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"SWEENEY TODD: THE DEMON BARBER OF FLEET STREET"
(2007) (Johnny Depp, Helena Bonham Carter) (R)

Alcohol/
Drugs
Blood/Gore Disrespectful/
Bad Attitude
Frightening/
Tense Scenes
Guns/
Weapons
Moderate Extreme Extreme *Moderate Heavy
Imitative
Behavior
Jump
Scenes
Music
(Scary/Tense)
Music
(Inappropriate)
Profanity
Moderate Minor Mild Mild Mild
Sex/
Nudity
Smoking Tense Family
Scenes
Topics To
Talk About
Violence
Moderate Minor Heavy Moderate Extreme


QUICK TAKE:
Musical: A barber sets out to get revenge on the judge who stole his wife and kills many people along the way, thus providing his landlady with a new source for her meat pies.
PLOT:
It's the 19th century and Sweeney Todd (JOHNNY DEPP) -- a.k.a. Benjamin Barker -- has arrived in London along with others, including optimistic young sailor Anthony Hope (JAMIE CAMPBELL BOWER). Fifteen years ago, Barker was a barber, happily married to Lucy (LAURA MICHELLE KELLY), when corrupt Judge Turpin (ALAN RICKMAN) set his sights on the lovely lady and thus had Benjamin arrested and sent off to prison.

Now seeking revenge, Sweeney sets up shop above the restaurant where his former landlady, Mrs. Lovett (HELENA BONHAM CARTER), sells the worst meat pies in town. Learning that Turpin has his now grown-up daughter, Johanna (JAYNE WISENER), locked away in his manor, Sweeney's goal is to lure the judge into his barbershop and slit his throat with one of his trusty straight razors.

He gets the chance when Turpin's henchman, Beadle Bamford (TIMOTHY SPALL), observes Sweeney defeat flamboyant barber Adolfo Pirelli (SACHA BARON COHEN) in a shaving contest, and thus refers his boss to the talented man with a sharp blade. The barber misses his chance, however, when Turpin realizes that Sweeney knows Anthony who's recently been wooing Johanna, unbeknownst to her father.

The judge gets away, and thus Sweeney takes out his anger on others, slitting their throats. With the price of quality meat prohibitively high, Mrs. Lovett comes up with the idea of using his victims as her new ingredient, and it's not long before Pirelli's former assistant, the young Tobias Ragg (ED SANDERS), is helping her serve her newly delicious pies to the unsuspecting masses.

With Turpin determined to marry the horrified Johanna, Sweeney waits for his next chance to get the judge in his barber's chair to get his revenge on him.

WILL KIDS WANT TO SEE IT?
Those who are fans of musicals, any of the stars, and/or director Tim Burton will likely be interested in it.
WHY THE MPAA RATED IT: R
For graphic bloody violence.
CAST AS ROLE MODELS:
  • JOHNNY DEPP plays a sullen barber who wants revenge on Turpin for earlier having him arrested and imprisoned so that he could steal his wife. When he misses his chance of killing the judge, he takes that out on others, resulting in a progression of throat slittings and a business relationship with Mrs. Lovett over use of the freshly dead bodies. He uses brief profanity and drinks some.
  • HELENA BONHAM CARTER plays his former landlady and kindred spirit who comes up with the idea of using his murder victims as the source for her meat pies.
  • ALAN RICKMAN plays the corrupt judge who earlier had Barker arrested and imprisoned so that he could have the barber's wife for himself. Years later, he wants to marry her now grown-up daughter, but most contend with Anthony wooing her from afar.
  • TIMOTHY SPALL plays his weasel of an assistant who does most of his dirty work.
  • JAYNE WISENER plays Sweeney's now grown-up daughter who's kept under lock and key by Turpin who wants to marry her, all while she longs for Anthony from afar.
  • JAMIE CAMPBELL BOWER plays an idealistic sailor who falls in love with Johanna from afar and wants to save her from Turpin.
  • ED SANDERS plays a young boy who previously sold Pirelli's wares, but now works for Mrs. Lovett, unaware of what he's actually serving in her delicious meat pies.
  • SACHA BARON COHEN plays a flamboyant and egotistical barber and snake oil salesman who isn't nice to Tobias, his young assistant.
  • CAST, CREW, & TECHNICAL INFO

    HOW OTHERS RATED THIS MOVIE


    Curious if this title is entertaining, any good, and/or has any artistic merit?
    Then read OUR TAKE of this film.


