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A Monster Calls [2016] [PG-13] - 1.4.1



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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 boy (Lewis MacDougall) struggling with the terminal illness of his mother befriends a tree monster (with the voice of Liam Neeson) that helps him prepare for the loss by telling him three fantastical stories. Adapted from the children's novel by Patrick Ness. Also with Sigourney Weaver, Felicity Jones and Toby Kebbell. Directed by J.A. Bayona. [1:48]

SEX/NUDITY 1 - In an animated sequence, a young man and a young woman kiss.
 A man talks to his young son about marriage and love not being enough (his parents are divorced). We hear in a story that a woman wanted to marry a young man (her stepson) after her husband died (they do not marry).
 A woman wears a low-cut top that reveals cleavage. The giant tree takes on a human form and made up of limbs and vines and the outline of buttocks is clear from the back (no other details is evident). A woman is shown being undressed in a hospital room and we see her bare back discolored (seems like bruising).

VIOLENCE/GORE 4 - A boy hears rumbling in the distance and things in his room shudder and slide across the floor; he opens his window and the wind blows wildly and we see a tree moving and sprouting arms with flashes glowing under the roots and limbs like lava and its eyes glow red as it walks toward the boy knocking over light poles and crumpling railroad tracks and says, "I've come to get you"; the monster reaches into the boy's window and pulls the boy out. A giant tree monster visits a boy and yells in a deep, booming voice about how he slew dragons and tells him stories after encircling the boy with roots and limbs (like a cage).
 An animated sequence shows a man awakening under a tree and he is covered with blood; he then sees a woman dead next to him. An animated sequence shows a man holding a dagger over a woman (we do not see the attack, but we hear a crunch as he brings the blade down). A boy has a recurring nightmare where a church crumbles and a sink hole opens in a cemetery nearby; the boy's mother falls into the hole and the boy loses his grip on her hand and he screams in terror.
 Bullies at school threaten a boy repeatedly; the boys surround him, one boy steps on the victim's hand and pulls his tongue, and others shove him, hit him and kick him while he is on the ground and in several scenes. Bullies chase a boy and slam him against a wall where one boy slaps him in the face. A boy chases another boy through a lunch room at school, tackles him and pounds on his face and head repeatedly (we see the attacked boy's face bloodied). A woman and her grandson argue about him going to live with her. A bully pours a drink on a boy's sketchbook and then tells him that he is invisible to him now. Two women argue about where a boy should live while his mother is ill. A boy and his father argue. We hear in a story that progress caused the air to be choked with smoke and ash. A woman tells her son that she is dying and he runs out of the hospital, to a church yard where he pounds on the ground near the foot of a tree yelling.
 A boy stands in the middle of a room surrounded by furniture and other items that have been splintered (by him); when his grandmother sees the destruction she is speechless, and then pulls down a glass cabinet. A giant tree monster pulls the roof off a house and throws it into the distance; a boy with the tree slams the windows with a stick shattering them. A boy breaks the hand off a grandfather clock in his grandmother's home. A boy breaks glass in a garbage bin and kicks a bin over in anger. A boy kicks his back pack and throws his jacket, and then jumps on furniture in his grandmother's home.
 An animated sequence plays out a story of a kingdom where the king lost his three sons (we see one run through by a sword and one taken by a dragon) and when the queen could not recover from the pain of the loss, she committed suicide (we see the queen fall from a ledge). An animated sequence shows a king becoming ill and we hear that there was suspicion that his new wife was poisoning him; he eventually dies. An animated sequence shows the two young daughters of a man becoming very ill and the man pleads with a healer to help him; we see the ground open up and the two girls fall into the hole. An animated sequence shows a man who prepared elixirs from barks and herbs become bitter when his customers shunned him. We see a "King Kong" movie on TV and the beast is attacked by airplanes causing him to fall from the Empire State Building (we do not see the result). An animated sequence shows people firing flaming arrows at a castle where a queen is and we see it engulfed in flames, presumably killing her.
 A woman collapses and moans in pain until she is given medicine. A boy hears coughing coming from a room in his house and we see that his mother is ill and in bed. A woman is shown in a hospital in several scenes and we see her on an IV and she looks gravely ill.

PROFANITY 1 - 1 mild obscenity, name-calling (idiotic), 3 religious exclamations (e.g. Oh My God, Thank God). [profanity glossary]

SUBSTANCE USE - A woman is given medicine presumably for pain.

DISCUSSION TOPICS - Death of a parent, terminal illness, imagination, bullying, growing up, estranged parents, suicide, progress, environmental damage caused by progress, faith.

MESSAGE - It is possible to survive horrible loss.

Special Keywords: S1 - V4 - P1 - MPAAPG-13

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