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The Zero Theorem [2014] [R] - 6.4.6



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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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Struggling to focus on his mission to uncover the meaning of life, a man (Christoph Waltz) petitions his employer to allow him to work in the solitude of his home while waiting for "the call" that will presumably answer all of his questions about our existence. The management agrees initially with stipulations that include a regular therapy session, interaction with a brilliant teenager working on his own computer mission and a sexy young woman in a virtual world. Also with Matt Damon, Sanjeev Bhaskar, Peter Stormare, Ben Whishaw, Mélanie Thierry, Lucas Hedges and Tilda Swinton. Directed by Terry Gilliam. [1:47]

SEX/NUDITY 6 - In a virtual environment, a man and a woman on a beach kiss passionately, he pushes her on her back and climbs on top of her as he tears off her top (we see her bare breasts) and kisses her breast; the woman protests and tries to push the man away, then pushes him hard and he falls back onto the floor of his room and out of their virtual setting. A man wades into water and falls beneath the surface, a woman that's with him becomes frightened when he doesn't surface and jumps into find him and he is unconscious under water and she pulls him out to do mouth-to-mouth resuscitation; the man revives and the two kiss tenderly. We see a woman on what seems to be a porn site and she wears a sheer top that reveals her nipples and a heart shaped spot over her crotch that reads "Enter Me." A woman hugs a man and kisses him on the head.
 A woman wearing bra and panties along with stockings moves suggestively on a porn website and we see her remove her bra (the side of her breasts are shown) and then pull down her panties before she is startled and stops. A nude man and a nude woman float in space toward a swirling black hole (we see their bare buttocks, backs, abdomens and legs, as well as her bare breasts). A man and a woman wearing swimsuits are shown on a beach and the woman opens a bottle of champagne. Men and women are shown dancing at a party. A nude man stands on a beach alone (we see his bare back, legs, buttocks, chest and abdomen and his crotch is obscured). A man and a woman are shown on a beach and they are wearing swimsuits (we see his bare back and chest and abdomen as well as her cleavage, bare back, abdomen and legs); the woman kisses the man's shoulder and chest as they talk.
 A man is shown being carried on a stretcher out of a sex shop and there is a sign on the street that reads "sex shop." A woman asks a man to come to her place and he becomes angry and leaves a party.
 A man accuses another man of doing inappropriate (sexual) things with a teen boy (we see no evidence of this). A woman comes into a bathroom where a man has been hiding and she sits down to use the toilet after lifting her skirt (we see her bare thighs and a strap of panties along with cleavage) and the man stands in the hall holding her wine glass.
 A woman talks about her father buying her ugly dresses when she was young and that they only made her "Want to get naked, and that's no way to keep the boys away."
 A man wearing only boxer shorts (his bare chest, abdomen and legs are shown) lies on an examining table and three doctors speak to him (please see the Violence/Gore category for more details). A teen boy wearing boxer shorts I shown in a bath tub and a man attends to him (the boy seems delirious). A nude man is shown seated in front of a large computer screen (we see his bare back, buttocks and legs, then his bare chest, abdomen and hip crease). We see a man wearing boxers shorts while standing at a sink and his bare back and legs are visible. A woman is shown wearing a short outfit that reveals her bare legs and a bit of cleavage. A man wears a tank top that reveals his bare shoulders and upper chest. A woman wears low-cut dresses that reveal cleavage in several scenes.

VIOLENCE/GORE 4 - A man wades into water and falls beneath the surface; a woman with him becomes frightened when he doesn't surface and jumps into find him; he is unconscious under water and she pulls him out to do mouth-to-mouth resuscitation (please see the Sex/Nudity category for more details); the man revives and the two kiss tenderly.
 Two men pound on a man's door and break in; they grab a teen boy sleeping (or unconscious) on the couch and carry him out (we hear that the boy is very sick and in the hospital). We hear pounding on a man's door and several men break in and speak to him in a threatening manner. A man swallows what looks like an olive and chokes; he gasps for air and his mouth is wide open as a woman grabs him from the back, they fall on the floor and she squeezes his chest causing him to spit out the olive (we see the olive land on the floor and a small mouse carries it into a hole in the wall). A man is struck in the face by a door and we hear a crunch (we see no blood). A man puts on a virtual suit and is shocked throwing him back and onto the floor where he twitches for a moment (we see him OK later).
 A man smashes a large mirror to get at a camera inside it, then breaks the camera before breaking many other cameras throughout his house; one camera is attached to a statue perched on a ledge and he falls off and onto the floor (he does not appear harmed). A man breaks his computer monitor. A man yells at a teenage boy. A man accuses another man of doing inappropriate (sexual) things with a teen boy (we see no evidence of this). A man throws equipment around and pulls tubes out of a large network and the machine explodes throwing the man (we do not see him harmed).
 A man wearing only boxer shorts lies on an examining table and three doctors speak to him while one of them presses on his head (we hear crunching, but no injuries are evident).
 A man at a crowded party is bumped and backs through a door and into a room where a man sits in a chair across from him and startles him when he speaks. A man says "we're dying" several times, referring to himself. A man unlocks many locks on his front door before exiting his home onto a busy street. A woman comes into a bathroom where a man has been hiding and she sits down to use the toilet (please see the Sex/Nudity category for more details).

PROFANITY 6 - About 11 F-words, 2 sexual references (signs for a sex shop are seen on a street), 7 scatological terms (3 mild), 3 anatomical terms, 3 mild obscenities, name-calling (ghastly, cranky, lunatic, insane, balmy, stupid, sick freak, devil, monster, nut, doll, dog, tool, a few raisins short of a full scoop, big fat cosmic joke), 4 religious exclamations (e.g. God, Jesus, Jesus Christ). [profanity glossary]

SUBSTANCE USE - Men and women are shown drinking wine and other presumably alcoholic beverages at a party, and a woman drinks from a glass of wine. A woman pantomimes holding a cigarette and a man pretends to light it with a lit lighter.

DISCUSSION TOPICS - The meaning of human existence, chaos, the universe, choices, competition, obsolescence, mental illness, fear, loneliness, solitude, emptiness, delusions, pathology, paradoxes, virtual reality,

MESSAGE - Maybe it's better not to know the answers to human existence.

Special Keywords: S6 - V4 - P6 - 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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