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Knives Out | 2019 | PG-13 | – 2.5.5

content-ratingsWhy is “Knives Out” rated PG-13? The MPAA rating has been assigned for “thematic elements including brief violence, some strong language, sexual references, and drug material.” The evaluation includes a photo of a kiss, a few discussions of infidelity and masturbation, and a few cleavage revealing outfits; a dead man is shown several times and we hear discussions of how the man died, there are many arguments between family members and other people, and there are several vomit scenes; and at least 2 F-words and other strong language. Read our parents’ guide below for details on sexual content, violence & strong language.”

A wealthy crime novelist (Christopher Plummer) gathers his large dysfunctional family to his Gothic mansion for his 85th birthday party, hoping for a happy evening. However, the next day, he is found dead. A suave private detective (Daniel Craig) suspects foul play and begins investigating, and all the family members are suspects. Also with Chris Evans, Ana de Armas, Jamie Lee Curtis, Michael Shannon, Don Johnson, Toni Collette, Lakeith Stanfield, Katherine Langford, Edi Patterson, Riki Lindhome, Frank Oz and M. Emmet Walsh and Jaeden Martell. Directed by Rian Johnson. A few lines of dialogue are spoken in Spanish without translation. [Running Time: 2:10]

Knives Out SEX/NUDITY 2

 – We see a photo of a married man kissing a woman in a car and another man threatens that he will report him to his wife; a brief argument ensues.
 A woman finds a note from a man that reveals information about her husband’s infidelity and she looks sad. A woman accuses a teen boy of masturbating in the bathroom to pictures of Syrian refugees and dead deer (we do not see the act). A man accuses a teen boy of masturbating to unknown pictures on his cell phone (we do not see the act). A woman screams at a younger woman, demanding to know if she was “bonking” an old man (there’s no answer).
 A woman wears a long opaque sleeping gown with a V-neckline that reveals cleavage. A woman wears a blouse with sheer inserts that reveal cleavage. A woman at a family party writhes and shimmies to music and everyone ignores her.


 – A man enters a dark basement and argues with a woman, grabs and chloroforms her with a handkerchief, and stabs a hypodermic syringe into her body when she falls to the floor. A woman in a dark basement approaches another woman seated in a chair and using a flashlight she sees a large spider walk across the seated woman’s face and eye; the seated woman gasps, chokes, and has a croaking voice (we see an empty vial and hypodermic syringe on the floor) and she falls and shudders as the first woman calls 911 and administers CPR (we later hear that the woman died).
 A woman takes a tray to a man in his home office and finds him dead on the couch with his throat slit (we see a thick line of blood), and a knife with some blood on one edge lies on the floor; the woman screams and when police investigate they pronounce that a suicide occurred, but a private detective says it is murder, causing the dead man’s family members to become irritable over having to stay for questioning.
 A woman injects two syringes of clear medications into a needle taped into a man’s arm (we see her push the plunger of the hypo) and when the woman thinks that she overdosed the man with morphine, she cannot find an antidote, and can’t reach EMTS; she argues with the man, leaves the room, but returns and in close-up, we see the man lying on a couch with a long knife at his own throat and we see and hear him cut across his throat, leaving a line of blood and a little blood on the knife edge as he dies and the camera cuts to outdoors, where an ambulance pulls up with sirens sounding and lights flashing and the sequence ends.
 A man and a woman walk into a house where a large family is gathered; the woman begins speaking as the man reads a toxicology report, he shouts at her to stop and then shouts at the family; he says they are vultures with knives out and beaks bloody, as a woman laughs, another man and the first woman argue, the man grabs a knife from a large display, charges at the woman in slow motion and others try to stop him as he lands on top of the woman now on the floor where he tries to stab her in the chest; he fails and police arrest him after he shouts in the woman’s face.
 Two men shout, push, and slap at each other for several seconds, then a woman screams at them and pushes them apart. Family members shout and curse at one another. A woman screams at a detective and police to get out of the house. A man and a woman drive away from a house as the others inside argue. Two women argue loudly for several seconds. Two women argue briefly in untranslated Spanish. A man at a house party drops a plate that we hear crash to the floor and a woman screams at the sound. A man shouts at another man. A woman shouts at three men. A man argues loudly in different scenes with one of three men and with a woman when he accuses her of embezzling family money. We hear that a woman’s mother is an undocumented immigrant and a man confronts the woman outside her home, threatening to turn her mother over to immigration authorities; he pounds the tip of his cane into the porch floor loudly each time he takes one of three limping steps toward her until she escapes into her house and locks the door. A mob of family members crowd a woman and demand money, but she escapes and drives away. A man argues with a woman who cries several times. A distraught woman says, “I feel like I swallowed a bee.” A woman says that a woman she knows committed suicide. A man says an old man committed suicide. A man and a woman argue about children in cages at the US southern border. A man says about another man, “I could have killed him.” Two large dogs jump playfully around a man, nipping at his coat, and one night, they bark and prevent him from entering a gate.
 A woman in a car stops at a Medical Examiner’s office as we see firemen pumping water into the smoldering structure amid a few small flames (the building is charred and gutted) and when the woman speeds away, police cruisers chase her; one cruiser crashes into a wall, another cruiser is stopped by a narrow opening to an alley, and the woman stops and a detective arrests her male passenger.
 An isolated mansion in filled with taxidermied small animals, as well as skeletons and skulls in paintings and on a stained glass panel. A large stand made of concentric circles of metal contains over one hundred sharp knives pointed toward the center. A man stabs a knife into a wooden tabletop. A video overheats in a VCR, pops up, and smoke billows.
 A woman climbs a trellis, slips, grabs another part of the wooden structure, and a piece falls off, she enters a third floor window, looks for a medical bag, she climbs back down the trellis and leaves; a man later goes through the same actions (without slipping), cannot find the medical bag, and leaves. A man walks into a house and steals a vial of Naloxone from a medical bag after using syringes to switch different concentrations of morphine between two vials. In a family gathering, we see a rubber head of an old man hanging in a corner.
 A woman in a parlor gags and projectile vomits a large quantity of vomit and food chunks into a man’s face (we see goo splatter on the man’s face). A woman says, “Even the thought of lying makes me puke,” and she vomits loudly into a toilet as she kneels (the sink cabinet obscures her and we do not see goo). A woman in a car vomits loudly into a cup and the cup obscures her mouth and nose (we do not see goo). A woman on a patio bends over into a large flowerpot, retching and vomiting and her head is obscured (we do not see goo). There are several references to vomiting.

