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Live by Night [2017] [R] - 6.8.10

 
 

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ASSIGNED NUMBERS

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
Profanity
1 to 10

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Set in the 1920s, a man (Ben Affleck) vows to never take orders from anyone and to never become part of the mob. However, circumstances conspire against his ostensible principles in Prohibition Era Boston and Florida. Also with Elle Fanning, Remo Girone, Brendan Gleeson, Robert Glenister, Matthew Maher, Chris Messina, Sienna Miller, Zoe Saldana, Chris Cooper and Titus Welliver. Directed by Affleck. [2:08]

SEX/NUDITY 6 - A man and a woman have sex in varying locations while we hear that she is another man's lover: the couple has sex in a bed and in a car and we see thrusting and hear moaning (we see the woman's bare shoulders and back). A man and a woman kiss passionately, fall on a sofa, and then roll onto the floor; they have sex and we see her thrusting while straddling him (we see her bare back).
 A man shows another man compromising photographs of his daughter (we see her scantily clad and in sexual positions with her bare breasts exposed). A woman wears a dress that is deeply cut in the back (we see her bare back to the waist) and when she leans over a railing the camera focuses on her clothed buttocks and hips. A woman wears a low-cut dress that reveals cleavage, shoulders and upper back as well as the outline of her nipples through the fabric. A woman wears a low-cut dress that reveals cleavage and back in several scenes and women wear low-cut dresses revealing cleavage at a formal event.
 A man and a woman sit in bed together (presumably after sex) and she is seen wearing stockings that reveal bare thighs; they talk and kiss. A man and a woman kiss passionately on an elevator. A man and a woman kiss in bed.
 Men and women dance in speakeasies in several scenes; we see men and women holding each other close and women shimmying their hips suggestively. A man watches a woman dance and she gyrates and swings her hips.
 A man threatens to expose another man for his sexual liaisons with a young man. A man asks another man if he is having sex with a woman. A woman tells a man, "We will not be lovers."

