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The Pale Blue Eye | 2022 | R | – 3.5.5

content-ratingsWhy is “The Pale Blue Eye” rated R? The MPAA rating has been assigned for “some violent content and bloody images.” The Kids-In-Mind.com evaluation includes a rape, a couple of implied sex scenes, a discussion of a castration, several scenes of deaths by hanging with the victims’ chests cut open and bloody and references to their hearts being removed, discussions of dead animals with a bloody carcass shown, several arguments, references to Satanic rituals, references to witches and the occult, and at least 3 F-words and other strong language. Read our parents’ guide below for details on sexual content, violence & strong language.


A retired police detective (Christian Bale) is called to the West Point Academy in 1830, after a cadet’s body is found hanging in the woods. While the apparent suicide is suspicious, when someone steals the heart from the dead body, the detective elicits the help of another cadet, a young Edgar Allan Poe (Harry Melling). Also with Simon McBurney, Timothy Spall, Toby Jones, Harry Lawtey, Fred Hechinger, Joey Brooks, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Lucy Boynton, Robert Duvall and Gillian Anderson. Directed by Scott Cooper. A few lines of dialogue are spoken in French with English subtitles, and a few lines of dialogue are spoken in Latin without translation. [Running Time: 2:08]

The Pale Blue Eye SEX/NUDITY 3

 – A young woman is grabbed and held by three young men while she struggles, and we’re told she was raped (please see the Violence/Gore category for more details). A young woman scrubs her skirt frantically and mutters after having been raped (a man imagines this scene).
 A man lies in bed with a woman in a few scenes (sex is implied), the woman caresses the man’s face in one scene, the man caresses the woman’s shoulder in another scene, and we see the man shirtless in a couple of those scenes (his bare shoulders and chest are visible). A man and a young woman walk arm in arm.
 A man professes his love to a young woman. A man says that a young man’s body was “violated” in the hospital ward (please see the Violence/Gore category for more details) and in another scene a man says a dead man was castrated. A man says that his daughter “ran off with someone.” A man asks a young woman on a date. A man describes a young woman’s beauty.
 A woman’s low-cut dress reveals cleavage in a couple of scenes.

The Pale Blue Eye VIOLENCE/GORE 5

 – A man hits a young man hard in the head, wraps a rope around his neck and pulls him up into a tree where he holds the rope until the young man stops moving. We hear that a young man is missing from a military academy and we see search parties combing wooded areas; we see a young man hanging from a tree with a bloody hole in his chest and blood on his face and after the autopsy a doctor refers to the victim having been castrated (we do not see this). A man beats a young man in the head and face (we see his blood-covered face and hear thuds). A man is shown hanging from a noose attached to a tree in thick fog in several scenes. An unconscious man lies on a table and blood drips down his arm and off his hand as a woman smears blood on her face and recites a ritual while holding a heart in her hands. A man holds a knife over an unconscious man and prepares to kill him when a stand of candles is tipped over and bales of hay catch fire igniting the room, which crumbles and flaming timbers fall on a man and a woman (we see blood from a head wound). A young woman is grabbed in a dark tunnel and held by three young men as we’re told they rape her; we see her with bloody wounds on her face and she is in shock later. A young woman runs along snowy trails to a cliff over water; she stands facing a man that tries to convince her to come away from the edge and she falls backward and out of sight (presumably killing herself).
 A man says that a young man’s body was “violated” in the hospital ward and we see the body with a large open wound down his chest as we are told that someone removed his heart; a man pulls the incision open and we hear squishing. A young man’s body is shown in a tub of water (to preserve it) and we see a bruise around his neck and throat from a rope and a man examines the back of the young man’s head where we are told he was struck. A man pries the fingers of a dead young man open (we see the blue tinged flesh and discolored nails) and we hear cracking. A man washes blood from a weapon.
 A man walks alone on a dark and wooded path and we hear animals howling; he is jumped by a young man, knocked to the ground, beaten in the head and face and strangled until another man kicks the attacker, raises a weapon over him and threatens him with court-martial.
 A woman collapses on the ground and thrashes while having a seizure; she revives and seems OK. A young woman scrubs her skirt frantically and mutters after having been raped (a man imagines this scene). Mourners gather at a graveside funeral. A man is shown recovering in a hospital bed.
 An animal carcass is nailed to a tree stump and we see blood on its fur and what looks like a spike through its eye. We hear that a sheep and a cow were killed and the hearts were removed. A man walks through a dark icehouse and through a hatch in the floor to find blood and scratches on a floor where he suspects a mystical ritual was performed.
 A woman yells, pounds on a dining table and breaks her plate before storming out of the room. A man yells at another man and accuses him of crimes. A man talks about another man threatening to kill someone. A man yells at another man in a few scenes. A man confronts a young man for breaking curfew on military academy grounds. A man says that a young man hanged himself. A voice-over lists several crimes that were solved. A man is described as a widower. A man says that his daughter ran off. A young woman coughs in several scenes and is described as being ill. A man talks about something being dictated by his dead mother. There are several references to people communicating with the dead. People talk about the execution of witches; we see an etching of demonic characters in a book that describes rituals performed with the use of the hearts of unbaptized children and hanged men. A young woman tells a man, “I’m being a horror” when she speaks to him abruptly. We hear that a young man is missing from a military academy and it is suspected that he has been murdered (he ran away).
 A man grieves over his dead wife in several scenes (we see photos and items that belonged to her). A young woman is described as being in “profound distress.”

The Pale Blue Eye LANGUAGE 5

 – About 3 F-words, 3 sexual references, 2 mild obscenities, name-calling (madman, bad bunch, ungainly, un-Christian, arcane, unbecoming brazenness, appalling, savage, fools, poor bloke, madness, inhuman, evil, misunderstood, devil worshipper, tiresome old fellow, rude, disturbing, absurd, bastards, ugly, bully), exclamations (oh), 16 religious exclamations (e.g. oh My Lord, oh Lord, God’s originating design, my God, God help us, God himself, Christ Almighty, un-Christian, stain on Christ, God, oh God, oh my God, creature of God). | profanity glossary |

The Pale Blue Eye SUBSTANCE USE

 – A man guzzles a beer from a tankard in the morning, people are shown drinking in several bar scenes (sometimes to apparent drunkenness), several young men drink shots with one man drinking many shots of what we are told is “mash,” a man is told that while on a job he is forbidden from drinking, two men drink glasses of liquor in a man’s study, and people drink wine with a meal.

The Pale Blue Eye DISCUSSION TOPICS

 – Murder, military academies, suicide, rape, death of loved ones, morbidity, hostility, revenge, melancholy, communicating with the dead, devil worship, magic, immortality, the occult, evil, sanity, facts, truth, mystery, sacrifice.

The Pale Blue Eye MESSAGE

 – Grief and revenge, as well as the occult, can drive one to crime.

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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