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Mank | 2020 | R | – 4.4.5

content-ratingsWhy is “Mank” rated R? The MPAA rating has been assigned for “some language.” The Kids-In-Mind.com evaluation includes some nudity and references to sex, a car accident ending in injuries, a suicide by gunshot (off-screen), many arguments, discussions of political manipulation and contractual obligations, and at least 5 F-words and other strong language. Read our parents’ guide below for details on sexual content, violence & strong language.


A tribute to celebrated screenwriter Herman J. Mankiewicz (Gary Oldman), who shared credit and a writing Oscar with Orson Welles (Tom Burke) for 1941’s “Citizen Kane,” often considered the greatest film of all time. The black-and-white movie follows Mankiewicz as he recovers from an accident, struggling with alcoholism and with finishing a first draft in a few weeks. Also with Amanda Seyfried, Lily Collins, Tom Pelphrey, Arliss Howard, Tuppence Middleton, Monika Gossmann, Joseph Cross, Sam Troughton, Toby Leonard Moore, Charles Dance and Ferdinand Kingsley. Directed by David Fincher. A few lines of dialogue are spoken in German, Latin and Hebrew with English subtitles or translation. [Running Time: 2:11]

Mank SEX/NUDITY 4

 – A woman wearing only pasties over her nipples (we see her bare shoulders, breasts and abdomen) sits in a meeting room at a typewriter while men discuss a movie; one man says that he would like to see her in a tight sweater as he leaves the room. Women wear skimpy outfits at a party and we see cleavage, bare shoulders and legs to the hips. A large sign is carried across a movie lot and we see a woman wrapped with a snake (we see bare shoulders and legs) and a title that reads, “Lizard Girl.” Women wear short shorts on a movie lot (we see bare legs to the hips) and women wear low-cut dresses that reveal cleavage, bare shoulders and backs in several scenes.
 A husband and his wife dance at a party.
 A woman complains about “hookers” going up and down the stairs all night on her honeymoon. A reference is made to whether or not a word in a screenplay is an affectionate term given by a man to the genitalia of his mistress. A woman talks about her relationship with a much older man. A wife refers to her husband’s “platonic affairs.”

Mank VIOLENCE/GORE 4

 – A man drives a car, he is distracted, loses his grip and drives off the road; we later see the car overturned on the side of the road with emergency vehicles around it, the passenger on a stretcher and then in the hospital, and the driver with his arm in a sling. We hear a punch land off-screen as a man stumbles while being yelled at by another man and threatening to castrate him. An inebriated and depressed man unloads a gun and gives the bullets to another man that leaves him in an office alone; we later hear a gunshot and see a flash and understand that the man has taken his own life (off screen).
 A woman finds a man unconscious in bed and thinks that he has died after drinking a bottle of liquor; we discover that the bottle contained a sedative. A man stumbles out of a car, falls onto a cart with luggage on it and wakes up in a bed to a woman screaming in the distance; he walks toward the sound and finds a woman on a movie set preparing to be “burned at the stake” by Native Americans. A man is shown on crutches with a cast covering one leg to the waist. We see people gathered at a funeral and understand that a man died. A man breaks a glass with a knife at a large dinner party, trying to get people’s attention. A man yells and throws a crate filled with cigarettes and glass bottles against a fireplace hearth; it breaks and spills liquid on the floor.
 Men argue over contractual obligations in a few scenes. A man tells another man that his deadline for a screenplay is 30 days sooner than they originally discussed. A man talks about feeling trapped. A woman talks about a man fracturing another man’s wrist when they were “Indian wrestling.” A woman receives a letter saying that her husband’s ship sunk during WWII and that he is “presumed lost at sea”; she drops the letter and stumbles out of the room. A man says of another man, “If I go to the electric chair, I’d like him to be sitting in my lap.” A man talks to his employees about the economic woes of the studio and tells them that he will have to cut their pay. A woman yells at a man and says, “I will not be bullied.” A woman says that a man sponsored her entire village to get them out of Germany during WWII. A man says, “They’ll stone you to death.” A propaganda reel shows people jumping from a train car and they are described as “boxcar tourists.” A man talks about having been attacked when he was a child and that the attacker crushed his testicles. A man chases a car and jumps inside where he tries to convince a woman to tell another man something (the man breathes heavily after the chase); the woman says, “I don’t lie.” Two men bet a large sum of money on election results. A man calls a woman and she tells him that she is worried about her husband because he left the house with a gun and he was very upset about something. A man describes a woman as being below a man’s social stratum.
 An inebriated man gags and vomits on the floor in a large dining room where people are seated at a long table (we see goo and hear splattering). A nurse uses a stick to scratch under a man’s cast while he lies on a table. A man spits and we see saliva. A man refers to “breaking wind.” A woman says, “I’m going to throw up” and leaves the room (we do not see or hear vomiting).