    (Note: The "Our Take" review of this title examines the film's artistic merits and does not take into account any of the possibly objectionable material listed below).


    OUR WORD TO PARENTS:
    The following is a brief summary of the content found in this R-rated musical. Profanity consists of at least 2 "s" words, while a handful of other expletives and colorful phrases are also uttered. Some sexually related dialogue and innuendo are present, as is the sight of a bulge in the front of a man's very tight pants, while varying amounts of cleavage are also present.

    Violence includes people being murdered by various means, mostly by having their throats slit. That has extremely bloody/gory results, and while it's played in the context of an opera type setting and tone, such behavior and visuals may nevertheless still be unsettling to some viewers. Other moments of potential peril are present, as are bad attitudes and tense family material.

    Some characters drink (including a boy), one snorts what's presumably snuff, and an opium den may be seen in one brief scene. Other behavior may be enticing for some kids to imitate. If you're still concerned about the film and its appropriateness for yourself or anyone else in your home who may be interested in seeing it, we suggest that you take a closer look at our detailed listings for more specific information regarding the film's content.


    ALCOHOL OR DRUG USE
  • As the camera zips around London, we see brief glimpses of what looks like drinking.
  • Mrs. Lovett sings of wondering whether Sweeney wants a pint of ale, and that he'll need more than that to choke down her awful meat pies.
  • Sweeney has some ale, and then Mrs. Lovett pours liquor for herself and him.
  • In a flashback, people drink at a ball, and Lucy is handed a drink that she doesn't seem to want.
  • Judge Turpin invites Anthony into his manor and gives him a drink.
  • Mrs. Lovett gives some gin to Tobias who states those at his former workhouse used to do the same to help kids sleep. As Mrs. Lovett starts to walk off, Tobias tells her to leave the bottle. When she returns, she finds him asleep or passed out, with the gin bottle by him. She then takes that and pours some for herself and Sweeney.
  • We briefly see people in what appears to be an opium den.
  • People have ale at Mrs. Lovett's restaurant.
  • BLOOD/GORE
  • During the opening credits, we see blood splatter onto a window, run down various things (including the credits) and into water, while some bloody looking sausage is ground out.
  • We see roaches and other bugs crawling around Mrs. Lovett's kitchen, including over and in her meat pies.
  • Anthony has some blood from his mouth after Beadle beats him.
  • Sweeney sings that Pirelli's magical hair elixir smells like "piss."
  • Recognizing Sweeney from his earlier days, Pirelli threatens to blackmail his former mentor for half his profits. As a result, Sweeney repeatedly hits him with a kettle, bloodying and severely wounding him (we see blood on his face and a small pool on the floor). When Tobias later enters, he sits on a long trunk, not seeing Pirelli's occasionally twitching hand sticking out between the lid and side. After the boy leaves, Sweeney takes his straight razor and slits Pirelli's throat, with extremely bloody results on the victim and some on Sweeney.
  • During a musical number, we see Sweeney slit various customers' throats, all with extremely bloody results (blood pouring and spurting out, some landing on the camera lens, etc.). We also see those bodies then slide down a ramp and fall into the basement below, landing quite hard on the stone floor.
  • Sweeney kills another person, has blood on his hands as a result, and smears some of that blood on a framed photo he holds.
  • We see (human) meat being processed out of a meat grinder.
  • Tobias eats a meat pie, hits something hard in it, and then discovers that it's a human fingertip. He then sees a bloody skeleton off on the side of the basement, and body parts in the meat grinder (he picks up a severed hand). A just-murdered body then drops down hard onto the floor.
  • Sweeney slices a homeless woman's throat, with bloody results.
  • Sweeney repeatedly stabs a man in the neck with his straight razor and then slices that man's throat (with extremely bloody results on the victim, Sweeney, and various parts of the room).
  • Upset about her misleading him, Sweeney pushes a woman into a roaring furnace and closes the metal door, locking her inside it. She's immediately engulfed in fire and burns to death.
