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American Psycho Review

Other Critics provided by

Critics scores range from 0 to 100, with higher scores indicating more favorable reviews.

  • 4.0

    out of 100

    Generally favorable reviews
    based on a weighted average of all
    critic review scores.

  • 75

    out of 100

    USA Today Mike Clark

    Exceedingly well cast and assembled with flashy visuals and pacing by Harron, this period piece is diminished by its relative pointlessness.

  • 75

    out of 100

    Chicago Sun-Times Roger Ebert

    Christian Bale is heroic in the way he allows the character to leap joyfully into despicability.

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For Families provided by Common Sense Media

Not for kids

Bloody, gruesome black comedy that's not for kids.

What Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that American Psycho is based on Bret Easton Ellis's controversial 1991 novel, which is set in the 1980s and deals with materialism, narcissism, and the amassing of great wealth to be spent on personal pleasure. It's also a story about a callous murderer, with several gruesome killings shown, and lots of blood, as well as shots of severed heads and body parts. Sex is an issue, since the main character has both a fiance and a lover, and then participates in a threesome with a prostitute and yet another woman. Not much nudity is shown, even if sex is strongly implied, although there are some breasts and bottoms on display. Language is also strong, with many uses of "f--k" as well as many other strong words. The characters quite often drink alcohol, smoke cigarettes and cigars, and sometimes snort cocaine or take pills. These characters are clearly irredeemable, and do not learn much of anything during the course of the story. The movie is entertaining in a horrific, comical way, but is certainly not for kids under 18.

  • Families can talk about the movie's bloody violence. Does it seem to go over the top? What reactions do these scenes cause? Laughter? Squeals? Shock?
  • How does the movie connect sex with violence?
  • What does this movie say about the male body image? Does Patrick represent an impossible physical ideal to live up to? What does he mean when he says he could still improve his looks?
  • What does this movie have to say about money, materialism, and consumer culture? What do these people spend their money on? Do they seem happy?
  • Why do these characters drink so much, in addition to smoking and taking drugs? What are they looking for? What other options do they have?

The good stuff
  • message true0

    Messages: This is a story about emptiness, as characters simply try to satisfy their urges and cravings, earning huge amounts of money and spending it on pleasure and narcissism. No amount of this will ever be enough. No one ever seems to connect with or care about another human being, and no one really learns any lessons. Women, especially, are treated as objects.

  • rolemodels true0

    Role models: The lead character is a heartless, callous, wealthy man who either kills or fantasizes about killing numerous people, mostly women. His only concerns are for his looks and his possessions. He doesn't care about other people unless they make him look good, or unless they can provide some kind of pleasure.

What to watch for
  • violence false3

    Violence: The movie shows several gruesome killings with gallons of blood on display. These involve stabbing, shooting, explosions, bashing, hacking, and chain-sawing, frequently involving women. The movie does tend to cut away at the last second, leaving more to the imagination than is actually shown. However, severed heads and body parts are shown in a refrigerator and a closet. A clip from The Texas Chainsaw Massacre is shown on television during one scene.

  • sex false3

    Sex: The main character has a lover in addition to his fiance, but also sleeps with, or tries to sleep with, several other women. In one scene, the main character has a "threesome" with a prostitute and a woman friend. Thrusting is shown, as well as brief glimpses of breasts and buttocks. (This scene was extended by a few seconds in the director's cut.) The main character is shown shirtless, with a chiseled torso. His naked bottom is shown in one scene. The character picks up a prostitute. Two women are shown passionately kissing. A woman is shown in a sexy negligee, with her bottom visible. A porn video is briefly visible on TV. A notebook is filled with nude, deviant drawings. There's also some strong innuendo.

  • language false3

    Language: Strong, fairly frequent language includes "f--k," "s--t," "a--hole," "bitch," "d--k," "vagina," "Goddamn," "loser," and "faggot."

  • consumerism false0

    Consumerism: Though the characters are strongly materialistic, the movie doesn't specifically mention any brand names. The characters are more concerned with stylish business cards and getting tables at posh restaurants.

  • drugsalcoholtobacco false3

    Drinking, drugs and smoking: Many characters, especially the main character, drink alcohol frequently, as well as smoke cigarettes and cigars, snort cocaine, and take pills.