Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery Parent Guide
The casting is excellent but the slow pacing is a killer.
Parent Movie Review
Famous detective Benoit Blanc (Daniel Craig) is bored. With no cases at hand, he’s reduced to spending days in his bathtub, playing video games and smoking cigars. When a case drops into his lap, he can’t say no – an invitation to a weekend on a private Greek island to solve the upcoming murder of the billionaire host.
Business titan Miles Bron has a circle of loyal friends, who he refers to as his “disruptors”, all of whom are waiting on the pier with Blanc to be ferried to the island. There’s Birdie Jay (Kate Hudson), a retired model and media figure; Claire Debella (Kathryn Hahn), a state governor running for re-election; Duke Cody (Dave Bautists), a Twitch and YouTube celebrity now spouting men’s rights rhetoric; and Lionel Toussaint (Leslie Odom Jr.), a scientist for Bron’s firm. Along for the ride are Cody’s girlfriend, Whiskey (Madelyn Cline) and Kate’s companion, Peg (Jessica Henwick). Least welcome of all is Andi Brand (Janelle Monae), the woman with whom Bron founded Alpha Industries, and who lost her fortune thanks to his legal chicanery. As Blanc reviews his fellow guests, he becomes increasingly uneasy…
The plot thickens immediately upon arrival on the island when Blanc discovers that his invitation was not sent by Bron, but was forwarded to him by persons unknown. As Bron and Blanc try to figure out who thinks Blanc’s services will be necessary, tempers flare amongst the guests and dark histories spill into the open. A guest dies by foul play and it becomes apparent that this weekend doesn’t feature a sleuthing game but very real murder with all the fear and suspicion that inevitably follow.
Glass Onion is a sequel to Knives Out, the 2019 whodunit that introduced Benoit Blanc to the big screen. This year’s film shares its predecessor’s biggest flaw – terrible pacing. Once again, the first act does a fine job at introducing characters, interpersonal relationships, and murderous motives. The final act offers an over-the-top and bloated resolution of the story’s intrigue. The middle act drags as each piece of the puzzle unfolds slowly and deliberately with umpteen flashbacks and way too much repetition. This film is easily 20 minutes past its ideal runtime and good editing could have solved that problem without sacrificing clarity or tension.
This movie’s other fatal weakness is that the mystery is too easy to solve. I nailed the killer (although not all the details) shortly after the guests arrived on the island. Frankly, if you’ve read a lot of murder mysteries, as I did in my misspent teens, it’s not hard.
That said, there are some things the movie does well. For one thing, it’s set in 2020 and doesn’t try to pretend away the Covid pandemic. Characters wear masks when they’re out in public, and mask choices say something about their personalities as does their behavior in lockdown. The story also brilliantly skewers the uber-rich, with Bron’s excesses held up for mockery on a regular basis. The casting is excellent and Janelle Monae deserves praise for her versatility and believability in playing a complex part.
If you’re considering this movie for family viewing, you will want to consider the 80-plus profanities, a repeated scene of implied sexual activity, frequent discussions of murder, and death scenes that occur on air. Wholesome family recreation this isn’t. It is, however, interesting and if you and your teens enjoy solving puzzles and debating ethical issues, this could keep your brains busy for an evening.Directed by Rian Johnson. Starring Daniel Craig, Edward Norton, Kate Hudson. Running time: 139 minutes. Theatrical release December 23, 2022. Updated December 21, 2022
Watch the trailer for Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery
Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery
Rating & Content Info
Why is Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery rated PG-13? Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery is rated PG-13 by the MPAA for strong language, some violence, sexual material and drug content.
Violence: A man collapses and dies on screen due to foul play. A woman is shot in the chest; with injury detail and blood. A woman is sedated and murdered. An angry woman destroys a box with a hammer. An old woman slaps her son. There is a scene of massive property destruction. A building is deliberately set on fire and there is a massive fireball. There is mention of suicide. There is reference to an invention “blowing up the world”.
Sexual Content: A bikini-clad woman sits astride a man on his bed: there is no nudity but sex is implied. A man and woman have a brief online discussion of women’s breasts using slang terms. Women are seen in very revealing bikinis in more than one scene. A box of Viagra is briefly seen and there is mention of “boner pills”. There is a brief glimpse of a sex toy but it is not seen in a sexual context. Nude women are seen in art in non-sexual contexts.
Profanity: There are over 80 profanities, including a sexual expletive, several sexual hand gestures, over three dozen terms of deity, over two dozen scatological curses, nine anatomical terms, and seven minor profanities. A religious slur is used as are several crude terms for women and for illegitimacy. A slang term for women’s breasts is used.
Alcohol / Drug Use: All main characters are frequently shown drinking alcohol, and some are obviously intoxicated. One woman is so drunk she vomits. A main character smokes cigars on several occasions and a few other characters smoke cigarettes. There are glimpses of an adult smoking a joint; pre-rolled joints and a cannabis plant are also briefly visible.
Page last updated December 21, 2022
Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery Parents' Guide
How does Benoit solve the mystery? What clues does he follow? Did you come to the same conclusion or did plot elements distract you?
Why do Miles Bron’s friends remain loyal to him? What are the benefits? What are the costs? How do they really feel about him? Would they be able to remain friends if they didn’t do the things he demands?
What do you think of the choices Miles Bron makes in spending his money? Do any of the appeal to you? Do you think any of them are ridiculous? Why? If you had his fortune, how would you spend it?
Loved this movie? Try these books…
Agatha Christie famously set several of her murder mysteries on islands, including And Then There Were None, Evil Under the Sun, Nemesis and A Caribbean Mystery.
Related home video titles:
The first movie in this series is Knives Out, in which Benoit Blanc investigates the death of a famous author.
Murder strikes at English country house party in Gosford Park.
If you’re looking for murder mysteries geared at teens and tweens, you can try Miss Willoughby and the Haunted Bookshop. Set in Victorian England, Enola Holmes and Enola Holmes 2 feature Sherlock Holmes’ younger sister as she conducts investigations that involve her in dangerous adventures.