  • A boy slices a man's throat, killing him, and spilling his blood onto his recent murder victim below him.
  • DISRESPECTFUL/BAD ATTITUDE
  • We see a flashback to cops working for Judge Turpin accosting Sweeney and hitting him over the back, all to subdue and arrest him. This occurs because Judge Turpin wants Sweeney's wife for himself, and Beadle works for Judge Turpin, carrying out much of his dirty work.
  • Mrs. Lovett sings of there being cat in her meat pies.
  • In a flashback, Judge Turpin throws his cloak over Lucy at a costume ball as she appears frightened and screams, and other partygoers laugh at that.
  • We see that Judge Turpin has a hole in the wall through which he spies on Johanna in her bedroom (nothing explicit is seen).
  • Judge Turpin behaves menacingly toward Anthony, saying the latter will rue the day he was born. He then has Beadle throw Anthony out the door and to the street where Beadle repeatedly hits him with a rod, and then throws the sailor's large duffle bag that lands on Anthony.
  • Pirelli and Tobias try to sell the former's hair growing elixir to gullible buyers.
  • As Pirelli sharpens his straight razor on a strop that Tobias is holding, the boy winces in pain with each stroke (suggesting the blade is coming into contact with his hand). He then backhands the boy, kicks him, and there are sounds of other such violence backstage.
  • Sweeney murders many people, with Mrs. Lovett then using them as the main ingredient for her meat pies that she then sells to the unsuspecting public.
  • Recognizing Sweeney from his earlier days, Pirelli threatens to blackmail his former mentor for half his profits.
  • Judge Turpin sentences a boy to die by hanging.
  • Judge Turpin decides he's going to marry Johanna whether she wants to or not.
  • Mrs. Lovett gives some gin to Tobias who states those at his former workhouse used to do the same to help kids sleep. As Mrs. Lovett starts to walk off, Tobias tells her to leave the bottle and she does.
  • We learn that Judge Turpin and/or Beadle have locked Johanna away in a mental asylum, and a worker there isn't nice to the female inmates.
  • FRIGHTENING SCENES
  • Scenes listed under "Violence" and "Blood/Gore" (mainly referring to all of the throat slitting, etc.) may be unsettling, suspenseful or scary to younger viewers and/or those with low tolerance levels for such material.
  • In a flashback, Judge Turpin throws his cloak over Lucy at a costume ball as she appears frightened and screams, and other partygoers laugh at that.
  • Upon Beadle's advice, Judge Turpin shows up for a shave, unaware that Sweeney has it in for him. During a musical number, Sweeney shaves his throat, and it appears he's going to slit it, but he's interrupted before that can happen, and Judge Turpin leaves.
  • Sweeney holds a blade to Mrs. Lovett's throat during a musical number.
  • Sweeney (holding a straight razor behind his back) and Mrs. Lovett search for Tobias, with the intent of killing him (since he now knows of their scheme).
  • With Johanna dressed as a young man, Sweeney doesn't recognize her, and thus nearly kills her (she doesn't know he's her dad).
  • GUNS/WEAPONS
  • Straight razors/Pistol: Carried and/or used to threaten or kill others.. See "Violence" for details.
  • IMITATIVE BEHAVIOR
  • Phrases: "Full of sh*t," "A living hell," "You'll rue the day you were born," "Smells like piss," "Liked to gorge himself to bloatation" and "Poor bugger."
  • It's possible the film could inspire some kids to play around with straight razors.
  • We see that Judge Turpin has a hole in the wall through which he spies on Johanna in her bedroom (nothing explicit is seen).
  • Pirelli and Tobias try to sell the former's hair growing elixir to gullible buyers.
  • Mrs. Lovett gives some gin to Tobias who states those at his former workhouse used to do the same to help kids sleep.
  • JUMP SCENES
  • The sudden slitting of throats might startle some viewers.
  • MUSIC (SCARY/TENSE)
  • A mild amount of suspenseful music plays in the film.
  • MUSIC (INAPPROPRIATE)
  • Mrs. Lovett sings of wondering whether Sweeney wants a pint of ale, and that he'll need more than that to choke down her awful meat pies.
  • As Sweeney and Mrs. Lovett sing the same lines about different things (his about murder), she tells him he'll know splendors he never dreamed of.
  • A song includes the line "full of sh*t."
