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The Boy | 2016 | PG-13 | - 3.5.2

An American woman (Lauren Cohan) searching for a new life accepts a position as nanny to an 8-year-old boy in rural England. However, the child turns out to be a life-size doll, a surrogate for a son that died 20 years previously. Also with Rupert Evans, Jim Norton, Diana Hardcastle, Ben Robson, James Russell and Jett Klyne. Directed by William Brent Bell. [1:37]

SEX/NUDITY 3 - A woman in her bedroom with a man kisses him briefly and unbuttons his shirt (he has a T-shirt underneath); they lie on a bed and we see something watching them through a keyhole and they are interrupted by loud music from another room.
 A woman in her bedroom wears a shirt open at the neck to reveal cleavage, with bikini panties (her legs are bare to the panties); she sees that a doll in another room seems to be watching her in her long mirror and closes her bedroom door. A shower scene includes a woman in a towel wrap (we see bare shoulders and see her hands rinse soap off her lower thighs. Two scenes show a woman wearing a scoop-neck top that reveals cleavage. A woman is seen braless and wearing a sports jersey top; the suggestion of nipples is evident. A taxi driver uses the rear view mirror to look at the chest of the female rider in the back (we see no cleavage) and she pulls her blouse when she sees the driver's eyes in the mirror.
 A man says to a woman, "It's amazing that any of us ever procreate." A woman asks if a man is single and he says yes, and she says she "just got out of a thing." A man asks a woman on a date and she says, "Maybe another time."


