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The Lighthouse | 2019 | R | – 7.7.5

content-ratingsWhy is “The Lighthouse” rated R? The MPAA rating has been assigned for “sexual content, nudity, violence, disturbing images, and some language.” The evaluation includes an imagined sex scene between a man and a mermaid with partial nudity, and a couple of masturbation scenes with partial nudity; several yelling and fighting scenes between two men with some ending in bloody wounds and a presumed death, a violent act toward a seagull, imagined creatures and situations that become more intense as time passes, and a sense of isolation and desperation through most of the film; and at least 1 F-word and other strong language. Read our parents’ guide below for details on sexual content, violence & strong language.”

Two lighthouse keepers (Willem Dafoe and Robert Pattinson) arrive on a remote New England station sometime in the 1890s, where they are to remain for 4 weeks. As their time there draws to a close, the sea, the weather and their mental states become erratic, tension between them inevitably rises and the lines between reality and delusions become inexorably blurred. Also with Valeriia Karaman. Directed by Robert Eggers. [Running Time: 1:49]

The Lighthouse SEX/NUDITY 7

 – A man masturbates moving frantically (we see his bare side, abdomen and partial buttocks) as we hear slapping and grunting and the man looks at a small mermaid statue; he then imagines having sex with a mermaid on rocks (we see the creature’s bare breasts and gill-type formations on her lower abdomen area and it looks like genitalia) and the man thrusts on top of the mermaid (we see his bare buttocks and upper thighs) and he screams when he climaxes. A man masturbates and we see his bare lower abdomen and see and hear rhythmic movement and moaning.
 A man finds a woman lying motionless on rocks and when he moves the seaweed off her face and chest we see her bare breasts and abdomen, and a long mermaid’s tail as she sits up and screeches at him; he caresses her and then runs away. A fully nude man (we see his bare chest, abdomen, buttock and legs with a tuft of pubic hair visible and his genitals are hidden by his bent leg) stands near another man on craggy rocks (please see the Violence/Gore category for more details). A man finds a small statue of a mermaid in his bed’s mattress and we see that it is of a topless female form (the breasts are visible). We see a shirtless man with his bare chest and abdomen visible in a few scenes. A man’s pants are torn and we see his bare buttock exposed through one side of the fabric. A man wakes up after a night of hard drinking and pulls his pants up as he walks through a room (he is wearing long johns).
 A man peers into a room from the roof and sees a man sleeping and the sleeping man seems to be moving his hips rhythmically. Two men drink a lot in one evening and dance wildly singing and pounding on a table; they dance slowly together holding each other as one man sings to the other and move close to each other (seemingly to kiss, but they do not). A man asks another man if he feels shame when he lies with a woman.

