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Jayne Mansfield's Car Review

Other Critics provided by

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

  • 3.0

    out of 100

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

  • 30

    out of 100

    The Hollywood Reporter David Rooney

    Thematically diffuse, tonally inconsistent and blighted by an inauthentic feel for its story’s time and place, it sits awkwardly between sober human drama and lighter dysfunctional-family turf, constantly striving for unearned emotions.

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  • 40

    out of 100

    Variety Justin Chang

    A fine cast can only do so much with the script’s pileup of generational conflict and long-winded introspection, resulting in a willfully out-of-step picture.

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  • 50

    out of 100

    USA Today Claudia Puig

    Self-indulgent, heavy-handed and lumbering, Jayne Mansfield's Car is not a wreck, but it's certainly a vehicle for boredom.

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  • 60

    out of 100

    The New York Times Stephen Holden

    Behind the clunky machinery is a lyrical meditation on life, death, heroism, regret and forgiveness written in a florid style that might be described as Tennessee Williams on testosterone.

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For Families provided by Common Sense Media

Pause for kids 17 & under

Thoughtful drama about effects of war has mature content.

What Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Jayne Mansfield's Car is a 1969-set drama about war veterans that will likely only appeal to adults. It has some very strong material but could inspire interesting discussions about the effects that war has on people. Some car crashes are shown, with bloody wounds, and a gun is shown and fired. A character is shown with burn scars all over his torso. There's some female toplessness and sex scenes, including illicit sex outside of marriage. Language is strong, with uses of "f--k," "s--t," "p---y," and more. Characters smoke many cigarettes and are often seen drinking until drunk. Some characters smoke pot, including two teens. A teen boy takes LSD and spikes a drink with the drug.

  • Families can talk about the character who goes to see bloody car crashes. What could be the appeal of this? What does he see in them? Is his fascination intended to send a particular message to viewers?
  • What are some of the differences between the war veterans? Do any of them seem to be happy about their experiences? Did any of them learn anything important? How do they view each other?
  • How are sex, drinking, smoking, and drugs incorporated into these characters' lives? Are they portrayed as positive or negative forces? Are there consequences for substance use?

The good stuff
  • message true0

    Messages: The movie has a complex set of messages about war. Several characters have come home from war, having survived accidents, capture, and battles -- or having seen no action at all. Each experience has left a man lost, sad, unfulfilled, or damaged in some way.

  • rolemodels true0

    Role models: Two older characters who were once enemies learn to become friends (they realize that they had more in common than they thought). A younger character opposes and protests the Vietnam War in an illegal way that leads to arrest. Mostly, though, these characters are damaged and lost and behave in unpleasant ways.

What to watch for
  • violence false2

    Violence: The family patriarch loves to visit crash scenes. Viewers see a couple of mangled cars, a dead body with a bloody head wound, and a live victim with a gory broken leg (blood and bone are visible). Characters also visit Jayne Mansfield's death car and talk about her accident. Two characters go hunting, and one threatens another with a gun. A character is shown with burn scars all over his torso, and he describes his war experiences. Characters also generally argue and fight with one another (including punching). In one shot, it appears as if a character has pinned war medals to his naked chest.

  • sex false3

    Sex: Three women appear topless. One of the main characters masturbates in front of a topless woman (nothing below the waist is shown). A man sleeps with a married woman. Some passionate kissing and strong sex talk throughout, including talk of prostitutes and "robbing the cradle."

  • language false3

    Language: Language is very strong, albeit not constant. Words include "f--k" and "s--t" (in various permutations), "hell," "a--hole," "queer," "bastard," "goddamn," "whore," "p---y," "ass," "damn," "bitch," and "t-ts."

  • consumerism false0

    Consumerism: Not applicable

  • drugsalcoholtobacco false3

    Drinking, drugs and smoking: Two teens are shown smoking pot and then talking about taking LSD. One teen actually takes LSD and then drops some in a tea pitcher for others to take, unknowingly. Characters smoke cigarettes frequently, and drink alcohol (mostly beer, but also hard liquor in some scenes). Characters often get very drunk. Some adult characters smoke pot. One adult character hosts a drug party with pot and mescaline.