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Climax | 2019 | R | – 8.7.7

content-ratingsWhy is “Climax” rated R? The MPAA rating has been assigned for “disturbing content involving a combination of drug use, violent behavior and strong sexuality, and for language and some graphic nudity.” The evaluation includes several sex scenes, sexually suggestive dancing, including incest, full female nudity, many scenes of drug-induced violent confrontations resulting in bloody wounds, a dead child, murders and a suicide, extensive drug use and almost 30 F-words. Read our parents’ guide below for details on sexual content, violence & strong language.”

During a 1996 blizzard in Paris a French hip-hop troupe parties in an abandoned school all night along with their lead dancer (Sofia Boutella). After realizing that their sangria punch was laced with LSD they begin to suffer vivid hallucinations, violence spreads and the successful dance team begins to disintegrate mentally and physically. Also with Kiddy Smile, Romain Guillermic, Souheila Yacoub, Claude-Emmanuelle Gajan-Maull, Giselle Palmer, Taylor Kastle and Thea Carla Schott. Directed by Gaspar Noé. Many lines of dialogue are spoken in French with English subtitles. [Running Time: 1:35]


 – A woman leads another woman to a bedroom, pushes her against a wall, and kisses her; she removes both her own and the other woman’s blouses (we see one woman’s breasts and the other woman’s bra and cleavage), they embrace and kiss for several seconds, and they lie on a bed, kissing and moaning (one woman lying between the other’s legs) until a man enters and the women shout at him and slam the door after they push him out. A man tries to have sex with his sister: she runs away and convulses on a floor with foam at her mouth, her brother follows and says, “I love you,” before taking her into his room off-screen (sex is implied); the next morning, they lie together in bed with the sister under covers and the brother wearing only short-shorts and he tells his sister, “Don’t tell Dad,” implying they had sex. A woman wearing a miniskirt has her thighs spread as she sits on top of a radiator and a clothed, standing man thrusts quickly between her legs several times until the woman’s brother grabs him away (we do not see flesh).
 A woman lays on a couch with her legs in the air, rubbing her chest with the palm of one hand and rubbing her thighs and crotch repeatedly with her other palm as she writhes and moans. A woman dances frantically around a room, lies back on a couch, pulls her skirt up to her waist and reaches with both hands inside her panty hose, through which we see her underwear; she rubs around her thighs, screams in horror and runs to the washroom to run cold water over her head (still screaming). We see the lower half of a woman writhe as she rubs her crotch (she is wearing underwear) with the palm of her hand and slaps her crotch several times.
 A nude woman is seen in profile head-to-toe in a shower, frantically washing with water (we see her bare breasts and pubic hair); we later see her shoulders and thighs from an aerial view, as she sits cross-legged on the shower floor. A nude woman spoons a woman lying completely under covers and we see the first woman’s side, shoulder, buttock and one thigh. A man and a woman lie nude under blankets that cover her body except for a foot and an arm, and cover his midsection (we see part of his chest and part of one thigh). Two sleeping men lie side by side on a floor, shirtless. A man wears a kilt split up to nearly the waist, revealing a bare thigh. Several women wear tights, miniskirts that reveal full bare legs up to underwear openings that we see, and clingy form-fitting tops that reveal cleavage. A writhing woman spends most of the film wearing a skimpy bikini and high heels, revealing her back, cleavage, abdomen and skin down to the top of the pubis; another woman wears a short, straight dress with cutouts from the scoop neckline to the waist and over each hip; some cleavage is shown through the cutouts. We see a few men lying shirtless on a floor, asleep.
 Dancers writhe on a floor, chant, and seem to have sex: we see a pile of writhing bodies, some kissing and caressing of each other’s hair and shoulders as some (while clothed) rub against each other; the lights go out and in dim emergency lighting we see a shirtless man lying on top of a woman wearing a bra that shows cleavage and his lower back is thrusting very fast, indicating sex as the woman looks dazed — the camera alternates between right-side up and upside down several times as we see glimpses of male-female couples embracing, kissing, or rubbing against each other. About two dozen dancers writhe, gyrate and contort suggestively to music in several scenes. A woman twerks as she faces a corner in a background shot and we see her buttocks shake and jiggle.
 A man says that he will try to have sex with a straight man at a party, but the straight man pushes him away hard in two scenes, after a kiss to the neck and an attempted kiss on the lips. A man pursues a woman for sex, fails, and argues with her; twice, she shouts and pushes him away hard as he tries to kiss her and says, “I want to be with you.” A man says he has a boyfriend.
 A man wears an off-the-shoulder sweater with tight pants and high heels. A man wears a miniskirt with high heel boots.


