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Savage Grace 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.

  • 50

    out of 100

    USA Today Claudia Puig

    Savage Grace is a thoroughly disturbing story, told in a detached style rendering the overall experience an unsettling blend of lurid and vacuous.

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  • 63

    out of 100

    Chicago Sun-Times Roger Ebert

    Living these lives, for these people, must have been sad and tedious, and so, inevitably, is their story, and it must be said, the film about it.

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  • 67

    out of 100

    Entertainment Weekly Owen Gleiberman

    The director, Tom Kalin, stages acid duels, but he should have provided more psychological structure. Though Moore, a great actress, turns fury into verbal music, we're never quite sure what's driving her.

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  • 70

    out of 100

    The Hollywood Reporter

    U.S. viewers may be put off by its tangled sexual motifs and find its implied social critique a little close to the bone. But even Stateside, Julianne Moore, in her most challenging role in years, will win plaudits and attract mature audiences to a thoroughly absorbing and polished piece of work.

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For Families provided by Common Sense Media

not for kids

Not-for-kids drama is showcase for Julianne Moore.

What Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this very mature indie film, which is based on a true story, is steeped in amoral and sexual behavior among the idle rich -- culminating in a sexual relationship between a mother and her son. The movie unflinchingly depicts raw, uncomfortable moments of sexual behavior and contains nudity (including full-frontal female), same-sex encounters, implied underage sex, and more. There's also plenty of language, and some violence, as well as drinking, smoking, and drug use. Teens who know star Julianne Moore's terrific acting work from bigger films like Children of Men and The Hours may be intrigued to see her here, but it's an edgy, uncomfortable film that's definitely not meant for kids of any age.

  • Families can talk about whether the Baekeland family's power and privilege mean they don't have to follow conventional rules of society. Is it true that the rich are different? Is that a good thing? How do movies and TV shows tend to depict the wealthy? Do you think they're like that in real life? Families can also discuss what a film like this -- with its tough subject matter and unflinching discussion of sexual behavior -- is trying to do. Is the film an exploration of real human behavior or a salacious tale of sex and death intended for shock value?

The good stuff
  • message true0

    Messages: The idle rich discuss hypothetical actions for $10 million -- eating human flesh, sleeping with a friend. Much is made of the differences between the well-off and the less-fortunate. A character quotes their great-grandfather's axiom that "One of the uses of money is that it allows one not to live with the consequences of our mistakes." Many sexual taboos are violated heedlessly and eagerly (including a woman who has a sexual relationship with her own son).

What to watch for
  • violence false3

    Violence: Guns are fired; viewers see the aftermath of a suicide attempt, including bloody wounds; a character is fatally stabbed.

  • sex false5

    Sex: Lots of graphic discussion of sex, and extensive male and female nudity (including full-frontal female). Moore's character actively seeks out random encounters with strangers and is seen in lingerie; in one scene, her hand is shown on a partner's pants fly as she prepares to manually stimulate him (the actual act isn't shown on screen). There's rough (albeit consensual) sex; same-sex encounters between consenting adults, extended scenes of sexual activity and orgasm. An experimental sexual act between two underage boys is implied, and a three-person sexual encounter is seen when Moore's character begins a sexual relationship with her own son.

  • language false5

    Language: Language includes "f--k" and "f--king," "tits," "ass," (in both English and French), "c--ks," "s--t," "whore," "c--t," "come," and more.

  • consumerism false0

    Consumerism: Brands like Chanel are mentioned, and there's extensive discussion of "Bakelite," the first synthetic material (and the source of the Baekeland fortune).

  • drugsalcoholtobacco false3

    Drinking, drugs and smoking: Lots of period-accurate cigarette smoking, plus cigar smoking, marijuana use, constant drinking and discussion of hangovers, etc. A supporting character smuggles hashish; another character abuses sleeping aids as part of a suicide attempt.