The Paperboy

2012 R 1h 47m Blu-ray / DVD

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The Paperboy

2012 R 1h 47m Blu-ray / DVD
  • Overview
  • Details
Convinced by a death row inmate's female pen pal that the convict is innocent, a reporter and his brother investigate and discover a case marred by deceit, seduction and betrayal. Meanwhile, one brother falls for the convict's mysterious confidant.
Blu-ray DVD
Widescreen 2.35:1
English, Spanish (Neutral), English SDH
English: Dolby Digital 5.1
Widescreen 2.35:1
English, Spanish (Neutral), English SDH
English: Dolby True HD
R - Under 17 requires accompanying parent or adult guardian. Contains some adult material. Parents are urged to learn more about the film before taking their young children with them.
age 17+
Common Sense rating Not for kids
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age 17+

Common Sense Note

Parents need to know that The Paperboy is a '60s-set thriller from Precious director Lee Daniels about several volatile relationships surrounding a convicted murderer. It's astoundingly violent, with lots of bloody murders and scenes of torture and blood. Nudity isn't prevalent (though viewers do see both naked tops and bottoms), but sex is: One main female character has sex with three other characters, and one scene is very violent (it's not clear whether she's experiencing pleasure, pain, or both). Language is likewise strong, with pointed uses of "f--k," "s--t," and the "N" word, as well as tons of sexual innuendo. There's also heavy drinking. There are no role models here, and not much to be learned. Teens (and younger) may be interested thanks to star Zac Efron (who joins Nicole Kidman and Matthew McConaughey), but this one is best saved for adults.

Sexual Content

During the pain/pleasure sex scene, the woman is mostly clothed, but the man's thrusting bottom is shown (a shirt-tail hangs partly over it). The woman also has sex with two other characters, one off screen and the other only briefly shown, with no nudity. There's a bizarre sexual scene in which a woman visits a man in prison, and they both reach orgasm merely by looking at each other. Zac Efron is often shown naked except for his "tighty whitie" underwear. Matthew McConaughey is shown partly naked (mostly his bottom). Strong innuendo throughout, and other images of sex (in a car) and brief toplessness (a teen girl).


Several brutal murders, usually committed by stabbing or slicing with knives. Main characters die. A woman is treated violently and murdered (off screen). One dead body is shown with its entrails hanging out. A main character is shown hog-tied and naked, victimized in some unknown way; he's beaten and bloody with a huge puddle of blood on the floor. Dead animals (mainly alligators) are shown, their guts sliced out. There's a scene of violent sex, and it's unclear whether the woman is experiencing pleasure or pain (perhaps both).


Strong, constant language is probably about half sexual innuendo. Words include "f--k" and "motherf---er," "s--t," "c--k," "bitch," "ass," "vagina," the "N" word, "blow job," "piss," "goddamn," and "fag."

Social Behavior

A group of characters fails to work together well: Lying, cheating, and murder are the results. Mostly these characters learn what not to do, and they pay the price for it.


Not applicable.

Drugs / Tobacco / Alcohol

Main characters smoke cigarettes throughout and are seen drinking in bars. In some scenes, characters get somewhat drunk. In one particular scene, a main character -- following a violent attack that leaves his face disfigured -- locks himself inside for a long, destructive drinking binge. He's shown staggering drunk, bottles everywhere, and a horrible smell is described.

  • Age appropriate
  • Not an issue
  • Depends on your child and your family
  • Parents strongly cautioned
  • Not appropriate for kids of the age

This information for parents is provided by Common Sense Media, a non-profit organization dedicated to improving kids' media lives.

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