The Art of Self-Defense
- 1h 44m
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After he's attacked on the street at night by a roving motorcycle gang, timid bookkeeper Casey (Jesse Eisenberg) joins a neighborhood karate studio to learn how to protect himself. Under the watchful eye of a charismatic instructor, Sensei (Alessandro Nivola), and hardcore brown belt Anna (Imogen Poots), Casey gains a newfound sense of confidence for the first time in his life. But when he attends Sensei's mysterious night classes, he discovers a sinister world of fraternity, brutality and hyper-masculinity, presenting a journey that places him squarely in the sights of his enigmatic new mentor. Audacious and offbeat, The Art of Self-Defense is an original dark comedy that takes toxic masculinity to absurd extremes.
Rotten Tomatoes® Score
Critics Consensus: The Art of Self-Defense grapples compellingly with modern American masculinity -- and serves as an outstanding calling card for writer-director Riley Stearns.
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Common Sense Media
Common Sense Says
Quirky, mature comedy tackles the illusion of masculinity.
What Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that The Art of Self-Defense is a dark comedy about a timid man (Jesse Eisenberg) learning to find his masculinity -- with unexpected results. Expect some pretty intense martial arts fighting, with lots of blood and broken limbs. You'll also see dead bodies, guns, and shooting. A man is shown hanging from a noose, there's a dead dog, and a boy is knocked unconscious by a "sleeper hold." One scene includes a few seconds of full-frontal male nudity, and a magazine with photos of naked breasts is shown more than once. A character masturbates, and there's some fairly explicit sex-related talk. Language is strong but not frequent, with a few uses of "f--k." The main character swigs from a bottle of liquor when upset, and a small bag of white powder (cocaine?) is shown. This is a very odd movie that will be off-putting to some, but others will find it hilarious -- likely more so on repeated viewings.
A Lot or A Little?
The parents’ guide to what’s in this movie.
Positive Role Models
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- Release Date:July 12, 2019
- Highest Available for Purchase:HD