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The Killing of a Sacred Deer [2017] [R] - 8.6.5



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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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After a man dies during heart surgery, his teenage son (Barry Keoghan) is befriended by the cardiologist (Colin Farrell) that performed the surgery. After several interactions their relationship becomes very strained and it becomes obvious that the teen blames the doctor for his father's death and demands a sacrifice in return. Also with Nicole Kidman, Alicia Silverstone, Raffey Cassidy, Bill Camp and Sunny Suljic. Directed by Yorgos Lanthimos. [2:01]

SEX/NUDITY 8 - A wife removes her robe (we see her wearing a bra and underwear that reveal cleavage, bare abdomen, back and legs to the buttocks) and she lies back on a bed where her husband is lying after asking, "General anesthetic?"; the woman lies perfectly still as the husband touches his genitals (through boxer shorts) and caresses her neck, kisses down her chest and abdomen and we see him remove her underwear (we see the shape of her pubic area) after he removes his T-shirt (we see his bare chest and abdomen) and the scene ends (sex is implied). A married woman asks a married man for information and he says, "What do I get in return"; we then see the two in the front seat of a car and the woman's arm moves rhythmically in his lap while the man moans and breathes heavily until climax.
 A wife kisses her husband 's hand, climbs over him in bed and removes her nightgown (we see back and the side of a breast), she lies back on the bed (we see her bare breasts, abdomen and pubic area, with no hair, and bare buttock) and she curls up next to her husband who has presumably been asleep. A young boy asks a teenage boy if he has hair under his armpits and the teen lifts his shirt to show him (we see his bare abdomen and chest); a teen girl tells the teen boy, "You have a great body." A teen boy asks a man to show him the hair on his chest and the man opens his shirt (we see his bare chest, abdomen and armpit).
 A woman tells a married man that he has beautiful hands and she caresses one hand and kisses it, then puts his thumb in her mouth (the man gets up and leaves abruptly). A teen boy and a teen girl sit close together on a chair; he asks if she is on her period, the girl takes off her dress and lies on the bed, wearing bra and underwear (we see bare upper chest, abdomen and legs), and the boy leaves.
 A man talks about masturbating when he was a young boy and that he thought something was wrong when he ejaculated only a small amount; he goes on to say that he stroked his father's penis when the man was sleeping and that he ejaculated a lot (he says, "The sheets were covered with sperm"). A teen boy tells a woman that her husband has been flirting with the boy's mother. A man tells colleagues at a formal affair that his teenage daughter just started menstruating. A teenage boy tells a married man that the boy's mother finds the man attractive, and that, "You'd make a great couple."
 A man showers and we see him fully nude from the side (we see his bare chest, abdomen, hip, buttocks and legs). A man sits fully nude in a chair and we see his bare chest, abdomen and legs (his genitals are covered by his hands). A woman wears a sleeveless top that reveals her bare shoulders. A woman wears a robe that reveals cleavage and bare legs below the knee. A man wears a T-shirt and boxer shorts while in bed. A teenage girl wears a low-cut top that reveals cleavage and shorts that reveal her legs to the upper thighs in several scenes. A woman wears a low-cut dress that reveals cleavage and bare legs to mid-thighs. A teen boy takes off his shirt (we see his bare chest and abdomen) and tells a doctor that his heart hurts. We see a young boy's back as his father does a spinal tap procedure. A woman wears a low-cut top and we see cleavage and part of her bra when she bends over. A woman gives her young son a bath in bed (we see his boxer shorts, bare chest, abdomen and legs). A painting of a nude woman hangs on a wall (we see flesh with little anatomical detail).
 A husband and his wife kiss tenderly. A woman kisses the bloody feet of a teenage boy.

