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Uncle Frank | 2020 | R | – 5.4.6

content-ratingsWhy is “Uncle Frank” rated R? The MPAA rating has been assigned for “language, some sexual references and drug use.” The Kids-In-Mind.com evaluation includes a few implied sex scenes between two women, two men, two teen boys, and a teen boy and a teen girl with a little nudity, discussions of sexuality and gender roles, and a few cleavage revealing outfits, a teen suicide by drowning, death of a parent from a heart attack, an argument that leads to a punch in the face and a bloody lip, many arguments and discussions of perceived perversions, and nearly 20 F-words and other strong language. Read our parents’ guide below for details on sexual content, violence & strong language.


In 1973, when an 18-year-old (Sophia Lillis) from South Carolina enters the NYC university where her uncle Frank (Paul Bettany) teaches, she realizes that her beloved uncle has been keeping a secret from her conservative family. Having to go home for a funeral, and joined by Frank’s lover (Peter Macdissi), tests family bonds, as well as preconceptions. Also with Steve Zahn, Judy Greer, Margo Martindale, Stephen Root and Lois Smith. Directed by Alan Ball. A few lines of dialogue are spoken in Arabic with English subtitles. [Running Time: 1:35]

Uncle Frank SEX/NUDITY 5

 – Two women kiss in a bed and one woman wearing a bra and underwear (we see cleavage, bare abdomen and legs to the upper thighs) straddles the other as a man enters the room and chastises them for having sex in other people’s houses. Two men are shown wearing briefs and one man is shirtless (we see his bare chest, abdomen and legs and the other man’s legs, and we do see genital bulges in their underwear); one man climbs on top of the other, who is lying in bed, and they kiss tenderly as the scene ends (sex is implied). A man describes his first sexual encounter and we see two 16-year-old boys wearing swim trunks (bare chests, abdomens, back and legs are seen) and running through woods to a pier and jumping into a lake where they splash each other, embrace and kiss. Two teen boys wearing underwear (we see their bare backs, chests, abdomens and partial legs) lie in a bed and kiss and one boy’s father sees them and becomes upset; the man later threatens his son to never see the other boy again or, “I will kill them both.” A teen boy and a teen girl kiss and lie on a bed; the boy unbuttons the girl’s sweater and stops when she explains that she has never had sex before, and they kiss as the scene ends and no sex is implied.
 Two men kiss. A man and a woman kiss. A teen boy tries to seduce a man by offering him oral sex and the man declines and kicks him out of his apartment. A woman cries over her departed husband’s body in a casket and kisses him on the forehead. A teen girl hears sounds coming from a hotel room next to hers, where two men are staying, and sex is implied.
 A woman says that she and her husband have sex all the time and that “He is very blessed in that department.” A man tells his teenage niece that he is gay and his significant other tells him that the statement made him aroused. A man tells another man that a teen boy “tried to seduce me.” A teen girl tells a man, “I’m a virgin.” A man talks about knowing he was gay at an early age and says, “I didn’t think there was anyone else like me.” A young man flirts with a teen girl in a mechanic’s shop and the girl becomes angry and tells him that his advances are not welcome. A woman talks about her relationship with a man and says, “He’s living in sin with a dirty Jew,” and a man says, “I’m just glad you ain’t Black.” We hear that a teen girl is pregnant and that is why she and her boyfriend are getting married. A man tells a teen girl to come to him if she needs parental consent to get birth control or if she gets pregnant. A woman asks a man, “Is there any news on the female front,” not aware that he is gay. Two teen girls talk about a book and another describes an explicit passage about an engorged penis. A teen girl says that she would not be permitted to become a majorette because her father said that he would not have his daughter “prance around half-naked,” and that she would, “probably get raped and you’d deserve it.”


