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"JOSHUA"
(2007) (Sam Rockwell, Jacob Kogan) (R)

Alcohol/
Drugs
Blood/Gore Disrespectful/
Bad Attitude
Frightening/
Tense Scenes
Guns/
Weapons
Mild Moderate Extreme Moderate None
Imitative
Behavior
Jump
Scenes
Music
(Scary/Tense)
Music
(Inappropriate)
Profanity
Moderate Mild Extreme None Heavy
Sex/
Nudity
Smoking Tense Family
Scenes
Topics To
Talk About
Violence
Heavy Mild Heavy Moderate Moderate


QUICK TAKE:
Suspense/Thriller: A father increasingly becomes convinced that his precocious 9-year-old son is intent on harming him, his wife, and their newborn.
PLOT:
For Brad (SAM ROCKWELL) and Abby Cairn (VERA FARMIGA), things couldn't seem better. They've just had their second child, Abby doesn't seem to be suffering from post-partum depression this time around, and their 9-year-old son Joshua (JACOB KOGAN) -- a precocious piano prodigy who's seemingly taking after Abby's brother Ned Davidoff (DALLAS ROBERTS) -- isn't showing any immediate signs of sibling jealousy.

Yet, Brad's mother, Hazel (CELIA WESTON), rocks the boat by expressing her displeasure and concern about neither of her grandkids being baptized, while the newborn's constant crying start to wear on Abby's nerves. That helps resurrect her dormant depression, thus putting pressure on Brad who tries to balance life at home and at work, where his boss, Chester Jenkins (MICHAEL McKEAN), isn't pleased with recent business losses.

That gets worse for Brad when he slowly but surely begins to suspect that Joshua isn't as happy or calm as his poker-faced expression might otherwise indicate. With Abby slipping further into depression, and odd things beginning and then escalating around the house, Brad must figure out what's occurring, discern whether Joshua is responsible, and then decide what to do about that.

WILL KIDS WANT TO SEE IT?
If they're into creepy-kid thrillers, or are fans of anyone in the cast, they just might.
WHY THE MPAA RATED IT: R
For language and some disturbing behavior by a child.
CAST AS ROLE MODELS:
  • SAM ROCKWELL plays a father who becomes increasingly convinced that his son has turned evil, wants to harm his newborn sister, and drive his parents crazy. He uses strong profanity, drinks some, and smokes a few times.
  • JACOB KOGAN plays his precocious but series and reserved 9-year-old son who progressively acts ever more sinister toward his newborn sister and parents, with everything he does seeming quite calculated.
  • VERA FARMIGA plays his wife who has a relapse with post-partum depression following the birth of her second child. That gets worse as tension grows in the household. She uses strong profanity.
  • DALLAS ROBERTS plays Abby's brother who's also suffered from psychological issues in the past. He encourages Joshua's piano-playing talents, drinks some, briefly smokes, uses profanity, and becomes concerned about his sister and her family when things start to fall apart.
  • CELIA WESTON plays Brad's mom who's concerned about the lack of a religious upbringing for Joshua and his new sister.
  • MICHAEL McKEAN plays Brad's boss who becomes concerned about and upset with the effect of Brad's personal issues on his work performance. He briefly uses strong profanity.
  • 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 suspense thriller. Profanity consists of at least 9 "f" words, while other expletives and colorful phrases are also uttered. Sexually related dialogue and brief typing are present, as is a partially seen marital sexual encounter, and sexual (partial butt) and nonsexual nudity (breasts).

    There's a death from a fall down some steps, a father physically abuses his son in public, and there's implied violence against animals (we see the results). Those scenes and other moments of potential peril might be unsettling or suspenseful to some viewers, while some of that violence has bloody results, including a large shard of glass being removed from the bottom of a foot.

    Some of the behavior might be enticing to imitate, while various thematic elements and all sorts of tense family material are also present. The same holds true for bad attitudes, as well as some drinking and smoking.

    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.

    For those prone to visually induced motion sickness, there are varying amounts of handheld camerawork in the film.