VIOLENCE/GORE 8 - A man is stabbed in the abdomen and then his throat is slit while walking in a parking lot (we hear the crunching and slashing). A man is thrown off a roof and we see the body slam to the ground and blood gushes from the head.
 A man is shot in the head on the street (blood splatters). A man is shot in the back while he is covered with a towel in a barber's chair (we see blood on the towel. A man is shot three times in the head and we see bloody bullet wounds. A man shoots a man in the head (we see bloody bullet hole). A man enters a speakeasy and shoots several people (we see bloody bullet wounds as they fall). Several men are shot at a meeting and we see a bloody wound on one man's abdomen as he moans. There are a few extended gunfights where men use Tommy guns and hand guns to shoot each other (we see some blood spray and bodies falling dead).
 A car explodes and the occupants are engulfed in flames. A man throws an explosive into a crowded establishment and when it explodes we see people thrown (we do not see injuries). A man is shown dead in a car with a bloody bullet hole in his head. A man is shown lying dead on a flight of stairs with blood pooling under his head. A man shoots two other men at close range, and then many other men open fire on each other: we see men falling dead and there is some blood shown on clothing, a chandelier is shot from the ceiling (no one is struck when it falls), and one man is shot and falls down a stair well screaming and hitting his body on the railing as he falls); one man is shot repeatedly through a wall and we see him lying in a pool of blood with a bloody face. A dead man is shown with a bullet hole in the back of the head (we see a bit of matter). A man shoots a man at close range, blood drips into his drink and he falls dead after dropping his glass.
 A man shoots into a house from the street and the man in house comes out shooting; the first gunman is struck repeatedly (we see blood on his shirt) and a stray bullet kills a woman (we see a splatter of blood on her dress). Armed men run out of a bank to a waiting car that slams into another car before speeding away; a police officer shoots at the car and several police cars chase and shoot at the car as people on the sidewalk jump out of the way, one police car catches fire and flips on its side (we see the car in flames later with a silhouette of a body in flames still inside) and another car hits it and the driver is thrown (we see him unconscious on the ground and conscious later with a bloody gash on his head). A man with a gun robs a store.
 A man is punched in the face and stomach repeatedly, then kicked in the face and the groin while he is on the floor (we see his bloody face and he moans in pain). Several men smoke and drink liquor around a card table when three armed men breaks in and rob them of their money; one man at the table is struck in the face with a gun butt and the robbers gag the men and a woman in the room. Several police officers approach an injured man lying on the ground and we hear thuds as they strike him with their night sticks. A woman is struck in the face and carried away as she kicks and struggles. A young woman leans over a bed and her father strikes her repeatedly (presumably on the back of the legs or buttocks) with a cane (we hear the blows and she flinches). A man hits another man in the abdomen with a gun and he bends over gasping.
 A man puts a gun on a desk while talking to another man (as a threat). A man is frisked. A large cross is seen in flames outside a speakeasy and several men wearing KKK garb are shown on horseback nearby. A man talks about going to fight in World War I and we see images of war and its aftermath with bodies caught in razor wire and dead on the ground (we see some bloody wounds). A man is seen in the hospital with bandages on his face and hands. We see pictures of men with Tommy guns.
 A man threatens to kill a man and throws him on the ground as the police approach. A man threatens a woman and says that he should have cut her breasts [using a crude term] off and thrown her in the dump. A man threatens to put another man under a train. A man says that another man should be, "Tarred and feathered." A man threatens to cut a woman's throat. A man threatens another man with a, "Pop in the mouth." We hear that a man was in a coma for 2 weeks and that his nose and half his ribs were broken. Two men argue about who shot one of them during a gunfight. A woman yells at a man and he tries to calm her; he holds her and she struggles to get away. A man declines an order from an organized crime boss and he is threatened. A man tells another man that a woman was murdered. We see several men in a prison cell and hear that one man was sentenced to 3 years. A man discusses the racial hierarchy in Ybor, Florida. A conversation alludes to business dealings bringing bloodshed. A man talks about having killed 7 men in his lifetime and that their faces haunt him. A man jokingly says, "Hang me upside down and light me on fire." A woman says, "My father died for Cuba." A man's nickname is "Digger" and we are told that it is because he would dig the graves of men who were murdered by his father. A young woman preaches about, "Raining bloody hell fire." A reference is made to a headline reading, "Cigar City Slaughter." A woman preaches about the dangers of gambling. A young woman says, "We are all going to hell." A young woman says, "I don't know if there's a God." We see a newspaper story that reads that a young woman slit her own throat. A man asks another man, "Why didn't you clip her?" A woman says that she shot a man as he drove a car and they drove off a bridge. We see a news reel of Hitler and Nazis.
 We understand that a man's father died. We see a man standing at a graveside in a cemetery after a funeral. A man stands at a gravesite. A man is kicked in the groin and he vomits (we see goo spray on the floor).

PROFANITY 10 - About 60 F-words and its derivatives, 3 sexual references, 17 scatological terms, 4 anatomical terms, 6 mild obscenities, 8 derogatory terms for African-Americans, 3 derogatory terms for Hispanics, 7 derogatory terms for Italians, name-calling (dunce, crook, liars, stupid, dumb, criminals, dummy, dumbest grape, bootlegger, trash, piece of work, gangster, communist), 4 religious exclamations (Jesus, God, Holy [scatological term deleted], Oh God). [profanity glossary]

SUBSTANCE USE - We understand that a young woman was forced to take heroin and prostituted herself and that she was in recovery in a rehab facility (we see scars and bruises on her arms in a few scenes). Several men are shown with alcoholic beverages while playing cards, people drink shots of liquor, a man drinks a glass of dark liquor (presumably rum), two men drink alcohol in an office, people drink alcohol at an event, and people drink and smoke at a speakeasy. Several men are seen smoking cigarettes while playing cards, a woman smokes a cigarette in a restaurant, a woman smokes in bed, a man smokes a cigar, a woman smokes in a hotel at an event, a woman smokes a cigarette in an office, and we see cigars being rolled in a factory.

DISCUSSION TOPICS - World War I, Prohibition, following orders, speakeasies, repentance, prostitution, duty, narcotics, the KKK, betrayal, love, death penalty, casinos, gambling, pride, Catholicism, trust, virtue, personal liberty, sin, revenge.

MESSAGE - People don't fix each other; we are who we are.

Special Keywords: S6 - V8 - P10 - 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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