about his wife and child having been killed in a car accident by a drunk driver. A teen girl talks about a woman driving off a bridge with her three children in the car and that they all drowned. We hear that someone has been in the hospital in a coma for a month. A woman tells a man that a neighbor suspects he is a killer. A man and his son talk about why the man left him and his family.
 We see the face of a teen girl screaming, while presumably being attacked. A young woman screams and jumps when a man startles her. A woman jumps when a cat jumps in front of her; the cat hides in a closet and hisses at her.

PROFANITY 5 - About 1 F-word, 1 obscene hand gesture, 2 sexual remarks, 7 scatological terms, 3 anatomical terms, 4 mild obscenities, name-calling (screw-ups, jerk, stupid, idiot, weak), 6 religious profanities, 8 religious exclamations. [profanity glossary]

SUBSTANCE USE - A woman takes one half of a prescription sleeping pill. People drink wine and beer at a party, a man and a young man drink shots of alcohol, three women drink alcohol at a bar, a man and a woman drink wine in a few dinner scenes, a man drinks a beer, and a woman holds a cocktail and takes a sip from a straw.

DISCUSSION TOPICS - Family, divorce, death of loved ones, ill-behaved children, respect, lying, teenagers, discipline, military school, step parents.

MESSAGE - Make it a point to get to know someone well before issuing an invitation to join your family.

Special Keywords: S5 - V7 - P5 - 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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