Mank LANGUAGE 5

 – About 5 F-words, 8 sexual references, 6 scatological terms, 5 anatomical terms, 12 mild obscenities, name-calling (Poor Sara, aloof, freak, hayseed, gals, gangster, muckraker, callousness, lousy Bolshevik, naive, lunatic, nonsense, rat, Bolshevik, provocateur, creeper, disaster, ruined man, poor downtrodden man, loose cannon, washed-up alcoholic, idealist, bullheaded, menace, stupid, whore, dog faced, absurdly rich, menace, bastard, blabbermouth, jumble, troll, hodgepodge, court jester, scattered, brown shirts, chip off the old block, uninspired, xenophobic, party hack, constipated Oxford don, Shnutz, Schlub, chief, miserable, old-fashioned, pathetic lapdog, valiant laddie), exclamations (cheerio, oops, blew my wig, pardon, nerts, nuts, jeepers, yikes, you can kiss my half), 5 religious profanities (GD), 13 religious exclamations (e.g. Oh Lord, Praise God, God, Jesus, Mother Of God, Oh My God, God Punishing You, For Christ’s Sakes, God Bless, Men Playing God, On God’s Green Earth, Godless Commie, Unholy [mild obscenity deleted]). | profanity glossary |

Mank SUBSTANCE USE

 – Initially thinking that they are liquor a man drinks bottles of a sedative (off-screen), and a man says, “Someone slipped me a mickey.” A man tells another man that the house he will be staying in is “dry” and no alcohol is permitted, people at a party drink excessively and several people also smoke cigarettes, a man is very drunk and talks about feeling guilty about something he did, we understand that a man is an alcoholic and is shown drinking heavily in many scenes throughout the movie, people drink at a party, men drink and smoke while playing cards, a man tells another man that he is in a perfect place to “dry out” and the other man says that “it didn’t take,” a man drinks from a flask, a man and a woman drink a toast with glasses of whiskey, a wife refers to her husband’s drinking as “suicidal,” a woman finds a bottle of liquor in a hiding place and drinks from it, men and women drink champagne, and we read that a man died from complications due to alcoholism. A man smokes in many scenes (including in bed), a man smokes a pipe in a meeting room, a man smokes a cigar in an office, a man and a woman smoke cigarettes on a movie set, and a man smokes on a beach.

Mank DISCUSSION TOPICS

 – The movie business, screenwriting, competition, alcoholism, unionizing, larceny, hypocrisy, socialism, communism, anarchists, capitalism, muckraking, political manipulation, propaganda, the Great Depression, betrayal, suicide, grief, integrity, Parkinson’s Disease, friendship, loyalty, self-absorption, Nazis, Hitler, William Randolph Hearst, Louis B. Mayer, Upton Sinclair, coercion, gambling.

Mank MESSAGE

 – Herman J. Mankiewicz was a good man and a genius but had to struggle with his own addictions and self-destructive behavior.

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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