    ALCOHOL OR DRUG USE
  • Ned has some champagne.
  • Asking if Abby is suffering from post-partum depression, Ned tells her that he has some exquisite medication for that, but she says she's doing fine.
  • Brad has some wine.
  • Ned has a martini.
  • Brad has a drink at a wake.
  • BLOOD/GORE
  • We see Joshua suddenly vomit on the floor, and then hear him doing more of the same.
  • There's brief talk about the ancient Egyptian procedure of mummification (including that of organs being removed, etc.).
  • Trying to make Joshua feel better about a bad recital, Ned says he threw up around the time of his first one.
  • We see a close-up of Abby pulling a shard of glass from the bottom of her foot, with bloody results. In something of a trance, she then purposefully spreads that blood up her leg.
  • While searching for Abby, Brad finds a spot of blood on the floor from her previous foot wound.
  • Brad has a scratch on his face.
  • We hear the sound of someone falling (or having been pushed) down a long flight of outdoor steps and then see the dead body on the ground, with some blood by the head.
  • Joshua is slightly bloody after Brad beats him in public. He later has bruises and a fat lip from that.
  • We see a dead guinea pig that's been stitched up (presumably from having its organs removed, a la Egyptian mummification).
  • DISRESPECTFUL/BAD ATTITUDE
  • A dad berates his and other boys at a soccer match, yelling that they're playing like a bunch of little girls.
  • Some viewers might not like Abby being adamant about Joshua and Lily not being baptized (as she's Jewish).
  • Joshua fakes being a bad piano player in a school recital, seemingly to embarrass his parents.
  • Abby yells at Brad over their constantly crying newborn.
  • While eying a female coworker (who's unaware of his lustful gaze), Brad types in the words "Naked horny women" and "Explicit sex" into an Internet search engine, but he stops when his boss walks in (nothing else is seen).
  • Despite Abby and Brad's known stance on the issue, Hazel takes Joshua to a religious revival, prompting the boy to say he wants to be born again. That causes Abby to be mad and use the term "evangelical nutcase."
  • At work, Brad tells a "Polish" joke about how to get a one-armed Polish person out of a tree (you wave to them).
  • It's suggested that Joshua may have pushed his grandmother down some steps. He certainly does everything in his power to drive his parents crazy (and not just in an ordinary kid fashion, but a cold and calculated one).
  • Mad at how Joshua is acting and purposefully annoying him, Brad grabs the boy, slaps him, jostles him around a bit, and then repeatedly slaps him. Some men try to intervene, with Brad hitting and struggling with them until he's restrained.
  • FRIGHTENING SCENES
  • The following may be unsettling or suspenseful to younger viewers and/or those with low tolerance levels for such material.
  • Brad receives an emergency call and races off with Joshua, and the boy is nearly hit by a vehicle after pausing on a street that his dad has already crossed (the call was that Abby was delivering their baby).
  • Abby hears what she thinks are weird sounds on the baby monitor, but when she goes into Lily's room, everything is okay.
  • Joshua asks his parents if someone died in the apartment (in the past, and asked in a calm, but somewhat creepy manner).
  • The newborn's nonstop crying might get on some viewers' nerves in the several scenes in which it occurs.
  • Joshua startles Abby at the refrigerator door (just by suddenly being there). She drops a drinking glass that shatters on the floor, and she then ends up stepping into that broken glass, getting a shard in the bottom of her foot (she slowly pulls it out, with bloody results).
  • Brad receives an emergency call at work and rushes home to find his dog dead on the kitchen floor (we see the limp body). We later see it being zipped up in a doggy body bag.
  • Joshua has Abby play hide and seek with him, but after she does the obligatory, closed-eye counting, she can't find him. She then panics when she discovers that Lily is gone as well, prompting her to search everywhere frantically, and then proceed upstairs into an apartment that's being renovated. She goes inside and the front door suddenly closes, leaving her in the dark. Having received a panicked call, Brad races home, can't find her, and searches the same upstairs apartment, finding her curled up on the floor in the dark.
  • Brad watches a video that Joshua made at night (with what looks like a night vision feature), and that includes close-up footage of young Lily who seems to sense someone is there, but apparently can't see him (the effect is creepy).
  • Hazel takes Joshua and Lily to the museum, but when she asks her grandson to watch his sister (while Hazel runs off to the bathroom), she panics when she returns and finds both of them missing. We then see Joshua at the top of a tall set of outdoor stairs, with Lily's carriage right at the edge.
  • We hear the sound of someone falling (or having been pushed) down a long flight of outdoor steps and then see the dead body on the ground, with some blood by the head.
  • Brad wakes up, finds that Lily (who was with him) is gone, and then finds Joshua feeding the baby.
  • GUNS/WEAPONS
  • None.
  • IMITATIVE BEHAVIOR
  • Phrases: "F*ck off," "Don't drive like a f*cking idiot," "I thought we were f*cked," "A sh*tty f*cking day," "You f*cking bitch," "You've had one f*cked-up month," "I'm not f*cking around with you right now," "Bullsh*t," "It looks like you're giving oxygen to your t*t," "Shut up" and "Evangelical nutcase."
  • Joshua fakes being a bad piano player in a school recital, seemingly to embarrass his parents.
