Victor Frankenstein parents guide

Victor Frankenstein Parent Review

Teens might find this story fresher than older audiences who have already seen movie versions of Mary Shelley's Frankenstein.

Overall B-

What begins as an experiment to help mankind become immortal turns into something more frightful for Igor Strausman (Daniel Radcliffe), the assistant to an increasingly obsessive scientist named Victor Frankenstein (James McAvoy).

Violence C-
Sexual Content B-
Profanity B-
Substance Use C

Victor Frankenstein is rated PG-13 for macabre images, violence and a sequence of destruction.

Movie Review

Igor (Daniel Radcliffe) wasn’t always called Igor. Once a circus clown (who doubles as the company’s first aid expert), the deformed entertainer had a chance meeting with Victor Frankenstein (James McAvoy) when he used his surprising medical knowledge to save the life of trapeze artist Lorelei (Jessica Brown Findlay). Recognizing his genius, Frankenstein whisked the hunchback out of the ring and into his laboratory where a quick-but-painful session of day surgery cures his disfigurement and alters his entire existence.

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Given the new moniker by Frankenstein, Igor is enlisted to become the eccentric creator’s assistant as well and work with him on his big dream—to bring life to the dead. The process begins with Frankenstein scrounging animal limbs and organs from deceased zoo specimens and Igor stitching together the various cuts of meat. Joining a few filet mignons with a chimpanzee head, they construct a beast with a face only a mad scientist could love. Trundling their creation over to the local medical school, the pair applies a few generous jolts of electricity and voilà! The monkey monster wrecks mayhem in the hallways and impresses a wealthy student named Finnegan (Freddie Fox), whose dismissive demeanor turns to admiration and a pledge of financial support for Frankenstein’s next creation: A super human.

This new direction, along with Frankenstein’s growing obsession to generate life from things lying around the lab, convinces Igor the madness must end. Meanwhile Police Inspector Turpin (Andrew Scott) has been tracking the activities of the god-wannabe for some time and is also determined to bring a halt to what he views as satanic science.

Despite the obvious expenses involved in creating this Victorian period movie, there is little payback for audiences. The narrator’s introductory line, “You know the story,” proves to be too true. McAvoy’s character spends most of his screen time screaming out commands and making monologues about his vast vision of human-created life. Turpin’s religious zeal devolves into a witch-hunt. And Igor really just wants to fall in love with Lorelei, but is constantly yanked back by a leash of loyalty to the man who gave him a new start.

Violence is pervasive in this tale that centers on patch-worked ghouls. Although the visual imagery is more Halloween-esque than downright gory, there are still plenty of depictions of gunplay, fistfights, explosions, and a near drowning. A corpse with missing eyes and a more human-like monster being shot and impaled multiple times are also seen. Even though the characters face the threat of death for man and monster alike, there is still enough time for an unmarried couple to exchange a few kisses and sneak off together in a scene where sexual activity is implied. The script features infrequent profanities, terms of deity and a scatological expletive too.

Teens might find this story fresher than older audiences who have seen Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein in previous versions. But, sadly, this jolt of story development may not be enough to bring this classic character back to life.

Directed by Paul McGuigan. Starring Daniel Radcliffe, James McAvoy, Jessica Brown Findlay, Andrew Scott. Running time: 110 minutes. Theatrical release November 25, 2015. Updated

Get details on profanity, sex and violence in Victor Frankenstein here.

Victor Frankenstein Parents Guide

Frankenstein refers to his monster as “Prometheus” – a Titan from Greek mythology credited with creating mankind and blessing them with the gift of fire. Did you know the author Mary Shelly also used that named in the title of her now-classic story? (It was published as Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus). What significance do you think she was trying to convey with that reference? To which of the characters do you think Shelly was comparing Prometheus?

In the script, Frankenstein casts off religion in favor of technology. Why do you think he chooses to believe in science instead of God? Who challenges his assertions? Do you think his experiments confirm or contradict where he has placed his faith? What roles do religion and scientific discovery play in your belief system?

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