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Monster | 2018 | R | – 1.5.8

content-ratingsWhy is “Monster” rated R? The MPAA rating has been assigned for “language throughout, some violence and bloody images.” The Kids-In-Mind.com evaluation includes a kissing scene between teens, a death by gunshot during a robbery with blood shown, several prison scenes with intimidation and bullying by inmates and guards, discussions of gang violence, and nearly 40 F-words and other strong language. Read our parents’ guide below for details on sexual content, violence & strong language.


A 17-year-old honor student (Kelvin Harrison, Jr.) attending an elite high school and concentrating on filmmaking, faces a complicated murder trial that could ruin his chances for a successful future. Also with Jennifer Hudson, Jeffrey Wright, Jennifer Ehle, John David Washington, A$AP Rocky, Tim Blake Nelson, Nasir Jones and Paul Ben-Victor. Directed by Anthony Mandler. A few lines of dialogue are spoken in Spanish without translation. [Running Time: 1:38]

Monster SEX/NUDITY 1

 – A teen boy and a teen girl kiss for several seconds in a long shot.
 A teen girl in a still photo has her lips puckered toward the camera. During an informal basketball game among teen boys and twenty-something men, a man shouts, “Lay me!” A man tells a teen boy that a woman standing beside a red curtain in the top floor window of a building is a prostitute.
 In a prison, we see a teen boy from the waist up in a cubicle while we hear him zipping his trousers below the frame; a woman enters the frame, apologizes, and turns away while the boy is zipping. A teen boy is shown shirtless briefly in several scenes and one of the scenes shows his bare shoulders while in a shower.

Monster VIOLENCE/GORE 5

 – Video footage shows two men wearing hoodies entering a bodega where a clerk pulls out a pistol and the other men jump on him, beat and kick him below the frame, as we hear grunting and a gunshot; the clerk falls to the floor and we see blood covering his side, the attackers grab money from a cash drawer and six cartons of cigarettes and run outside. In a flashback, we see police looking at a dead man lying in a large pool of blood. In a court scene, a witness says a bullet entered one side, tore through the lungs, damaged other organs, and caused the victim to drown in his own blood.
 A detective goes to a house and arrests a teen boy for murder as the boy’s parents shout and struggle with the detective and he handcuffs the boy, pushes him outside, and puts him into the back of a police cruiser as the driver taps the siren several times to back the parents away from the car and the boy looks frightened and sweaty; the scene cuts to an interrogation room where he is accused of murder and is asked if he belongs to a gang and if has any diseases, especially AIDS (he denies all of it); we then see the boy having mugshots taken and being led to prison wearing a jumpsuit.
 A few scenes include prisoners off-screen and on-screen as they curse and shout. Two scenes feature prisoners yelling and screaming and guards shouting at them to quiet down. Three close-ups show a man’s wrists in handcuffs. A teen boy says that men steal his food in prison and then we see an older prisoner yell at him and push him away from the prisoners’ telephone. A guard shouts at a teen boy to get out of the shower because he’s been in too long (please see the Sex/Nudity category for more details).
 In a courtroom, a woman approaches a teen defendant and a guard stops her, she struggles with the guard and she and her husband raise their voices for several seconds as the teen is led away to jail. A twenty-something defendant rises during a trial and shouts, but sits down when the judge rebukes him and a guard grabs him. A man wearing a prison jumpsuit and a wide leather restraining belt around his waist attached to handcuffs testifies during a trial. A 15-year-old boy testifies that he joined a gang and helped two members rob a bodega because he was afraid of an older gang member threatening to cut him up; he states that gang initiation required him to cut the face of a stranger to leave a mark. A hand gesture in the shape of a pistol is made.
 In a silent scene, a man found guilty of murder in court looks angry. A teen boy says that he still hears the screams of the prisoners and the shouting of the guards in prison.
 A man and a woman argue. A teen boy argues loudly with a woman. A young man shouts at a teen boy for several seconds. A teen boy accosts another teen boy on a sidewalk and walks away, mocking him for wanting to be a filmmaker. Video footage features a twenty-something man telling a teen boy that a gang member shot his best friend in the face for stealing something. A teen boy leaves his house at night and sees a police cruiser speed by with flashing lights and sounding siren; the boy walks a short distance and finds many lighted prayer candles on a sidewalk to commemorate two people in a blurry photograph.

Monster LANGUAGE 8

 – About 39 F-words and its derivatives, 1 obscene hand gesture, 14 scatological terms, 12 anatomical terms, 3 mild obscenities, 22 derogatory terms for African-American people, 1 derogatory term for gay people, name-calling (monster, cynics, stupid, murderers, boojie, creeps, suckers, Knockoff Supreme), exclamations (shut-up, whoa, whoo, arghhh), 2 religious profanities (GD), 9 religious exclamations (e.g. God, God Is Love, In God We Trust, So Help You God, and a few lines of scripture recited by a woman and teen boy). | profanity glossary |

Monster SUBSTANCE USE

 – A man says he was sent to prison for dealing drugs and a man tells a teen boy that men standing on street corners sell drugs (we do not see drugs). A woman holds a glass of wine and does not drink from it, and a man says that another man was drinking and gambling. Two men light and smoke cigars at night on a sidewalk creating large white smoke clouds.

Monster DISCUSSION TOPICS

 – Systemic racism, police profiling of young Black men, America’s criminal justice system, overworked public defenders, Black Lives Matter, anger, fear, depression, oppression, justice, choices, truth, point of view, filmmaking.

Monster MESSAGE

 – Stand on your own truth.

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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