  • As Joshua talks about the mummification process, he practices the same on a stuffed bear, tearing out the stuffing, etc.
  • Joshua tells a park beggar that he'll pay him five dollars if he'll let the boy throw a rock at him (that doesn't occur).
  • Joshua keeps repeating whatever his father says, all to annoy him. For most of the film, he carefully orchestrates driving his parents crazy.
  • JUMP SCENES
  • Brad turns and Joshua is suddenly standing there.
  • Joshua startles Abby at the refrigerator door (just by suddenly being there).
  • Abby turns and Joshua is suddenly there.
  • MUSIC (SCARY/TENSE)
  • An extreme amount of ominous and suspenseful music plays in the film.
  • MUSIC (INAPPROPRIATE)
  • None.
  • PROFANITY
  • At least 9 "f" words, 4 "s" words, 1 slang term for breasts ("t*t"), 5 uses of "G-damn," 3 of "God," 2 of "My God," and 1 use of "For God's sakes," "For the love of God," "Good God," "Jesus," "Jesus Christ," "Oh God" and "Oh Christ."
  • SEX/NUDITY
  • Brad undresses down to his boxers and we then see Abby in her panties that show a lot of her butt cheeks, prompting Brad to playfully kiss them while both are on their bed. However, she's depressed and not in the mood, adding that they can't have sex anyway. Undeterred, Brad says they can do other, fun stuff, but she says not now, but maybe soon.
  • We see Abby's bare breast as she uses a breast pump, and when Ned sees the same, he says it looks like she's "giving oxygen to your t*t."
  • We partially see Abby's bare breast as she uses the breast pump again.
  • While eying a female coworker (who's unaware of his lustful gaze), Brad types in the words "Naked horny women" and "Explicit sex" into an Internet search engine, but he stops when his boss walks in (nothing else is seen).
  • Brad and Abby start to passionately kiss, with him nuzzling on her neck, and they start to undress. We next see a head and shoulders shot of them having sex, with some implied movement.
  • SMOKING
  • Brad smokes at least twice, Ned smokes once, and a miscellaneous person smokes once.
  • TENSE FAMILY SCENES
  • A dad berates his and other boys at a soccer match, yelling that they're playing like a bunch of little girls.
  • In a videotape showing Abby after Joshua's birth, she's depressed and angry, and is seen throwing a book at Brad.
  • Abby yells at Brad over their constantly crying newborn.
  • Reacting to a bad smell, Abby angrily says it's their life and then throws a small towel at Brad.
  • Abby progressively loses her grip with sanity as the days pass and the pressures of motherhood, post-partum depression, and more wear on her. This puts stress on her family life.
  • Despite Abby and Brad's known stance on the issue, Hazel takes Joshua to a religious revival, prompting the boy to say he wants to be born again. That causes Abby to be mad and use the term "evangelical nutcase."
  • Brad must restrain Abby from attacking Joshua (for taking Lily during a game of hide and seek, thus causing Abby to panic when she couldn't find either of them).
  • Abby is institutionalized for her mental breakdown.
  • A man sees his dead mother on the ground.
  • Brad is convinced that Joshua is trying to harm Lily and drive him and Abby crazy. Accordingly, he puts a lock on his bedroom door and then the kitchen cabinets and such after becoming paranoid that the boy has poisoned the food.
  • Brad finds Joshua crying over his father's decision to send him away, but we can't tell if this emotion is genuine or not.
  • Mad at how Joshua is acting and purposefully annoying him, Brad grabs the boy, slaps him, jostles him around a bit, and then repeatedly slaps him. Some men try to intervene, with Brad hitting and struggling with them until he's restrained.
  • TOPICS TO TALK ABOUT
  • A dad berates his and other boys at a soccer match, yelling that they're playing like a bunch of little girls.
  • Abby progressively loses her grip with sanity as the days pass and the pressures of motherhood, post-partum depression, and more wear on her.
  • Abby is institutionalized for her mental breakdown.
  • Precocious children.
  • VIOLENCE
  • In a videotape showing Abby after Joshua's birth, she's depressed and angry, and is seen throwing a book at Brad.
  • After faking being a bad piano player at a recital, Joshua suddenly faints, falls off his piano bench, and hits his head hard on the floor below.
  • Reacting to a bad smell, Abby angrily says it's their life and then throws a small towel at Brad.
  • A schoolteacher talks about the deaths of various class animals, with the implication being (on the part of the film) that Joshua is somehow involved (we only see empty cages).
  • Joshua startles Abby at the refrigerator door (just by suddenly being there). She drops a drinking glass that shatters on the floor, and she then ends up stepping into that broken glass, getting a shard in the bottom of her foot (she slowly pulls it out, with bloody results).
  • Brad receives an emergency call at work and rushes home to find his dog dead on the kitchen floor (we see the limp body). We later see it being zipped up in a doggy body bag (the implication is that Joshua has somehow killed the dog).
  • Brad must restrain Abby from attacking Joshua (for taking Lily during a game of hide and seek, thus causing Abby to panic when she couldn't find either of them).
  • We hear the sound of someone falling (or having been pushed) down a long flight of outdoor steps and then see the dead body on the ground, with some blood by the head.
  • Mad at how Joshua is acting and purposefully annoying him, Brad grabs the boy, slaps him, jostles him around a bit, and then repeatedly slaps him. Some men try to intervene, with Brad hitting and struggling with them until he's restrained.



  • Reviewed June 25, 2007 / Posted July 13, 2007

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