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VIOLENCE/GORE 5 - We see a tall, sweaty man with a bushy beard wearing a mask with drops of blood on it; he knocks another man to the floor, punches his face several times, picks up a piece of broken ceramic, and slits the man's throat, with some blood flow. Returning to an old mansion, a woman finds a man wearing a mask and yells at him, "It's time for bed now!"; he grabs her arm, she leans close and stabs him in the chest with a large screwdriver, he roars and slams her into a wall, and strangles her, lifting her feet off the floor, as she pulls out the tool from his chest and stabs his stomach with blood flowing (he falls to the floor on his back, apparently dead and unmoving).
 An elderly couple places large rocks into their coat pockets on a rocky beach and walk into the lake; we see their backs as they float on the water, unmoving, and then float below the surface and sink. A man awakens to find dead rats bleeding in a trash bag and blood on his own face; he shouts in anger, throws a woman to the floor and grabs a male doll, swings the doll and smashes its head on the floor, turning it to dust; lights flicker and pounding sounds fill the room as the man puts his face to a large mirror and listens as something with a small boy's whining voice crashes through and punches him.
 A man wearing a mask grabs a woman, who hits his head with a club, and then she runs with a deliveryman to a bedroom and locks the door; the masked man punches through a splintering door and chases the couple through another room and a hole in the wall to a staircase. A man and a woman find an attic bedroom with a bed containing what appears to be the mummy of an 8-year-old girl dressed up as a doll with a cloth over her face, before another man chases them through crawl spaces and knocks the first man unconscious with a club, leaving a large red bruise on his face.
 A dark mansion is full of taxidermy animals: a goat's head and an owl are shown in close-up while a painting of an older couple and their young son hangs on a wall; when a woman walks up to the picture and leans forward, a boy's hand reaches out from it, strangling her (the camera cuts to the woman gasping awake in bed in the morning).
 A man insists that a woman come back home with him; he grabs her and tries to kiss her, but she refuses and pulls away as another man enters the room and orders the abuser out until the abuser throws a billiard ball across the game table with a loud thud.
 A woman throws a large doll roughly into a rocking chair. A woman screams off-screen and the camera cuts to a bedroom that is trashed while an older woman opens draperies to sunlight and scolds a life-size boy doll about its destructive behavior and the first woman looks unbelievingly at the doll. A woman places a doll in a hall chair, covering it with a blanket; later she walks through the hall and the chair is empty but she does not notice and then she sees the doll in the chair with the blanket as if it had been thrown across the hall. While a woman is in a shower, we see her dress as it is pulled off a chair and below the frame; and see her necklace pulled off a sink, but do not see a hand or person. A man enters a room and startles a woman who gasps in three scenes. Loud opera music suddenly plays twice on an old phonograph in a house with a doll sitting beside the player, seeming to listen. Alternating giggling and crying of a small boy is audible off-screen in several night and daylight scenes. An attic door in a ceiling opens itself and lets down a ladder; a woman climbs up and the ladder quickly retracts, leaving her in the dark; something unseen knocks her unconscious, awakens in the sunlight and as she looks at picture albums, the door opens and she returns downstairs. A woman walks into a bedroom and finds papers all over the floor and bed and a doll turning its head by itself; the camera cuts to the woman gasping awake in her bed. A woman walks into a bedroom to find a doll sitting on the edge of the made up bed beside a clipboard containing 10 rules the woman needs to follow as nanny. A woman in her bedroom sees the shadow of shoes outside her door; the shoes walk away and return, setting something on the floor, then walk away again and when she opens the door slowly she finds a sandwich on a tray. A man helps a woman and they find that an attic ladder is sensitive to movement and seems to slide up by itself. A woman shouts, "Boo!" at a doll that does not react. A woman sits a doll at a table, turns around and back, and sees the doll missing. A woman tells a delivery man that a doll is alive; to test this, they put the doll on the floor of its bedroom with a chalk outline around it and go away and the second time they look in the room, the doll is missing and they find it sitting behind a door.
 A woman argues on the phone with another woman; the phone rings again later and the woman hears a young boy's voice and hangs up; the phone rings again, she answers and there is a hang-up then she picks up the phone and the line is dead; she throws the phone on the floor, locks herself in her bedroom and hears giggling and sees the shadow of shoes under the door. A man yells at a woman as she runs away, "I'll get you like the others!"
 A woman arrives at a dimly lit old English manor house for a job as nanny to an eight-year-old boy, but discovers the boy to be a porcelain doll; when she laughs employers become upset and angry, give her a list of strict rules to follow as if the boy is real and she becomes worried and fearful. A pair of hands extends from sleeves as they glue together the head of a doll that has been replaced on its body. A woman finds what seems like tears on a doll's face and looks up to see rain leaking down from the roof.
 We hear that an 8-year-old girl used to visit a boy weekly, and one day the children disappeared and their dead bodies were found in the woods as a house went up in flames. An elderly woman and an elderly man say a bedtime prayer while kneeling beside a doll in a bed, then close the bedroom door, open it again and tell a new nanny that she is permanently hired because their son wants her there; then the couple packs and leaves on a long vacation the next day. A woman persuades a man that a large doll is possessed by the spirit of a dead boy and when they visit the grave nearby they see a headstone marked 1983–1991. A man says that his mother was a palm reader and his grandmother could tell the future; he reads a woman's chewing gum teeth marks and tells her that she has a dark past. A woman tells a man that her former boyfriend physically abused her so badly that the final time she went to the hospital and lost a baby; then she moved to the UK to get away from him.
 An elderly man shows a woman how to empty outdoor box traps from large dead rats by pulling one out by the tail and dropping it into a trash bag the woman holds. A woman tosses a large rat into a trash bag. A woman brushes her teeth and spits below the frame twice (we see some white toothpaste foam on her lips).


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LANGUAGE 2 - 1 scatological term, 4 mild obscenities; name-calling (mental, that thing, creepy), 3 religious exclamations (Oh My God, God, Jesus Christ).


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SUBSTANCE USE - An elderly man and an elderly woman drink glasses of wine at dinner, a woman drinks the remainder of a glass of wine before bringing a bottle of wine to her side table and pouring another glass (she falls asleep without drinking it), a woman drinks a glass of wine in her bedroom, a man tells a woman that an old man was drunk in a pub one night, and a man has a glass of beer at dinner (we do not see him drink it).


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DISCUSSION TOPICS - Death of a child, murder, secrets, mental illness, denial, cycle of abuse, loss, revenge, control, relationships, love, trust, survival.

MESSAGE - Some people have strange ways of coping with loss.

CAVEATS

Be aware that while we do our best to avoid spoilers it is impossible to disguise all details and some may reveal crucial plot elements.

We've gone through several editorial changes since we started covering films in 1992 and older reviews are not as complete & accurate as recent ones; we plan to revisit and correct older reviews as resources and time permits.

Our ratings and reviews are based on the theatrically-released versions of films; on video there are often Unrated, Special, Director's Cut or Extended versions, (usually accurately labelled but sometimes mislabeled) released that contain additional content, which we did not review.


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