The Selfish Giant (2013) Poster

Parents Guide

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Sex & Nudity

Violence & Gore

  • Following a scene of boys verbally and physically bullying a lone boy about his family's poverty, the victim's friend arrives and instigates an outright physical fight, ultimately immobilizing the bully and inciting his friend to punch his bully in the face. No blood is shown, but the scene and language are violent, including classist remarks during the initial bullying scene. The victim and his friend are then shown being punished by the school system. It is unclear if there are consequences for the bully or his friends.
  • A man barks orders at and is otherwise verbally abusive towards his wife and children in and around their home. One of the young sons has money from scrapping metal and hides it from his father, putting it in his mother's purse so that she can covertly pay bills to collectors who come to the door. The abusive husband also gaslights and blames his wife for "not putting aside money" for their bills, when it appears he spends any money they have on some kind of habit.
  • A teenage boy attempts to steal prescription drugs from his younger brother to feed his habit. The aftermath at their home is later shown: a broken window, and their mother left visibly shaken by the incident.
  • A man punishes a young boy by forcing his hand dangerously close to the blades of a machine, while violently insulting him, however finally lets him go. The child is not injured, but he is seen screaming and struggling in fear. This scene is violent in its portrayal of the spite humanity can come to when plunged in misery.
  • A boy kicks a man hard between the legs and then wraps a cord around his neck, attempting to strangle him with it. The boy is stopped by other adults and then isolated.
  • A man strikes a boy in the face for appearing at his doorstep.


  • The entire script is littered with profanity, including children telling adults to, "Fuck off," and using just about every curse word in the English language, including several anatomical terms.
  • Obscene sexual insults made about a boy's mother during a confrontation, including remarks about bestiality.
  • A young boy swears at and is dismissive of both teachers and police officers.

Alcohol, Drugs & Smoking

  • A man who is verbally abusive towards his wife and children is insinuated to drink or otherwise have some kind of habit that causes him to spend all of the family's money, even when household furniture is being pawned to pay for utilities.
  • Adult men and teenage boys participate in and bet on horse-cart races. Drinking, smoking, etc.
  • A boy takes prescribed medication, administered by an adult at his school. The importance of his medication is mentioned throughout the film.
  • A teenage boy is said to steal his brother's prescription medication and take street drugs. His younger brother calls him a "crackhead" and makes shaming remarks at him during their brief encounters.

Frightening & Intense Scenes

  • The film has a grim tone throughout. The film is full of shouting, cursing, crying and delinquency in both adults and children. Many of the characters live in extreme poverty, desperation, and hopelessness.
  • Young boys grapple with themes of affection and survival, uncertain of whether it is possible to hold both in the harsh setting of their lives.


The Parents Guide items below may give away important plot points.

Violence & Gore

  • Death of a minor. A boy is electrocuted by a power beam and dies. He is seen twitching. His disfigured face and blackened hands are later seen up close.

Frightening & Intense Scenes

  • Young boys are shown scrapping metal for money to help their families survive. The scrap yard man they trade with is harsh, often dishonest, and sometimes violent. One of the boys grows to resent his treatment of them and begins to steal.
  • A foal is shown laying dead near a fallen power beam. It is implied that one of the young boys may have used the animal to test whether a metal power beam he wanted to scrap was live, and this greatly upsets another boy who discovers the dead animal near the beam. This may be upsetting to young audiences.

See also

Taglines | Plot Summary | Synopsis | Plot Keywords

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