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Son of Rambow | 2008 | PG-13 | - 3.5.5

An artistic middle-schooler (Bill Milner) grows up in a strict religious group in 1980s England known as The Brethren. The group forbids television, dancing, and fun. However, when the boy happens to see his first movie, "Rambo: First Blood," he is inspired to make his own film and turns to the school bully (Will Poulter) for help, since he seems a very likely character for a violent action movie. Also with Neil Dudgeon, Jessica Stevenson, Jules Sitruk, Anna Wing, Ed Westwick, Adam Godley, Adam Buxton and Eric Sykes. Directed by Garth Jennings. In English and French with some subtitles. [1:35]

SEX/NUDITY 3 - In a school yard scene, a male high school student lines up a dozen teenage girls and kisses each one for a prolonged period of time, rates them while a middle school youth records the disparaging comments on a clipboard, and the camera pans to another line of four girls already kissed and we see smudged lipstick on each one's mouth and face.
 At a party, a teen boy and girl kiss briefly.
 Many high school girls wear short skirts revealing black stockings underneath and high heels; the camera shows three close-ups of their legs. At a party, several high school girls wear low-cut blouses that reveal cleavage. A high school boy wears a red tank top made of partially transparent material throughout the film. In a dream, a boy imagines growing muscles that make him look like Rambo; he sees scenes of Rambo in a low-cut tank top that shows muscular arms and his upper chest.
 In a house, we see half a dozen life-sized nude statues, showing full frontal female nudity and male nudity except for covered genitals (shown four times).


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VIOLENCE/GORE 5 - A young boy is thrown out of a slow-moving jeep driven by a teenage boy and falls into a pit of oil and sludge and calls for help, but the driver runs away; the boy is pulled out as the building begins to crumble, rocks and cement fall and one boy is trapped under a large block of broken concrete and smaller rocks (we do not see any blood).
 In a scene from a movie a man is shown holding a large knife to a man's throat in a close-up and threatening to kill him, saying, "I swear to God I'll kill you." In a scene from a movie a man is told that he is to kill the enemy and that they always need 200 body bags after each one of his missions. Scenes from a movie with machine gun fire and flames from bombs are shown.
 We see a boy at home and his adult brother's friends knock him to the floor and punch and slap him briefly and the scene ends. A boy throws a ball down a school hall and hits another boy in the face; the two boys scuffle briefly, knock over a fish bowl, and break it. Two small groups of young people tackle one another (the fight ends quickly).
 An ambulance with its siren blaring speeds down a highway, we see an injured boy on a gurney being wheeled into an emergency room, his face covered with an oxygen mask and a small bit of blood and dirt on the his face, and another young boy in the ER chair has his arm stitched to close a minor wound (we see a red line, dirt smudges and a little blood).
 Two boys cut their palms with a penknife and join hands for several minutes to become blood brothers; they wear small bandages and one reveals a red scab to another youth and explains what becoming a blood brother means.
 A young boy practices punching and kicking in his kitchen while a church elder looks sternly through the backdoor window and returns later to take the boy away to an isolation unit of the church to re-indoctrinate him in The Brethren's beliefs, the boy runs, is grabbed by the elder and they argue.
 A boy visits a schoolmate in the hospital: the patient is wearing casts on his left arm and his left leg and his eyes are swollen and there are four or five stitches over his right eye.
 A boy stands against a fence and places a piggybank on his head while someone shoots it off with a crossbow (no one is hurt).
 Two boys meet several times dressed as Rambo and an army colonel and act out scenes from "First Blood": one boy swings on vines, jumps out of a tree while using an umbrella as a parachute (he is not hurt), allows himself to be catapulted over a wall into a soft bag of dirt, and he jumps into a lake and pretends to drown.
 Several young people film a mock ninja battle: one pretends to knock down three ninja warriors and another youth hits a scarecrow and the a boy with a tree branch, falls down, and two other boys argue.
 We see a short film with several scenes cut in from "First Blood," including machine gun fire, bombs smoking and flaming, and Rambo running through the forest with guns and knives.
 A kite attached to a stone dog statue sails into a school lab, knocks down a teacher and slams into a fire alarm button, sounding a loud alarm and when we see the teacher again he has stuck a pair of scissors up his nose (there is no blood).
 In two dreams, a boy sees an evil scarecrow grab him by the throat, uproot itself, and run toward a village.
 Cartoons drawn in a young boy's books show Rambo running through forests with a rifle, and two youth jumping through a forest, carrying rifles and knives. In a daydream, a boy sees cartoon bombs dropping from the air into fields, bursting into yellow flames and red lightning bolts.
 A teacher leads a boy out of school and places him on detention while other youths throw paper wads at him and tell him to go home.
 A boy waiting outside a headmaster's office tells another boy that he will take the blame because they will torture him and he is used to it; we later see the boy in a crowd of children, he groans, grimaces, and says his bottom hurts from torture (we know the boy was never called into the office).
 A group pickets in front of a movie theater where "FIRST BLOOD" appears on the marquee. A group of three male church elders goes to the house of a young girl, takes her record player, burns it on a pile of wood and leaves in her back yard as she watches sadly.
 A church elder sternly admonishes a young boy three times against movies, theater, novels, music, and television. A church elder criticizes family members at a dinner table, a woman takes his full dinner plate away from him, and the man leaves the house angrily. A boy is put out of a classroom by a yelling teacher whose words are not clear. A busload of students laugh at and mock a boy who drops presents out of his bag.
 A high school aged boy puts a cigarette to his lips as he stands in a line of middle school students and all are holding hands; a boy at the end of the line sticks his finger onto a live electric wire in the schoolyard and the high school student's cigarette turns black and lights up (implying that the electricity traveled through all the kids).
 A young boy spits water into a fish tank in a school hallway.
 Two young boys dress in military clothing, complete with battle fatigues, army berets, and headbands in an attempt to simulate Sylvester Stallone in the Rambo film series.


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LANGUAGE 5 - 1 F-word, 1 obscene gesture, 4 scatological references, 3 anatomical references, 5 mild obscenities, name-calling in English (idiot, bonkers), name-calling in French (not translated), 7 religious profanities, 5 religious exclamations.


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SUBSTANCE USE - A 12-year-old boy smokes a cigarette five times in the film, a high school exchange student smokes cigarettes throughout the film (sometimes in a schoolyard), a high school aged boy puts a cigarette to his lips as he stands in a line of middle school students and all are holding hands; a boy at the end of the line sticks his finger onto a live electric wire in the schoolyard and the high school student's cigarette turns black and lights up (implying that the electricity traveled through all the kids), and a cartoon fish is drawn smoking a corncob pipe. At a school party, students of middle school and high school ages mix Pop Rocks candy and carbonated beverages in order to feel extra strong fizzing in their mouths.


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DISCUSSION TOPICS - Adventure films, movie stars, fantasy, imagination, religion, rules, abusiveness, honesty, relationships, war, death, weapons, loneliness, jealousy, integrity, friendship.

MESSAGE - Real friends are better than movies.

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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