VIOLENCE/GORE 6 - A man duct tapes a woman, a teen girl and a young boy, places them on sofa and chairs, covers their heads with pillowcases, loads a rifle, covers his own face with a knit cap, spins around and fires the gun hitting a vase; he spins again and fires hitting nothing, then spins a third time and fires hitting one of the people in the room (we see blood trickling from the chest wound and the victim sits motionless).
 A teen boy bites a man's arm (we see bloody tooth marks on the man's arm); the boy bites his own arm and pulls out a chunk of flesh (we see the bloody wound). We hear a gunshot and we later see a bloody bullet wound on a teen boy's leg.
 A young boy's eyes bleed profusely and a man wipes away the blood. A teen boy is shown with a bloody and bruised face and he is duct taped into a chair; a man talks to him, threatens him, punches him in the face (he spits out blood and a tooth) and holds a rifle to the boy's temple.
 A beating heart throbs in an open chest cavity (presumably in an operating theater) and we see bloody tissue pulled away from the opening and a needle and suture in the hand of someone wearing a surgical glove. A man does a spinal tap on his young son (we see the needle poke the boy's back and a drop of fluid falls into a vial). A teen girl drags herself out of her house and along a sidewalk (we se her with bloody knees and hands).
 A man pounds on the door of a house, yells at the occupant and says, "You will die in prison" after threatening to have sex with the boy and his mother. A husband yells at his wife and grabs her by the arm. A woman slaps her teen daughter across the face. A husband yells at his wife and throws something around a kitchen breaking glass items. A teen girl pleads with her father to kill her.
 A teen boy tells a man that he must kill a member of his family to atone for the death of his father; he goes on to explain that if he does not, they will all die. A teen boy tells a woman that her husband killed his father. A man insists that his young son is lying about not being able to walk; the man drags him in a hospital hallway and the boy flops onto the floor twice, and the man shoves a donut in the boy's mouth when the boy says he doesn't want to eat (the boy gags and spits out the donut). A young boy tries to get out of his hospital bed and falls hard on the floor (no injuries are seen). A man tells his young son, "I will shave your head and make you eat your hair." A woman squeezes her teen daughter's arm after the girl was disrespectful to her, and the girl complains of pain; the mother takes the girl's phone away from her. A teen girl says, "He didn't kill him. That would be like killing four people with one shot." A teen girl asks her young brother if she can have his MP3 player when he dies. A teen girl calls out to her father, saying, "Quick, Bob's dying."
 A teen a boy and a teen girl ride a motorcycle with no helmets. A teen boy becomes insistent about spending time with a man. A teen boy sits outside a man's house and watches until the man turns a light off and the house is dark. A teen boy tells a doctor that his heart hurts and that he thinks he is sick; the man does a stress test on the boy and tells him that he is fine, that it's all down to hormones but that he should quit smoking. A young boy drags himself through a house, finds a pair of scissors and cuts his long hair off. A teen girl drags herself down a flight of stairs and across a basement floor.
 A young boy tells his father that his legs are numb and that he cannot walk; the boy is examined in a hospital and tested and nothing is found to be wrong. A teenage girl collapses during choir practice and we see her in the hospital. A man with a teenage boy meets a colleague and lies about who the boy is. A teenage boy talks about his father having died after a car accident. A man talks to a teenage boy about the importance of having friends. A teen boy says he's nervous around dogs. A school principal tells a man that his two children are restless.
 A man removes his bloody surgical gloves and scrubs and disposes of them. A woman flosses her teeth (we don't see any goo). A man guts a fish and we see him pull the head off (with cracking and squishing sounds). A woman cleans bloody wounds on a teenage boy and kisses his bloody feet.
 A teen boy says that a young boy did not get out of bed to go to the bathroom and that he wet the bed. A teen girl eats a piece of apple, coughs and spits it out. A young boy and a teen girl are seen with tubes in their noses that deliver nourishment. A teen boy eats a plate of spaghetti and we see some sauce on his face and chin.
 There are several scenes that are accompanied by loud, discordant music strains.

PROFANITY 5 - About 2 F-words, 3 sexual references, 1 scatological term, 2 anatomical terms, 1 mild obscenity, name-calling (stupid, don't be a drag, failure, loser, weird, incompetent, lifeless, idiot), 1 religious exclamation (You're Not A God). [profanity glossary]

SUBSTANCE USE - Men and women drink alcohol at a formal affair, a glass of wine is seen o a table during a meal, a man drinks a beer at a cook out, a man drinks a glass of whiskey at a cookout, a woman asks a man if he had been drinking before his patient died, and a woman says that a man hasn't had a drink for three years. A man smokes cigarettes in several scenes while walking next to a river, a teenage girl holds a lit cigarette while singing a song outside, a teenage boy smokes a cigarette in a teen girl's room, a teen girl smoke sin her house, and a man and a woman smoke outside a hospital.

DISCUSSION TOPICS - Surgeons, anesthesiologists, unexplained illness, taking responsibility, alcoholism, justice, malpractice, psychosomatic disorders.

MESSAGE - Misdeeds have consequences.

Special Keywords: S8 - V6 - P5 - 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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