What parents should know about 'Split'
Posted January 21
THE MIND — If personality is what counts, then "Split" has 23 of it. With so much personality in one film, you can bet at least some of it is going to be disagreeable.
With the most recent M. Night Shyamalan film, fans have been rewarded with an exciting new movie to keep us on the edge of our seats. His iconic movie twists and misdirects make (most) of his films hard to take your eyes off for fear of missing some important clue or symbol to help unravel the riddles he weaves. “Split” is no exception.
Here are a few (spoiler free) plot points that adults and teenagers should be aware of before you find yourselves invested in the film, only to be blindsided by somethings you may not be comfortable with. This is what parents should know before sending your teenagers to see "Split."
I will start by defining the context of this film so you can better frame the rest of the review. As can be gathered by the trailer and John Clyde's full review, “Split” is about a man with a multiple personality disorder who kidnaps three teenage girls and holds them captive in an undisclosed location. The captor, played by James Mcavoy, cycles through several of his multiple personalities, keeping the audience and of course his victims unhinged as he torments his way through this film.
There is a fair amount of violence in this film with a couple slightly gory scenes. In this area, I am not sure it is more than you would see in a network television show, but the context in which it is shown seems to make it a little more unnerving. By the end of the movie, several murders have occurred and a lot of psychological damage has been done.
This is the area of the film I was most surprised by from a parent's perspective. There are two points I want to cover in this category:
1. While there are no overt sexual scenes, there was definitely an undertone of sexualizing the three teenage girls. Though no nudity was shown, you do see them in various states of undress as they are held against their will.
2. In addition to my previous point, I feel it is particularly important to tell you there is a subplot that runs throughout the film that deals specifically with the sexual abuse of a child. There is nothing graphic or outwardly offensive in the way this is dealt with and presented, but is important to note. Sexual abuse is a subject in this film and people who may be sensitive to this topic will want to avoid seeing it.
There is some swearing in the film, though not much more than what could be heard on the sidelines of a Junior Jazz game. The language was not sexual or extremely coarse. The only exception to this is one scene where ¾ of the “f” word was said— the only letter left out being “k”. This will make sense when you see it.
There is definitely a psychological component to this film that works very well for the story and keeps it unpredictable while at the same time taking it to a different level of creepy. Of course, there are things about “Split” that will not be for everyone. The film is rated PG-13, but I think a PG-16+ would be more appropriate. I wouldn’t feel comfortable taking my 13-year-old to this movie. As for you, I will leave it up to your discretion.