 - A woman kicks another woman, who just said she is pregnant, several times in the stomach and walks away, passing by two other women arguing in a kitchen as one of the women sets the other's long hair on fire (please see the Substance Use category for more details); the woman with the burning hair screams and runs across the screen and we never see her again while the pregnant woman lies on a floor, crying and screaming for help before stalking off to confront her attacker, who slams the victim's head hard into a refreshments table, the victim brandishes a small knife, the attacker shouts, and other men and women gather around, slapping the pregnant woman and chanting for her to kill herself until she stabs herself in the stomach and we see blood on her clothing and her hands (she cuts her left cheek and right upper arm, with substantial blood flow and runs off-screen). A woman lies dead in a pool of blood grasping a bloody blade of some sort, but we cannot see the wound. Five men gang up on another man, knock him down, draw over his eyebrows with lipstick, shout, and beat him for a long time; we hear crunching (perhaps bones breaking) as the room becomes dark and men shout, "Do it! Do It!"; the screen then goes black and comes up at dawn when we see the victim dead on his back, his pale face misshapen and lipstick on his eyebrows. Some dancers attack one another in a dark room and we hear the crunching of breaking bones.
 Drugged people (please see the Substance Use category for more details) become enraged and turn on one another because of LSD hallucinations (please see the Substance Use category for more details); they angrily shout and accuse one another of spiking their punch bowl with LSD, they throw someone outside into blizzard conditions and lock the door behind him (he pounds the door loudly to no avail and we later see him lying dead in the snow). In a flash forward in an aerial view a screaming woman wearing tights and a tank top staggers through snow (her chest and hands are bloody); she drops and crawls, then does a partial snow angel, smearing blood into the snow before lying motionless, and likely dead. A woman staggers out of a building, screaming, to trudge in snow and we see a dead man in a fetal position covered by a thin layer of snow and ice. In an upside down scene, three police officers and a search dog arrive the morning after an all-night LSD party to find several dead people sprawled on a floor, their eyes closed. We glimpse the body of a dead boy on the floor, but we see no injury.
 A woman locks her five-year-old son in an electrical room after telling him not to touch the control box because it will kill him; for most of the remainder of the film, he screams, cries, and pounds on the door, calling out that he is scared of the cockroaches and when the lights in the building go out and are replaced by dim emergency lights, the woman shouts, "I've killed him!" and she cannot find the key to unlock the door and she cries and pounds on it.
 Dancers perform hip-hop continually through long scenes and become increasingly aggressive in their dance movements after ingesting LSD; they roam an abandoned building as we hear many screams on and off-screen amid continuous loud music. A man is knocked unconscious by another man. We see a few unconscious or sleeping people, and some people still under the influence; one woman screams in her sleep and another woman dances slowly by herself, looking dazed. Three women push each other angrily for several seconds. Two women push each other and shout.
 A man shouts, "Kill all the Yanks!" A woman calls out later, "I'll kill you," to a man we do not see; and later says, "I'm gonna kill myself," but she does not.
 During the initial effects of the drugging the camera circles among the people, above them, at floor-level, and upside down, indicating a drugged haze. The film contains continuous hip-hop and electronic music that is often loud and jarring. Frenetic sequences are filled with red and sickly green lighting.
 A woman runs off-screen to a bathroom where we see her bent over a basin, away from the camera and retching loudly (we see no vomit). A woman under the influence of LSD stands in the middle of a dance floor and urinates onto the concrete floor (we see the urine and see and hear it hit the floor to form a large puddle); another woman covers the urine with a large cloth.


 - About 29 F-words and its derivatives, 29 sexual references, 7 scatological terms, 12 anatomical terms, 13 mild obscenities, 1 derogatory term for lesbians, name-calling (crazy, nuts, dumb, weird, sicko, bitter, whore, slut, slimy, dirty, filthy), exclamations (shut-up), 5 religious exclamations (e.g. God Is With Us, Oh God). | profanity glossary |


 - About two dozen men and women repeatedly drink from a punch bowl of wine laced with LSD, a woman snorts cocaine from a step, a woman snorts cocaine on a kitchen counter (please see the Violence/Gore category for more details, a woman argues with another woman because the second woman will not share her cocaine, a woman asks another woman for cocaine and she says it is all gone, a woman says that cocaine is a remedy for LSD ingestion, a woman finds her young son drinking LSD-laced sangria and she grabs him and locks him in another room (please see the Violence/Gore category for more details), a woman puts drugged eye drops into her bloodshot eyes in close-up (the drug is unknown and her face becomes fuzzy and her eyes look dazed), and a man says that he likes to smoke marijuana (we do not see it). A woman says she hasn't drunk the wine at all because she is pregnant. Many men and women individually light and take a few puffs from a cigarette in different scenes and we see clouds of smoke, a man and a woman hold a cigarette in a few scenes, and a man carries an unlit cigarette behind one ear.


 - Spiking punch with dangerous drugs unbeknownst to guests, LSD hallucinations, relationships, fear, gossip, rivalry, jealousy, violence, judging one another, bigotry, bullying, misogyny, incest, unwanted sexual advances, LBGTQ people, violence, death, murder, the inevitability of chaos, the collapse of society, professional dancing, artistic expression.


 - Modern society is collapsing like a bad LSD trip.


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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