  • A song has lyrics about different people being different potential sources of meat for Mrs. Lovett's pies (played for comedy).
  • PROFANITY
  • At least 2 "s" words, 1 hell, and 1 use of "Oh my God."
  • SEX/NUDITY
  • As the camera zips around London, we see brief glimpses of what might be prostitutes on the street at night.
  • Mrs. Lovett shows cleavage throughout most of the film (sometimes a lot), while Johanna also shows cleavage (both in period attire).
  • As Sweeney and Mrs. Lovett sing the same lines about different things, she tells him he'll know splendors he never dreamed of.
  • We see a classic style painting that shows bare breasts.
  • Judge Turpin invites Anthony into his manor and gives him a drink. He then talks of having all sorts of books about harlots, concubines and such, saying they have drawings and everything Anthony has ever dreamed of doing with a woman (all to try to persuade him to abandon any thoughts about Johanna).
  • Pirelli has a large bulge in the front of his tight pants.
  • SMOKING
  • Beadle snorts what's presumably snuff.
  • TENSE FAMILY SCENES
  • We see a flashback to cops working for Judge Turpin accosting Sweeney and hitting him over the back, all to subdue and arrest him. This occurs because Judge Turpin wants Sweeney's wife for himself.
  • Mrs. Lovett tells Sweeney that his wife poisoned herself in the past with arsenic (rather than be with Judge Turpin), and that the judge has his daughter under his control.
  • Spoiler Alert: A man realizes a woman he's murdered was really his long-lost wife.
  • TOPICS TO TALK ABOUT
  • The desire for vengeance and what that can drive people to do.
  • Life in 19th century London.
  • Cannibalism.
  • Shaving with a straight razor.
  • The movie playing out more like an opera than a usual musical.
  • VIOLENCE
  • We see a flashback to cops working for Judge Turpin accosting Sweeney and hitting him over the back, all to subdue and arrest him.
  • Judge Turpin behaves menacingly toward Anthony, saying the latter will rue the day he was born. He then has Beadle throw Anthony out the door and to the street where Beadle repeatedly hits him with a rod, and then throws the sailor's large duffle bag that lands on Anthony.
  • As Pirelli sharpens his straight razor on a strop that Tobias is holding, the boy winces in pain with each stroke (suggesting the blade is coming into contact with his hand). He then backhands the boy, kicks him, and there are sounds of other such violence backstage.
  • Recognizing Sweeney from his earlier days, Pirelli threatens to blackmail his former mentor for half his profits. As a result, Sweeney repeatedly hits him with a kettle, bloodying and severely wounding him (we see blood on his face and a small pool on the floor). When Tobias later enters, he sits on a long trunk, not seeing Pirelli's occasionally twitching hand sticking out between the lid and side. After the boy leaves, Sweeney takes his straight razor and slits Pirelli's throat, with extremely bloody results on the victim and some on Sweeney.
  • Sweeney holds a blade to Mrs. Lovett's throat during a musical number.
  • Beadle grabs Johanna from her room and then shoves her into a carriage waiting outside the manor.
  • During a musical number, we see Sweeney slit various customers' throats, all with extremely bloody results (blood pouring and spurting out, some landing on the camera lens, etc.). We also see those bodies then slide down a ramp and fall into the basement below, landing quite hard on the stone floor.
  • Sweeney kills another person, has blood on his hands as a result, and smears some of that blood on a framed photo he holds.
  • Anthony holds a pistol on a mean asylum worker so that he (Anthony) can free Johanna. Once he has, the other female inmates turn on and attack the worker (we don't see the impact or results).
  • Sweeney slices a homeless woman's throat, with bloody results.
  • Sweeney repeatedly stabs a man in the neck with his straight razor and then slices that man's throat (with extremely bloody results on the victim, Sweeney, and various parts of the room).
  • Upset about her misleading him, Sweeney pushes a woman into a roaring furnace and closes the metal door, locking her inside it. She's immediately engulfed in fire and burns to death.
  • A boy slices a man's throat, killing him, and spilling his blood onto his recent murder victim below him.



  • Reviewed December 6, 2007 / Posted December 21, 2007

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