The Lighthouse VIOLENCE/GORE 7

 – A man strikes another man in the shoulder with an axe (blood pulses out of the wound) and the wounded man hits him in the head with a tea kettle knocking him to the floor, where he is struck with the axe (below the frame) and blood sprays. Two men argue bitterly, they strangle each other, one man straddles the other, punches him in the face, and he imagines that the man is a woman and that a large octopus wraps its tentacles around his neck; the first man punches the second man in the face repeatedly, and kicks him leaving the man moaning on his side and the first man tells the injured man to bark like a dog and we then see him crawling on his hands and knees with a rope around his neck. A fully nude man is shown lying outside on rocks and birds peck at his body, with his bloody intestines pulled out of his abdomen and one eye missing, leaving a bloody hole and he twitches and whimpers. A man forces another man to crawl into a hole in the ground where the other man shovels dirt on top of him and into his mouth (he lies motionless in the hole).
 A seagull flutters around a man and squawks at him until the man catches it and slams it against a cement cistern repeatedly (we see the bird covered with blood and the cement stained with blood. Two men fight with punching and scrapping on the floor (no injuries are seen). A man slaps another man in the head when he questions his authority. A man throws a cup at another man and the other man flies into a rage yelling about calling forth a sea god and choking him with bilge and brine, as he holds a knife in his hand. A man sitting on a seat tied to a rope paints the side of a lighthouse and another man guides the rope from the top; the rope breaks and the painting man falls hard to the ground splattering paint on himself and the ground (we do not see any injury); a seagull pecks at his pant leg and the man shoos it away. A man hits his head on the ceiling of a room (no injury is seen).
 Waves crash through a cabin’s windows and throw two men among the rubble. A man sees something in the distance and when he goes to investigate he finds a nude woman covered with seaweed lying motionless on the rocks (please see the Sex/Nudity category for more details). A man imagines sinking under water and seeing a mermaid swimming nearby and screeching loudly. A man has a flashback to a logging operation and a body floating among logs in water a few times. A man imagines a creature with tentacles and suckers on it. A man imagines seeing a body floating in a cistern with maggots on it. A man raises a basket from the ocean and imagines seeing a man’s severed head inside it (we see blue-tinged flesh on the head) with a small crab skittering around it. A man imagines lying on rocks and another man stands over him taking an aggressive posture and bright lights stream from his eyes. A man goes to the light housing of a lighthouse and reaches in toward the light mechanism before being thrown down the winding stairs (we hear yelling as he falls).
 A man panics and runs from a lighthouse complex attempting to leave in a lifeboat until another man with an axe breaks it apart. A man punches a clock. A man threatens another man. A man threatens to dock another man’s wages if he contradicts him again. A man talks about a lumber job when another man slipped and fell into water among logs and when he called for help the second man just stood there. A man tells another man that a previous lighthouse keeper went mad. We hear the blaring of the lighthouse horn repeatedly throughout the movie and one man reacts to the sound when he is working inside the lighthouse. A man talks about another man’s “bare bleeding knuckles.” A man talks about his injured leg and refers to it as “me old stump.” A man talks about it being bad luck to harm a seagull. A man talks about seagulls harboring the souls of lost sailors that want their maker. Two men drink a lot of alcohol from bottles in several scenes and we see them singing, dancing and pounding on tables in a few scenes and arguing bitterly in others. A man yells and says that the “damp got to the provisions” and everything is spoiled. A man talks about someone’s mouth “oozed blood” and his “teeth dropped to the deck” and he mentions scurvy. A man yells at another man and says that he is only tolerable when he is drunk. A man laughs maniacally. Many scenes are accompanied by ominous music.
 A seagull squawks at a man and the man throws a piece of coal at it to make it move out of the way. A seagull pecks at a man’s window. A man hauls a heavy barrel of oil up a winding staircase. A man hauls wheel barrels of coal along a very muddy path repeatedly. Two men on a ship in thick fog arrive at a lighthouse station and two other men leave; they all carry provisions and baggage while traversing craggy rocks. Men nail boards to the windows of a lighthouse complex when heavy weather moves in with windows and large waves crashing against the rocks. A man raises a basket out of the ocean and we see lobsters inside.
 A man carries two open basins filled with dark urine and floating feces out of a cabin and along craggy rocks before throwing the contents off a cliff; the strong winds blow it back into his face and we see him splattered as he yells. A man vomits and we see goo and a little bit is left on his mustache. A man drinks water and spits it out as another man tells him that the cistern needs to be cleaned out. A man urinates in a cup and we see the stream. We hear trickling for an extended period of time and a man leans over from behind a post to move a waste pot across the floor as he flatulates twice (we understand that he was urinating in the pot). A man flatulates in bed. A man complains about another man flatulating. A man snorts and coughs a couple of times. A man opens a cistern and pours something into the liquid inside it. A man snores loudly in several scenes.

The Lighthouse LANGUAGE 5

 – At least 1 F-word, 10 scatological terms, 1 anatomical term, 11 mild obscenities, name-calling (dullard, too slow, stupid, tall tales, lying dog, dog, foul, rotten, spinster school marm, Captain Ahab, housewife, slave, whore, high tempered, drifter, lunatic, insubordinate, dirty, bastard, fool, tiresome, drunken liar, old timer, selfish, filthy dog), exclamations (no thank yee, I’ll be scuppered, shut-up), 13 religious profanities (GD), 3 religious exclamations (e.g. God, God Fearing, Jesus Mary and Joseph). | profanity glossary |

The Lighthouse SUBSTANCE USE

 – A man mixes what is probably kerosene with honey and drinks it, a man drinks from a jug (it could be kerosene), two men drink a lot of alcohol from a bottle in several scenes, a man pours two cups of liquor and raises his to make a toast (the other man refuses to drink), a man drinks several times at mealtime, and a man says the only medicine for doldrums is drink. A man smokes cigarettes in several scenes inside and outside a lighthouse and living quarters, and a man smokes a pipe in several scenes and holds it in his mouth upside down in a few.


 – Lighthouse keepers, boredom, the doldrums, St. Elmo, bad luck, madness, paranoia, guilty conscience, trust.

The Lighthouse MESSAGE

 – Isolation, raging seas and lighthouse work can make you lose your mind.


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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