Knives Out LANGUAGE 5

 – About 2 F-words, 27 scatological terms, 15 anatomical terms, 18 mild obscenities, name-calling (crazy, dumb, stupid, schmuck, beaner, troll, vile, good-nik, nuts, Brazilian nuts, black sheep, overachievers, trust-fund-[anatomical term deleted], pack of vultures, vicious little [mild obscenity deleted], worthless little brat, dirty Inca baby, CSI-KFC, Kentucky fried Foghorn Leghorn drawl), exclamations (shut-up, pshaw), 7 religious profanities (GD), 24 religious exclamations (e.g. Oh My God, Oh God, My God, God, Sweet Jesus, Oh Lord, Jesus, God Bless You, For God’s Sake, Holy [scatological term deleted], and a woman meditates while saying “Ooom keshoom”). | profanity glossary |


 – A man asks if a woman has been smoking grass (marijuana) and she says no, and a woman removes two vials (Toradol and morphine) from a medical bag and pushes clear medications into a needle already in a man’s arm (please see the Violence/Gore category for more details). Several men and women at a party drink from champagne glasses and a woman holds a huge martini glass, an empty wine bottle is seen on a table, a woman is offered champagne at a party and she declines, a man drinks a glass of whiskey, a beer bottle is seen untouched in front of a man on a table in a café, a man has four empty beer bottles and a cocktail in front of him that he does not drink, and a man tells another man that a third man had “Irish courage” (implying alcohol). A man bites the end of a long cigar before lighting it and smokes several puffs, a man smokes a short cigar, a woman puffs once on a vape device and makes a large amount of white smoke, a woman asks a nurse if she has her “stuff” (not identified), a woman digs in a bag and removes a cigarette that she lights and puffs once, a woman lights a cigarette with a lighter and uses it to reveal words written in invisible ink on a paper (please see the Sex/Nudity category for more details), a man smokes a cigar on a porch, and a man smokes a cigarette on a porch.


 – Angry families, game playing, money, power, control, greed, aggression, threats, illegal immigration, blackmail, violence, murder, death, loss, feeling guilty, communication, relationships, friendship, family, phonies, honesty, generosity, dysfunctional families, greedy relatives, patriarchs, teenagers, rich white people, embezzlers, liars, super-detectives, racists/immigrant haters, nurses, altruistic people, people who think all older people are deaf, unfaithful husbands, Valley Girls, ethnic and regional stereotypes.

Knives Out MESSAGE

 – Play the game of life by your own rules.


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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