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Black Snake Moan Review

Movies.com Critics

4.5

Dave White Profile

… balls-out craziness … Read full review

Other Critics provided by Metacritic.com

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

  • 3.0
    52

    out of 100

    Metascore®
    Mixed or average reviews
    based on a weighted average of all
    critic review scores.

  • 30

    out of 100

    Wall Street Journal Joe Morgenstern

    For all the preposterous clichés of the plot, which clanks as loudly as Laz's chain, and for all the inertness of Justin Timberlake's performance as Rae's brooding squeeze, Black Snake Moan finds unchained energy in its foolishness, and gives Mr. Jackson a chance to pluck a guitar and sing. He's really good at it, too. The music almost redeems the movie.

  • 40

    out of 100

    The Hollywood Reporter Kirk Honeycutt

    The blues music in "Moan" is superfine, but my oh my, what to make of the ripe Southern cliches and this absurd story. The film is so jaw-dropping awful that it just might become a boxoffice hit.

    Read Full Review

  • 42

    out of 100

    Entertainment Weekly Lisa Schwarzbaum

    Be prepared to collapse into a hoot and a howl of hilarity at all the wrong moments.

    Read Full Review

  • 50

    out of 100

    USA Today Claudia Puig

    The best thing about Black Snake Moan, a song title, is the blues soundtrack. The movie is an absurdly jarring collection of archetypal characters in miserable circumstances with a resolution that feels forced and tacked on.

    Read Full Review

  • 88

    out of 100

    ReelViews James Berardinelli

    Ricci's performance is brave and effective - the most provocative in a career that has rejected Hollywood norms.

    Read Full Review

  • See all Black Snake Moan reviews at Metacritic.com

For Families provided by Common Sense Media

not for kids

Pulpy Southern immorality tale is for adults only.

What Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this adults-only movie (which co-stars teen favorite Justin Timberlake) is first and foremost about Rae, a young woman with an insatiable desire for sex. Her urges are so absurdly strong that they cause a literal, overpowering itch that only subsides when she finds a willing partner (and there are many). Rae spends almost the entire film in panties and a cutoff top, and her heaving breasts make many appearances. The man who finds her half-dead decides to "cure" her of her lascivious ways by chaining her up to his radiator. Since the film takes place in the South and follows a black man chaining up a nymphomaniac white woman, the film abounds with racial and sexual stereotypes and tensions.

  • Families can talk about the reasons for Rae's promiscuity and Laz's unhappiness. How does their unorthodox relationship help them? The film explores many racist and religious themes. What are some examples of each? Is the pastor judgmental or understanding? What is his influence on the characters? What do you think happens to Rae and Laz? Will they continue in their destructive behaviors, or is there a sign that there's hope for them each to be happy? What do you think drew the actors to this movie?

The good stuff
  • message true0

    Messages: Depending on how you look at it, the message is either that extreme promiscuity is an evil sickness or that broken people (in this case the town's insatiable slut and bitter, drunk bluesman) can help heal each other. Lots of racial and sexual stereotypes and tensions.

What to watch for
  • violence false3

    Violence: An acquaintance nearly rapes Rae but instead bloodies her face (so hard she loses consciousness for two days) and then leaves her by the side of a road. Laz holds a broken beer bottle against a man's throat. Two men get in a bare-knuckled fight. A character points a gun and threatens to use it against two different men. Rae attacks her mother with a broom. Laz chains Rae but doesn't actually hurt her.

  • sex false5

    Sex: The entire film is about sex. From the opening shot of Rae and Ronnie having sex (there's only partial nudity, but it's so naturalistic that it seems more graphic) to Rae baring her breasts and basically attacking a young teenager, the plot revolves around the notion that she's a young nymphomaniac "in heat." The girl can't stop getting it on -- whether it's with the local drug dealer or random guys at a drug-and-booze-filled house party. Rae has flashbacks of being abused by a shadowy man in her past. She spends the majority of the film chained to a radiator in small white panties and a midriff-baring cutoff top. Laz flirts sweetly with the local pharmacist.

  • language false5

    Language: Samuel L. Jackson stars, so expect many, many utterances of "motherf----r," "f--k," "d--k," "s--t," and the like. Even the town pastor curses. Both white and black characters say the "N" word.

  • consumerism false0

    Consumerism: Not an issue

  • drugsalcoholtobacco false3

    Drinking, drugs and smoking: Laz drinks a lot -- at a local bar and in his own home. Rae not only gets incredibly drunk at a party, but she also asks a dealer to give her enough pills to get "f---ed up." Laz and Rae do shots of moonshine.

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