NZ release: 02 November 2023
Sex scenes, violence, offensive language and content that may disturb Rated on: 10 October 2023
What’s it about?
Margot, a 20-year-old sophomore college student, meets Robert, an older man and regular attendee at the movie theatre she works at. The pair begin to flirt via text and then date until a series of differing perceptions, miscommunications, and misunderstandings prompt Margot to take decisive action. The film is told from Margot's perspective as she navigates dating and aims to find a balance between societal expectations and her own desires.
- Director Susanna Fogel (The Spy Who Dumped Me)
- English language
- Runtime 118 minutes
- Inspired by The New Yoker fictional short story by Kirsten Roupenian
Why did it get this rating?
The film sets the tone of the story with the Margaret Atwood quote:
“Men are afraid women will laugh at them.
Women are afraid men will kill them.”
The film features a drawn out but not graphic sex scene, that is in parts amusing, uncomfortable, mediocre, and disturbing. Margot isn’t enjoying the sex and copes by talking to herself and disconnecting from her own body. Her subconscious is depicted as herself standing in the room watching the interaction and questioning what is going on. We see Margot and Robert going through different sexual positions, but the focus of the camera and the scene is more on Margot’s face and her inner dialogue than a graphic depiction of the sex. This scene shows the grey areas of consent and communication with a sexual partner. The scene may be uncomfortable for people who have had negative sexual experiences.
Margot fears violence at the hands of men and imagines frightening scenarios while she’s with Robert. These flash by quickly but are disturbing: she imagines him trapping her in a small closet and pinning her to the wall; locking the doors and choking her to prevent her leaving his car; imagining a chained and bloodied woman inside one of the rooms in his home.
In a climactic scene Margot wakes to find herself injured and trapped inside Robert’s apartment. They fight as she attempts to leave, and he tries to stop her. We see her biting him, he chokes her, she hits him with a bottle. They’re both bloodied and badly injured.
Strong swear words are used at times in a shocking and aggressive way. For example “you f*cking manipulated me”, “don’t f*cking move”, “whore”.
Content that may disturb
Throughout the film Margot has dreamlike fantasies and nightmares that inter cut with the present day ‘reality’ that we see playing out. In one nightmare she is walking in a dark hallway with blood streaks on the wall. We see a headless corpse lying in a pool of blood. A growling dog stands by the body and has the corpse’s head in its mouth.
Margot starts to believe Robert is stalking her after she rejects him. His text messages become increasingly hostile, and he messages ‘whore’ after she doesn’t respond. We see him waiting outside her workplace and she feels she’s being watched and followed.
The themes of female agency, power dynamics between men and women – including age differences in a relationship – and the challenges of dating in the digital age play out in ways that are designed to make the viewer uncomfortable. This discomfort can be a good conversation starter with young people (16 and older) if you’re watching together.
If you or someone you know needs to talk:
‘Cat Person’ and Me (Slate)
Recent featured decisions
Violence, offensive language and sex scenes
A young French captain named Napoleon Bonaparte leads his forces to a series of military victories. His successes in battle lead to him taking control of the French Empire, while struggling to maintain control of his marriage to Empress Joséphine – and his own destiny.
Squid Game: The Challenge
Season 1: Episode 1-10
Inspired by the Netflix series, Squid Game, 465 real-life contestants compete in a series of challenges based on Korean children's games for a $4.56 million cash prize – the largest single cash prize in history.