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Welcome to Marwen | 2018 | PG-13 | – 4.6.4

content-ratingsWhy is “Welcome to Marwen” rated PG-13? The MPAA rating has been assigned for “sequences of fantasy violence, some disturbing images, brief suggestive content, thematic material and language.” The evaluation includes an implied sex scene in a movie on TV, some doll nudity and a few kisses, flashbacks to a violent beating that put a man in a coma and we see photos of his badly bruised face and head, several war sequences with aerial battles and gun battles that leave dolls dead with spots of red paint as blood, and some obscene language. Read our parents’ guide below for details on sexual content, violence & strong language.”

Based on a true story: an artist (Steve Carell) is violently beaten and emerges from a coma with severe brain damage and few memories of his life. Unable to afford therapy, he designs a detailed WWII European village with doll characters and takes photographs of various scenes, as his own brand of therapy, and is finally noticed by the art world. Also with Leslie Mann, Diane Kruger, Merritt Wever, Janelle Monáe, Eiza González, Gwendoline Christie, Leslie Zemeckis and Neil Jackson. Several lines of dialogue are spoken in German with English subtitles and a few are not translated. A few words of Russian are not translated. Directed by Robert Zemeckis. [Running Time: 1:56]

Welcome to Marwen SEX/NUDITY 4

 – A sequence from an apparently pornographic film called “Wicked Maids” plays on a TV: In the middle distance a woman appears wearing a bra and a thong (we see her back and buttocks) and in the foreground a woman shown from the waist up bends forward (her breasts are barely covered by a loose-fitting bra) as a man enters the room and calls out, “Bring your French [anatomical term deleted] here, ” and “I’ve got something for you,” and he’s apparently lowering his trousers as the sequence ends (we see him from the waist up). A woman looks at a man’s sketchbook and finds a realistic drawing of a woman, nude from the waist up and revealing bare breasts and nipples; she looks shocked and embarrassed, closes the book and gives it back to the man, who does not react. We see a painting of a pin-up girl on a man’s jacket back, wearing a crop top that reveals cleavage and short shorts.
 Many scenes feature five or six dolls wearing skimpy clothing: miniskirts, a long slit skirt, short-shorts, tight jeans, off-the-shoulder blouses and a crop-top that reveals cleavage and bare abdomen. One scene features five dolls wearing negligees that reveal buttocks and cleavage. The blouse of one of the dolls is ripped open revealing breasts without nipples. A male doll is shirtless once but no body details are visible. A box of “dead” dolls features a nude female doll from the waist up.
 Several scenes of dolls and action figures depict a male and a female kissing and hugging. A doll lies on top of a male doll, tries to kiss him, is rejected, and then the couple kisses for a few seconds. A doll walks across a room with an exaggerated hip wiggle. A doll announces in one scene that she is the Virgin of Marwen and later caresses a human man’s face.
 A human male tells a friend that a male doll is in love with a female doll. A man shows a woman photos of two dolls that represent him and her in a marriage proposal sequence in which the female doll says, “Yes.” In another sequence, a different woman asks the man to come to dinner at her home several times but he always refuses. A man smiles at a neighbor woman several times and looks a little embarrassed.
 A man asks a woman to marry him and she apologizes, saying they are good friends but she does not feel romantically inclined toward him; he looks shocked and sad. A man owns nearly 300 pairs of women’s high heels and wears a few pairs in a half dozen scenes; he says that when he came home with amnesia after an attack, he asked if he had a girlfriend and a friend had told him that the shoes were his. A man asks another man if he is “queer” and wears women’s clothing; the man answers, “Only the shoes and the higher the heel, the better.” A woman asks a man if he has a shoe fetish and the man says he does not, but wearing the high heels makes him feel connected to the essence of women. A man places stiletto shoes on a male doll and an action scene shows the doll dancing in the shoes with female dolls, as all the dolls gyrate.

