MPAA Rating: R

Entertainment: -1/2

Content: -3 1/2

Almost a documentary, this drama is a window into a juvenile psyche ward where teenagers are sent to regain mental health. Lyle (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) is there for nearly beating a classmate to death and encounters other adolescents with a variety of illnesses. The patients share their problems and wounds. These young people feel that they have no choice but to respond to trouble in a highly destructive manner. Under the supervision of psychiatrist Dr. David Monroe (Don Cheadle), they interact with each other and look at the consequences of their behavior. Dr. Monroe directs them to begin taking responsibility for their own actions. Each of the characters has been severely hurt by a parent or guardian. Among them is Chad (Michael Bacall), a bipolar, self-mutilating teen. Manic captures the struggle that is involved in life change but offers no solution only solace in accepting what cannot be changed. The movie ends with characters in various stages of recovery.

The film renders the difficulty for adolescents dealing with the evil that they have experienced from some adults. It also shows a bond of friendship built between the residents as they look at the reality of their own wounds. One character finds a positive outlet through painting. Manic subtly challenges the viewer to realize that each of us is responsible for properly reacting to difficult situations. Dr. Monroe has genuine compassion for the kids. But the dialog includes a large dose of obscene, sexually explicit language. Characters express countless threats to inflict physical and sexual violence upon each other. A couple of graphic fight sequences are unsettling. Teens smoke marijuana, and intercourse is implied. With its disturbing violence, raw vulgarity and some drug use, the title Manic is fitting for this film.

Preview Reviewer: Blaine Butcher
IFC Films

The following categories contain objective listings of film content which contribute to the subjective numeric Content ratings posted to the left and on the Home page.

Crude Language: many (22) times mild 5, moderate 17.

Obscene Language: many (102) times F-word 83, S-word 19.

Profanity: few (2) times exclamatory 2 (GD).

Violence: many times severe (hand-to-hand fighting, brutal throat cutting, teen bashing teen with a baseball bat, self-inflicted knife cuts, teen beating up teen).

Sex: once (implied).

Nudity: none.

Sexual Dialogue/Gesture: many times (teens talk about sex, teenage girls talk about having sex, teenage boys make crude sexual comments).

Drugs: several (cigarettes, marijuana).

Other: teenage girls are portrayed as victims, girl has continual nightmares of abuse, teens shown in various destructive behaviors, boy believes that being in a gang is cool, most of the characters are angry and/or depressed, teenage girl shown to make good decisions, abused teens care about other abuse victims, running from problems is shown to be futile, teens get into a frenzy and destroy room.

Running Time: 100 minutes.
Intended Audience: adults.

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