MPAA Rating: R

Entertainment: +2

Content: -4

Jodie Foster, Kate Winslet, Christoph Waltz, John C. Reilly, Elvis Polanski. Drama/comedy. Written by Yasmina Reza, Roman Polanski. Directed by Roman Polanski.

FILM SYNOPSIS: Carnage is a biting comedy centered on parental differences. After a boy hits another with a stick a playground, breaking a couple of teeth, the parents of the victim invite the parents of the bully over to work out their issues. A polite discussion of childrearing soon escalates into verbal warfare, with all four parents revealing their true colors.

PREVIEW REVIEW: I never liked the film Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf because of the constant combative bickering throughout. Starring Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor, it broke screen taboos of the time by incorporating crude and profane language. In its defense, that film, written by Edward Albee, also contained penetrating, often insightful dialogue. About all Carnage does is show how little vulgar and obscene words now register with today’s moviegoers. The play turned into a film has four pros revealing the bitter, aggressive and melancholic nature of people, but when we exit the theater, we’re not so much enlightened about the nature of man as grateful that we don’t know such people. And if we do have such acquaintances, we must be questioning ourselves, “Why did I pay money when I can hear this for free?”

By now, we’ve all seen people vomit in the movies. It began decades ago with characters running off camera after a scene of booze binging. Years later sound effects were added to make the act a bit more graphic. Then, moviemakers took the next step by featuring actors regurgitating something vile-looking. Now, Carnage takes it to the next level by adding a CGI effect that allows us an extended close-up of projectile puking. It becomes part of the character arc as we see the foursome clean up the living room table, their hair, their clothes, all the while conversing about their brawling brats.

The setting is supposed to be a New York apartment, but since director Roman Polanski is still a fugitive from American justice, most likely cast and crew met in some other country in order to tell their little story.

Preview Reviewer: Phil Boatwright
Sony Pictures Classics

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: None

Obscene Language: Around 40 obscenities

Profanity: Two profane uses of God’s name and one misuse of Christ’s name.

Violence: The violence is in the confrontational dialogue.

Sex: None

Nudity: None

Sexual Dialogue/Gesture: None

Drugs: The group gets drunk on expensive whiskey.

Other: None

Running Time: 120 minutes
Intended Audience: Mature viewers

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