Love Lies Bleeding

NZ release: 14 March 2024

Brutal violence, domestic abuse, sex scenes, drug use, and offensive language Rated on: 15 February 2024

love lies bleeding poster

What’s it about?

Love Lies Bleeding is a crime thriller set in 1989. Murders and cover-ups happen when bodybuilder Jackie becomes romantically involved with Lou, manager at the local gym and daughter of the local crime kingpin, enroute to a bodybuilding competition.

The facts

  • Director Rose Glass
  • English language
  • Runtime 103 minutes

Why did it get this rating?

Brutal violence

We see characters commit and try to cover up murders.

We see several characters die through very strong violence or from gunshots. A blindfolded victim is shot in the forehead at near-point blank. A character is shot in the head from behind and we see blood splatter around her body.

The strongest violence in the film is a murder where a character is beaten and their head is repeatedly slammed against a table. We don’t see the victim’s head connect with the table but we do see the aftermath of the graphic injuries. We see the dead body, blood and brain matter covering the floor and table. A close-up shows the character’s jaw hanging loose with teeth missing.

Jackie punches Lou hard in the mouth – it’s a shock given their close relationship. Jackie also punches a fellow bodybuilding contestant. We don’t see the blows landing, but we see and hear the actions from Jackie’s point of view.

Domestic abuse

Lou’s sister Beth is a victim of domestic abuse. We see her with a black eye, cut lip and arm in a sling. Later Beth is hospitalised and we see her unconscious in a hospital bed with a badly swollen and bloodied face. While we don’t see the domestic violence take place, these themes and the realistic wounds could be disturbing for anyone impacted by family violence.

Sex scenes

The film features brief transactional heterosexual sex between two characters in a car in a carpark. We see a fully clothed character briefly masturbating on her couch.

There are three intimate lesbian sex scenes between Jackie and Lou. Each scene is passionate and romantic as their relationship develops. We see briefly flashes of bare breast, oral sex, mutual masturbation as well as sexual talk about pleasuring each other with fingers.

Drug use

Lou introduces Jackie to injectable steroids to help her gain muscle. We see the drugs help Jackie bulk up and make her high and energetic but they also make her violent, aggressive and paranoid.

Lou smokes and struggles with her addiction to the nicotine habit. She does try to quit throughout the film.

Offensive language

Strong language is used both casually (“shut the f*ck up”), in a sexual way “f*ck me”, and in an aggressive way to insult “you sick f*ck”. A character is teased by being called an “A-grade dyke” as an insult. This is likely to impact on younger viewers who might try to imitate the way it is used.

Further information

‘Love Lies Bleeding’ review: Kirsten Stewart and Katy O’Brian in a queer romantic noir that goes to extremes (Variety)

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