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Byzantium 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.

  • 42

    out of 100

    Entertainment Weekly Owen Gleiberman

    The best thing in the movie is Arterton's sultry, claw-baring turn, but mostly it's a rudderless riff on "Let the Right One In."

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  • 88

    out of 100

    Chicago Sun-Times Bruce Ingram

    It takes a while, but the old-fashioned pleasure of watching a well-told story unfold eventually becomes the chief satisfaction in Byzantium, though there are other things to enjoy as well.

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For Families provided by Common Sense Media

Pause for kids 16 & under

Blood, innuendo in stylish, moody vampire tale.

What Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Byzantium is artier and moodier than most vampire movies. It's not particularly for either the I Am Legend crowd or Twilight lovers, but fans of Let the Right One In may enjoy it. Vampire violence is strong, with great gushes of blood, killings, and dead bodies; two characters are beheaded. Several minor characters are prostitutes, and a major character used to be one as well. There's no nudity, but there are many sexual situations and plenty of innuendo and revealing outfits. Byzantium suggests that the prostitutes are addicted to drugs, though it does this solely through body language; no drugs are shown or mentioned. Language is sparse but does include a few uses of "f--k," "s--t," and more.

  • Families can talk about the vampire violence in Byzantium. How does it compare to other vampire movies? Why is there more blood here? What does it symbolize?
  • What's the draw of vampire movies? Are they all intended to appeal to the same audience?
  • Is Byzantium scary? What is it about vampires that's scary -- or not scary?
  • Why does Eleanor decide to tell her story? Why is storytelling so powerful? Why is telling the truth more powerful than telling lies?

The good stuff
  • message true2

    Messages: The movie is about telling the truth to lead a more fulfilling life, even though lies are more protective. In a subplot, the movie celebrates fighting for what you believe is right, rather than following long-established rules that may be wrong. On the downside, "wrongdoers" are often killed.

  • rolemodels true1

    Role models: There are two interesting female characters, though neither is truly a strong role models (both are vampires). The mother figure is tough and resourceful, but she stoops to prostitution to earn money, and she kills those she deems "bad" or "evil." Her daughter is a talented writer and musician who demonstrates the power of patience and practice, though she's very socially withdrawn. For her food, she kills only older people who are ready to die.

What to watch for
  • violence false4

    Violence: Lots of bloody vampire violence. Here, vampires slice their victims not with fangs, but with a sharp fingernail that grows when needed. There's a great deal of blood, lots of killing, and several dead bodies (including charred and rotted corpses). Two characters are beheaded with a wire. One character -- who takes an anti-coagulant -- gets a cut on his wrist and bleeds profusely. There are also some intense moments of fighting and punching, as well as arguing. In one sequence, several waterfalls turn blood-red (though it looks more like colored water than blood).

  • sex false4

    Sex: Several of the supporting characters are prostitutes, and the main character is shown to have been one previously. No nudity, but characters wear revealing clothing throughout, such as lingerie and fishnets. Partly naked bottoms and lots of cleavage are on display. Sex acts -- a lap dance, oral sex, etc. -- are begun and/or suggested but not fully shown. Some strong sexual innuendo.

  • language false4

    Language: Language isn't constant but does include a few uses of strong words including "f--k," "c--t," "s--t," "c--k," and "bitch."

  • consumerism false0

    Consumerism: Not applicable

  • drugsalcoholtobacco false1

    Drinking, drugs and smoking: It's suggested that some of the supporting prostitute characters are "high" or on drugs, though they're never shown taking anything, and nothing is ever mentioned out loud. They just act sleepy and dopey.