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Tesla | 2020 | PG-13 | – 5.4.1

content-ratingsWhy is “Tesla” rated PG-13? The MPAA rating has been assigned for “for some thematic material and nude images.” The Kids-In-Mind.com evaluation includes some flirtatious scenes, nudity in paintings and other partial nudity, a couple of brief scenes of electrocution of a man and a dog, many discussions of the danger of AC current vs. DC current, descriptions of people dying in a variety of ways (accidental and illness), and some arguments and name-calling. Read our parents’ guide below for details on sexual content, violence & strong language.


A surrealistic, often anachronistic interpretation of the interactions 19th century inventor Nikola Tesla (Ethan Hawke) had with Thomas Edison (Kyle MacLachlan), George Westinghouse (Jim Gaffigan), financier J.P. Morgan’s daughter Anne (Eve Hewson) and famous actress Sarah Bernhardt (Rebecca Dayan), as he struggles to promote alternating current as the best solution to electrifying the world. Also with Dan Bittner, David Kallaway, Karl Geary and Ebon Moss-Bachrach. Directed by Michael Almereyda. [Running Time: 1:42]

Tesla SEX/NUDITY 5

 – A woman’s dress is made from sheer fabric with strategically placed sequins: her cleavage, abdomen and nipples are visible, as well as an undergarment that covers her groin but reveals her legs to the hips. A painting shows several topless women (we see bare breasts and abdomens). A large painting shows many nude men (we see bare chests, abdomens, buttocks and genitals).
 A man kisses a woman’s hand.
 A man stares into a woman’s eyes and she tells him, “Looking at me like that has consequences.” We hear that a man was drawn to a woman. We hear that a woman married at the age of 16 and died at 25. A man talks to another man about chastity and says, “A great inventor should never marry.” A woman remarks about finally finding someone that wanted her and mentions another woman’s name (it is not clear if this was a romantic relationship).


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Tesla VIOLENCE/GORE 4

 – A dog has straps wrapped around its legs and a man initiates an electric current: we hear the dog yelp and hear a thump when it falls dead off-screen as people in the room cringe and look away. A convict on death row is seated in a chair, a cloth is tied around his face and a head piece is placed over his head; we understand that an electric current has been switched on and the head piece and presumably the man’s head smoke while people gathered in the room watch and we hear that the death was gruesome with some blood trickling from his hand after 1000V was sent through his body.
 Two men poke each other with ice cream cones ending with one being poked in the face (we see ice cream smeared on his face but hear that this actually never happened). A man throws a tennis racket at a fence and another man stands on the other side; they argue briefly. A movie shows men shooting guns at each other (we do not see bloodshed). We see photographs of young children sleeping on the streets and one photo shows several young people sitting on a curb next to the body of a dead horse.
 A man says that he was challenged to a duel with electrical currents (AC vs. DC). A man talks about using an electric current to put a man to death instead of hanging. A man yells at another man about his experiment blowing up a generator and the whole town is without power. A woman reprimands a man for telling a reporter about his belief that he received a message from Mars; he says, “Alien life is a statistical certainty.” We hear that a man killed his wife and that he has been sentenced to death. A man talks about his brother being killed from a throw from a horse and that the boy’s mother made him kiss the dead boy on the lips and he describes them as being “cold lips.” A man tells a story about someone drowning and that as a child the man didn’t realize that some people couldn’t swim. We hear that a woman died of a morphine overdose. A man talks about an electrical current being tested on a dog. We hear that a woman married at the age of 16 and died at 25. We hear that a man died alone in a hotel. A man asks another man if he has “ever eaten human flesh.” A man talks about not being able to compete with his brother and says, “Nothing grows in the shadow of an oak.” We hear that Thomas Edison’s wife died. A woman talks about her cousin dying and that she believed that the current of an electric light made her spirit remain with her. A man says, “It’s war.” A man asks another man if an electric current would cause death in a human “in every case.” A man says that a human would be mummified if a current was allowed to pulse through the body for several minutes. We hear that a man’s wife died from TB and that he was devastated by the loss. A man says that he sometimes has unfavorable reactions to pearls, after he falls while roller-skating. A man speaks dismissively to another man and says that he “quit” working for him. We hear that a man was stricken with altitude sickness. A man compulsively cleans flatware and dishes with napkins at a table in a restaurant. A woman says, “I die so much [on-stage] that I feel immortal.” A woman talks about people in her audiences coughing a lot. A woman asks a man, “Suppose you had to cut off your head and give it to someone else. This is what love is like.” We hear that people swindled a man out of everything he had and that he became a ditch digger to survive. We hear about a cholera epidemic. A man says that people “died like dogs.” A woman talks about her father having a “hideous skin disease on his nose.” A woman says that another woman travels in a coffin and that she sleeps in it. A sign outside a lab reads, “Great Danger

 – Keep Out.”
 A woman performs on stage and we see her playing death scenes. Men and women wearing roller skates stumble in a couple of scenes and one man falls on the floor (he is unharmed). A man conducts experiments with electricity and builds a tall tower where lightning flashes in the sky and electric reverberates through the inside of the tower.


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Tesla LANGUAGE 1

 – 1 mild obscenity, name-calling (poor immigrant, precocious, deadly, impractical, insignificant, imbecilic, ugly, cat skinner, weak, vagabond, bottomless pit, retched economist, hopeless, recklessness of men, boastful), exclamations (mind over matter, we beat him), 2 religious profanities (GD). | profanity glossary |


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Tesla SUBSTANCE USE

 – We hear that a woman died of a morphine overdose. A couple of men drink whiskey in a scene, men drink in a bar, people drink wine with a meal, a man drinks a glass of wine, a man and woman have wine with a meal, a man drinks brandy, a woman holds a bottle of champagne and pours two glasses (she seems inebriated), and a man drinks from a flask. Men smoke cigars in several scenes throughout the movie.


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Tesla DISCUSSION TOPICS

 – Nikola Tesla, Thomas Edison, George Westinghouse, J.P. Morgan, Sarah Bernhardt, Anne Morgan, electricity, failing economy, expectations, hope, making money, AC vs. DC, the electric chair, revolution, OCD, secrecy, fear, limitations, vindication, death penalty, sense of humor, being born rich, tuberculosis, the Civil War, idealism vs. Capitalism, disappointment, invention, patents, poverty.

Tesla MESSAGE

 – Idealism will inevitably clash with capitalism and public relations.

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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We are a totally independent website with no connections to political, religious or other groups & we neither solicit nor choose advertisers. You can help us keep our independence with a donation.

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