- 2h 24m
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Set against the backdrop of 1950s New York, “Motherless Brooklyn” follows Lionel Essrog (Edward Norton), a lonely private detective afflicted with Tourette's Syndrome, as he ventures to solve the murder of his mentor and only friend, Frank Minna (Bruce Willis). Armed only with a few clues and the powerful engine of his obsessive mind, Lionel unravels closely-guarded secrets that hold the fate of the whole city in the balance. In a mystery that carries him from gin-soaked jazz clubs in Harlem to the hard-edged slums of Brooklyn and, finally, into the gilded halls of New York's power brokers, Lionel contends with thugs, corruption and the most dangerous man in the city to honor his friend and save the woman who might be his own salvation.
Rotten Tomatoes® Score
Critics Consensus: Motherless Brooklyn's imposing length requires patience, but strong performances and a unique perspective make this a mystery worth investigating.
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Common Sense Media
Common Sense Says
Underrepresented hero shines in violent, profane PI drama.
What Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Motherless Brooklyn is a noir crime drama set in 1950s New York that's based on the novel by Jonathan Lethem. It follows a private investigator (Edward Norton, who also directs) who has Tourette syndrome and obsessive-compulsive disorder. Lionel is called "freak show" by his friends for his neurological tics, which cause his body to jerk or uncontrollably shout word clusters, many of which are profane. Lionel isn't alone in swearing: Characters curse constantly, with "f--k" being the favorite word. It's rare to see a lead character who has Tourette syndrome, and while Lionel represents an extreme manifestation, the film facilitates a compassionate understanding for what it's like to live with the disorder. To calm his symptoms, Lionel smokes pot, and many characters smoke cigarettes (accurate for the era). Bloody violence comes from guns, beatings, and a long fall; a rape is discussed. Sexual content includes allusions to sexual activities and kissing. Upon the death of his friend and boss, Lionel's obsessive mind keeps "pulling on the thread" of curiosity to find out who killed his friend and why; in the pursuit of truth, he shows courage and perseverance. While the story is fiction, it's based on real instances of housing discrimination at the hands of the city government.
A Lot or A Little?
The parents’ guide to what’s in this movie.
Positive Role Models
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
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- Genre:Drama, Thriller
- Release Date:November 1, 2019
- Languages:English, Spanish
- Captions:English, Spanish
- Audio Format:5.1
- Screen Pass Eligible:No
If purchased in:4K
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