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?