Information for Parents
Common Sense Media says OK for kids 14+
Beautiful martial arts, some violence, uneven storyline.
What Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that The Grandmaster is a martial arts biopic about Ip Man, the legendary Wing Chun master who trained Bruce Lee. Director Wong Kar Wai is one of the world's most respected filmmakers, but this is one of his less acclaimed movies. Expect plenty of martial arts fighting, and though the film's focus is primarily on artistry and beauty, there's still some bone-crunching and spraying blood. "F--k" and "ass" each appear once in the English subtitles; sexuality isn't an issue, though scenes take place at a brothel (they're not graphic). One character becomes addicted to opium, and many characters, including the hero, smoke cigarettes. The same subject was covered -- quite differently -- in 2008's less artsy but more enjoyable Ip Man.
- Families can talk about The Grandmaster's violence. Did the fighting strike you as artistic, violent, or somewhere in between?
- What does the movie teach viewers about martial arts other than fighting?
- Does the fact that the main character smokes cigarettes make him less appealing?
The good stuff
Positive messages: Though the movie features quite a few violent fights, it also shows how the main character uses his brain in a fight -- and sometimes doesn't fight at all. He also perseveres through some tough times and becomes a teacher.
Positive role models: Teens will admire Ip Man's supreme martial arts skills and should likewise understand the kind of work, training, and dedication it takes to reach that level. It's also apparent that he's not a particularly violent person; he favors precision and grace over force. He also uses his head in a fight and sometimes doesn't fight at all. There's also a strong female martial arts fighter, though her story doesn't end well.
What to watch for
Violence: Several martial arts fights; though the emphasis is primarily on their beauty and artistry, there's some violence involved. Some victims suffer from broken bones; viewers can hear them crunch and see them on impact. There's also some spraying blood. One combatant uses blades in a fight, and another character spits up blood after a fight.
Sexy stuff: A long sequence takes place in a brothel, though nothing graphic is shown. The women are fully clothed in fancy dress, and there's no suggestion of sex, sexual innuendo, or sexual activity. The main character is married, and while separated from his wife during the war, he entertains feelings for another woman. But he never acts on them.
Language: The words "f---er" and "ass" appear once each in English subtitles.
Consumerism: Not an issue
Drinking, drugs and smoking: A secondary character becomes addicted to opium. Many characters, including the hero, are shown smoking cigarettes throughout the movie.