The Black Dahlia

The Black Dahlia
The Black Dahlia
  • R
  • 2h 1m
  • 2006
Common Sense Media Iconage 18+
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Inspired by the Most Notorious Unsolved Murder in California History. From the acclaimed director of Scarface and the author of LA Confidential comes the spellbinding thriller The Black Dahlia. Two ambitious cops, Lee Blanchard (Aaron Eckhart) and Bucky Bleichert (Josh Hartnett), investigate the shocking murder of an aspiring young starlet. With a corpse so mutilated that photos are kept from the public, the case becomes an obsession for the men, and their lives begin to unravel. Blanchard's relationship with his girlfriend Kay (Scarlett Johansson) deteriorates, while Bleichert finds himself drawn to the enigmatic Madeleine (Hilary Swank), a wealthy woman with a dark and twisted connection to the victim.

Rotten Tomatoes® Score

Critics Consensus: Though this ambitious noir crime-drama captures the atmosphere of its era, it suffers from subpar performances, a convoluted story, and the inevitable comparisons to other, more successful films of its genre.
Entertainment Weekly

June 21, 2017
AV Club
Nathan Rabin

The pairing of Ellroy and De Palma proves a marriage made in hardboiled heaven.

June 21, 2017
Time Out
Ben Walters

Ellroy's prose crawls into characters' secret hearts and under the reader's skin, but its foetid h...

June 21, 2017
Stella Papamichael

It only works in fits and starts and the grand climax is too Rocky Horror to be true, yet the head...

June 21, 2017
New Yorker
David Denby

The picture is a kind of fattened goose that's been stuffed with goose-liver pâté. It's overrich a...

March 4, 2019
More on Rotten Tomatoes

Common Sense Media

Common Sense Media Iconage 18+
Common Sense Says
Unsolved Hollywood murder inspires dark '40s noir.

What Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this film is premised on a grisly, real-life 1947 murder that remains unsolved and is still the subject of both Internet discussion and TV investigation/forensics shows. The film features frequent images of bloody, shot, and sliced-up bodies. A presumably insane character rants in a disturbing way before committing suicide violently. The film also includes other explicit scenes of violence (a riot, shootings, a throat being sliced, a face being cut while held in a vise). Characters (especially women) appear in various states of undress; the detectives watch a porn film made by the murder victim that features lesbian activity. A nightclub scene features showgirls dancing provocatively and kissing each other on stage. A couple of sex scenes suggest "passion" by having characters rip each other's clothes off. Characters use foul language (especially "f--k"), smoke a lot of cigarettes, and drink.

A Lot or A Little?

The parents’ guide to what’s in this movie.
Positive Messages
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
More on Common Sense Media

Additional Info

  • Genre:Drama, Thriller
  • Release Date:September 15, 2006
  • Languages:English
  • Captions:English
  • Audio Format:
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