Welcome to Marwen VIOLENCE/GORE 6

 - Five flashbacks show a man being assaulted by five other men kicking and punching him as he lies where they have knocked him down on the pavement; three scenes show multiple kicks to the body and two scenes add kicks and punches to the head and arms as we see the victim's face streaming rivulets of blood while he groans and grimaces.
 A Nazi doll in a tower shoots another doll, that falls and other female dolls shoot many bullets to cut the Nazi into pieces; he drops to the ground, cut in half, and the wounded doll has a spot of blood on her chest as she dies. Six dolls with handguns and Molotov cocktails march up to a Nazi hideout and throw the bombs, burning and melting five Nazi dolls. A doll flies a WWII plane through loud bomb bursts and automatic rifle fire, the plane catches fire, and he shouts, he crash lands, exits the plane as the cockpit catches fire (his feet are flaming, he jumps into mud to snuff the flames and we see that his shoes have melted); he approaches an overturned jeep and finds a pair of women's high heels in it, puts them on and walks away while five Nazis dolls stop him, pointing rifles and a handgun, sneer and laugh at his shoes, one Nazi pulls a knife, the doll man kicks him in the groin, and the Nazi grunts and slices the doll's face across his eye, drawing a trickle of blood; many loud automatic rifle shots slice into the Nazis from off-screen until they are torn into blackened pieces with some blood (actually red paint). A scene shows a male doll hanging by his wrists from a rafter with bloody slashes (red paint) covering his bare back; a female doll cuts him down as others shoot many bullets to slice Nazi dolls into pieces; we then see five bloody Nazi dolls hung up by their heels from a bar of wood.
 Five armed Nazi dolls grab a doll and rip off her blouse, giving the implication that they will rape her; an American male doll points a handgun at the Nazis, curses, and frees the doll. A Nazi doll does a Hitler salute and breaks out of his box, runs up several stairways to a bell tower and an American doll wearing stiletto heels chases him, pulls a cord to hit the Nazi in the head with the ringing bell, and the Nazi shoots a female doll and several others shoot many bullets to cut down the Nazi, who falls onto the points of a wrought iron fence, is impaled and bleeding (red paint); the Nazi revives and the American doll stabs a high heel into the Nazi's neck (no blood or paint) as he sends a witch doll into the future in a time machine on two rails of fire.
 A man suffers WWII flashbacks and hallucinations, even though he was not in the war: he grimaces and shudders at a phone message for him to appear in court against his attackers and a shot rings out, breaking his coffee cup, hundreds of bullets tear through his house as Nazi dolls, an American male doll, and female dolls fire automatic rifles and handguns and the man shouts, falls to the floor and screams, "More ammo! More ammo!" and then comes back to reality as someone knocks on his door. During a court scene where a man's five attackers are shown wearing prison garb one attacker rises and turns into a shouting Nazi with a gun, shooting from all parts of the courtroom fills the room with bullets making loud banging sounds as men and women scream, drop to the floor for safety, or run away; the attack victim crawls out of the courtroom and down a hallway and the judge adjourns the proceedings. A man sees a TV broadcast about his attackers and the scene changes to a fire-filled screen with loud bursting bombs as the man rushes away. A flying, floating witch doll hovers beside a man's head as he sleeps in a couple of scenes and she whispers that only she can have him or protect him; he is startled awake each time.
 A witch dolls makes other dolls vanish if they like a particular male doll, including a bride doll during her wedding. A man asleep in front of a TV movie is startled awake when he dreams of a screaming Nazi on a TV screen. A doll appears life sized to a human male and berates him, they dive to the floor as many bullets come screaming through the house and the man cries. A green capsule is laid out on a man's nightstand for the morning and during a dream a witch doll pours out two more capsules, but the man is startled awake and the doll and extra medication disappear.
 A man says his attackers kicked every memory out of his head and that he lay in a roadway for an hour before receiving help. A man talks to and argues with a witch doll several times, shouting that she wants to keep him sick. A man says that Nazis dolls have multiple lives because a witch doll keeps bringing them back to life. A man sits in a car in front of a woman's house several times and appears on the porch in one scene where he berates another man and shouts German phrases at him, clicks his heels, and makes the Hitler salute to scare him away from the woman. A man runs from a woman's violent ex-boyfriend, enters his home, falls, and is hit on the head by a trap door that falls closed; he grunts and whines.
 We see photos of a man's blackened, swollen face, and a few of his face with bandages. Many Nazi dolls turn to skeletons and then to ashes. A doll dies with a spot of blood on her chest, and then revives when a male doll places stilettos on her feet and kisses her lips. A photographer shows many photos of WWII scenes enacted by action figures and dolls at an art show; some dolls show a little blood (red paint) and some dolls are grimacing or shouting with wide-open mouths.
 A man uses a short physical therapy walkway with support bars and falls, gasping and groaning in fear and pain; a woman with one prosthetic leg helps him up and we later see a doll with an artificial leg representing her. A Nazi and a blue-haired witch have a swastika tattoo with a skull in the center on their arms.

Welcome to Marwen LANGUAGE 4

 - 7 scatological terms, 9 anatomical terms, 21 mild obscenities, 7 derogatory terms for gays, 1 derogatory term for Germans, name-calling (crazy, crazy Russian, white supremacist pedophile, bald-headed Rhine monkey, bastards, black hearted Nazi scums, lousy kraut, Four-Eyes, stupid, jerk, witch, spy, ladies, hopeless, worthless, voodoo), exclamations (nuts, for crying out loud, give me a break), 3 religious profanities (GD), 3 religious exclamations (e.g. Oh My God, For God's Sake, For Christ's Sake). | profanity glossary |

Welcome to Marwen SUBSTANCE USE

 - A man has two large prescription pill bottles and his nurse tells him never to take more than two pills a day, a capsule is laid out on a man's nightstand for him to take in the morning and he dreams that a witch doll pours out two more capsules (he is startled awake and the extra medication disappears), a man takes two capsules but we do not see him swallow them, a man pours a whole bottle of capsules into one of his hands (he does not swallow any), and a man throws many capsules down a garbage disposal. A man sits at the bar while holding a beer bottle, a woman gives a man a bottle of wine at home and he says he does not drink but that he used to drink too much, a man says that he doesn't drink and used to drink too much in a court scene, a man in a flashback drinks a short glass of whiskey in a bar and begins to slur his words, a miniature bar scene features three mugs of beer on a counter with a glass of wine as well as a beer bottle and a shot of vodka, and dolls raise glasses in a toast but do not drink. Many scenes feature a man with a cigarette hanging out of his mouth with an inch of ash on the end and he does not seem to puff on the cigarette, two scenes show a cigarette burning in an ashtray, one scene shows cigarette smoke wafting up into the shot from below the frame, and one scene features an ashtray filled with cigarette butts.


 - Feminism, pornographic films, bullies, violence, assault, traumatic brain injury, hate crimes, PTSD, people who are different, heroes, villains, Nazis, war, war comic books, abusive ex-boyfriends, art therapy, art as a living, dangerous weapons, relearning basic skills, friendship, emotional support, giving someone space, romance, fantasy, rejection, acceptance, starting over, attempted rape.

Welcome to Marwen MESSAGE

 - Traumatic brain injury can be triumphed over with art as therapy.


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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