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Uncle Frank VIOLENCE/GORE 4

 – A teen boy finds a note from another teen boy indicating that he is going to commit suicide; the first teen runs to a lake and finds the other teen dead in the water. A man and a teen girl go to a pier where they find another man’s clothes piled on the end of the pier and they fear that the man has drowned; the other man yells in anger and fear a few times.
 Two men argue bitterly and scuffle, and one pins the other on the floor and punches him hard in the face (we see he has a bruised lip later). After finding his 16-year-old son and another teen boy kissing, a man threatens his son that if he’s ever to see the other boy again, “I will kill you both.” A man threatens his grandchildren, “I’ll slap you so hard,” and “I’ll wup you both with my handsaw.” A man tells another man to stay out of sight and that, “They will call the police and put us in jail,” for being gay. A teen boy yells at another teen boy and tells him that their behavior together was a perversion and that they should never be together again.
 At a reading of a will, the departed man indicates that he will be leaving nothing to his adult son and says that he is ashamed that he carries his name; the son becomes overwhelmed and leaves, speeding away in a car. A man angry with his son tells him, “God will turn his back on you and cast you into the lake of fire” (because the boy is gay). A man driving on a two-lane road sees another car that seems to be following him, he pulls over and confronts the man in the other car and they argue. A woman talks about her relationship with a man and says, “He’s living in sin with a dirty Jew,” and a man says, “I’m just glad you ain’t Black.” Two men argue in a few scenes. A man yells at a teen girl. A man says that he used to fantasize about different ways that his father could die, and that he now feels guilty for having had those thoughts. A teen girl describes her father telling her, “No man likes a woman with a smart mouth.” A woman greets a man at funeral and says that she was worried, “You were dead in a ditch somewhere.” A woman tells a man, “You’re all going to hell” (referring to gay people). A woman cries over her husband’s body in a casket. A man says that his father never thought he was good enough for his mother. A man receives a phone call telling him that his father died from a heart attack. A man says that in Saudi Arabia, he would be beheaded or hanged if it was known that he is gay. A woman describes having a broken bone in her hand. A man gives another man a hard time for smoking marijuana and there is an allusion to the man being a recovering alcoholic.
 We see a man in an open casket at a funeral service and a closed casket at the burial. A man cries over the grave of a person from his past. A teen girl vomits in a toilet after drinking too much at a party (we hear gagging and splashes and do not see goo). A man smells bacon and says, “Your bacon smells like death.” We see a spider in a woman’s hair and no one tells her it is there.


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Uncle Frank LANGUAGE 6

 – About 19 F-words and its derivatives, 4 sexual references, 10 scatological terms, 4 anatomical terms, 5 mild obscenities, 6 derogatory terms for gay people, 2 derogatory terms for Hispanic people, name-calling (rambunctious, freaks, selfish, moron, rude, idiot, dizzy pretzel, knocked up, snake, pothead, inept, jerk, honey, presumptuous, coward, disrespectful, stupid, creep, dangerous, devil, perverts, odd stoic, stupidest man alive), exclamations (git, what in the world, shut-up, shut your mouth, oh dear, life sucks), 8 religious profanities (GD), 17 religious exclamations (e.g. Oh My God, My God, Jesus, God Hates It, Oh My Lord, Oh God, God Knows It). | profanity glossary |


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Uncle Frank SUBSTANCE USE

 – Two men share a marijuana cigarette on a fire escape during a party, and a man describes another man as being “stoned.” Men drink beer from bottles in a few scenes, a man drinks a beer at a dinner and a woman drinks a glass of wine, people drink cocktails at a party, a man makes an teen girl a martini and we see her drinking it and later drinking from a bottle of liquor (please see the Violence/Gore category for more details), a man drinks several small bottles of liquor in a few scenes and in one scene he ends up stumbling as if he is drunk, a man searches another man’s room and finds small bottles of liquor that he pours out (we understand that a man hiding them is a recovering alcoholic). A man smokes cigarettes in many scenes, a man smokes in an apartment, a man smokes in a diner, and a woman smokes while pregnant.


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Uncle Frank DISCUSSION TOPICS

 – Family, estranged family members, homosexuality in the early 1970s, homophobia, honor, right and wrong, reputation, rural south, heartbreak, suicide, death of a loved one, parenting.

Uncle Frank MESSAGE

 – Be the person you decide to be, and while some people can be exceptionally cruel, others will surprise you with acceptance and tolerance.

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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