Asking for It Parent Guide
This ambitious revenge thriller bites off more than it can chew.
Parent Movie Review
Small-town waitress Joey (Kiersey Clemons) doesn’t have much excitement in her life, but she’s excited about an upcoming date with Mike (Casey Cott), an old schoolmate who just finished law school. The big night disappoints: she wakes up the next morning hungover, with hazy memories of the night before. As Mike tells her to buy emergency contraceptives, Joey realizes that she’s been raped.
Unwilling to tell anyone about her experience, Joey struggles through depression and trauma alone… until she meets Regina (Alexandra Shipp), who introduces her to some new friends: Beatrice (Vanessa Hudgens), Lily (Leslie Stratton), Sal (Radha Mitchell), and Fala (Casey Camp-Horinek). All of these women have had bad experiences with men and are organizing to fight back. Their target? So-called “Men’s First Movement” leader, alt-right icon, and pick-up-artist Mark Vanderhill (Ezra Miller), who has been making a name for himself calling for male supremacy and violence against women. He might just have another think coming when Joey and her new friends catch up with him…
Running primarily as a feminist-themed revenge flick, Asking for It struggles to adequately address all the issues it raises. Obviously, the film is primarily concerned with sexual violence and misogyny generally, but it also gets into issues around human trafficking, vigilante justice, toxic masculinity, and the justice system. While these topics are clearly related, there’s too much here to be unpacked and explored in a 90 minute action movie.
This problem is not helped by an editing style which I would describe as frenetic. Scenes sometimes transition normally, but frequently cut to a strange, high-speed montage of stylized still images, sometimes with text. The filmmakers also have an unfortunate tendency to apply strange effects in post-production, which make parts of the film dizzying and difficult to follow visually.
As you might have guessed from the synopsis, the Restricted rating is accurate and this movie shouldn’t be watched by underage viewers. Depictions of violence, rape, nudity, and drug use are accompanied by a fairly casual attitude to profanity, which doesn’t make the film any more family friendly. And while I absolutely support the sentiment of the film, namely that rapists and violent misogynists should face serious and unpleasant consequences, I can’t honestly recommend it. Despite an excellent cast and the best intentions, Asking for It has divided its attention between too many issues, and I finished the film feeling like it had neglected a lot of them. But if you’re just looking for some good old fashioned revenge fantasy, you might release some pent-up rage with this flick.Directed by Eamon O'Rourke. Starring Kiersey Clemons, Vanessa Hudgens, Alexandra Shipp. Running time: 97 minutes. Theatrical release March 4, 2022. Updated March 4, 2022
Asking for It
Rating & Content Info
Why is Asking for It rated R? Asking for It is rated R by the MPAA for disturbing and violent content, sexual material, nudity, and language throughout
Violence: Several people are hit and beaten. Many people are shot. Individuals are exposed to a chemical agent. A character is tazered. Several characters are pepper sprayed. A man is stabbed.
Sexual Content: There are several depictions of rape without nudity. Individuals are seen dancing topless in a club. There are discussions of sexual assault.
Profanity: There are 72 sexual expletives, 16 scatological terms, and frequent use of mild curses and terms of deity. There are multiple uses of homophobic and racist slurs.
Alcohol / Drug Use: Adult characters are seen drinking and smoking both tobacco and marijuana. There is a brief reference to heroin.
Page last updated March 4, 2022
Asking for It Parents' Guide
This film refers to high-profile real-world events and figures. Who is Brock Turner? How is his story echoed in the film? What real life figures and groups inspire a character like Mark Vanderhill? Who are Ben Shapiro and Jordan Peterson, and how do their ideologies appeal to vulnerable young men? How do those ideas function as a pipeline to more alt-right groups?