Triangle of Sadness Parent Guide
After a painfully dull first act, this film finds its vibe as a dark "eat the rich" satire.
Parent Movie Review
Professional models and social media influencers Carl (Harris Dickinson) and Yaya (Charlbi Dean) have scored free tickets on a luxury cruise aboard a stunning superyacht, and are hoping to use the time aboard to stabilize their relationship. The other guests, as you’d expect on a superyacht, are a motley assortment the super-rich, including a Russian manure magnate (Zlatko Buric) and a pair of British arms dealers (Amanda Walker and Oliver Ford Davies). The crew, hoping for substantial tips on their return to port, are endlessly accommodating of the guests’ bizarre demands. The odd man out, literally speaking, is the captain (Woody Harrelson), who seems to have barricaded himself in his quarters in order to drink heavily in peace – despite the increasingly desperate exhortations of his chief of staff, Paula (Vicki Berlin) and executive officer, Darius (Arvin Kananian). A ship of fools with no leadership heading into a low-pressure system…what could go wrong?
Triangle of Sadness has an excruciating pacing problem with a very easy solution. The first half hour of the movie is entirely inconsequential. Unless you like watching shallow morons bicker with each other about who pays for dinner, this thirty-minute chunk is going to be a waste of your time and attention. Fortunately, the film gets good quickly thereafter. My advice? Make liberal use of the fast forward button and save yourself some trouble.
I’m not kidding about the movie getting good, though. Once you’ve suffered through the first act of extravagant insouciance and dazzling boredom, the story moves on to the yacht where all the fun starts. More characters are introduced, more problems come up, and the actual tone of the film settles into the rhythm it keeps until credits roll. What really boosts the story is when Woody Harrelson shows up as the self-loathing, heavy drinking champagne-socialist Captain of this ill-fated cruise. It’s hard to go wrong with Woody Harrelson, frankly.
Family audiences might have more issues than the pacing, though. I’d guess that the largest concern is going to be the 22 f-bombs scattered like land mines throughout the runtime, but the constant drinking is likely to raise some eyebrows as well. Yours, anyway, since I doubt most of these characters can feel anything above the neck given the rate at which they’re putting away the champagne. There’s also a partially clothed sex scene that I could have lived without (although it is relevant to the plot), and a scene of partial nudity in a thoroughly non-sexual context. If you’re undeterred, then you’re likely not going to mind a smattering of mostly off-screen violence either.
This is a snarky little black comedy, with a lot of pointed criticisms and social commentary, all of which I like. I would have enjoyed it a lot more if it hadn’t spent the entire first act making me want to beat my head into a wall until my brains resembled nothing so much as grey jell-o, but I can’t be too mad. The reward for surviving (or, more wisely, skipping) that waste of celluloid is a funny, occasionally gross reimagining of a bourgeoise 21st century Gilligan’s Island with some solid performances. That’s not a bad prize, as these things go.
Directed by Ruben Ostlund. Starring Woody Harrelson, Harris Dickinson, Charlbi Dean. Running time: 147 minutes. Theatrical release October 7, 2022. Updated January 27, 2023
Triangle of Sadness
Rating & Content Info
Why is Triangle of Sadness rated R? Triangle of Sadness is rated R by the MPAA for language and some sexual content
Violence: Two people die when a hand grenade explodes. Gunfire is heard and a large explosion is seen from a distance. A number of dead bodies are seen. A donkey when it is struck repeatedly in the head with a large rock.
Sexual Content: Some graphic sexual dialogue is heard as a couple are seen partially clothed under a sheet. A man is seen nude on a toilet.
Profanity: There are 22 sexual expletives, 17 scatological curses, and occasional uses of mild curses and terms of deity.
Alcohol / Drug Use: Adult characters are frequently seen drinking, occasionally to excess. An adult is also seen smoking a cigar.
Page last updated January 27, 2023
Triangle of Sadness Parents' Guide
What does the movie say about misogyny, class, and modern capitalism? How does it make those points? Do you think these characters are intended as accurate depictions of real people, or convenient ideological stand-ins/caricatures? Do you think that distinction matters as far as the films’ efficacy is concerned?