Deterrence

  • Review Date: May 20, 2003
  • Rated: R
  • Genre: Drama
  • Release Year: 2000

Common Sense Media says

A president wrestles with another Iraq war.
  • Review Date: May 20, 2003
  • Rated: R
  • Genre: Drama
  • Release Year: 2000

Age(i)

2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17

Quality(i)

 

What parents need to know

Violence

Character shot. Tense scenes of world peril.

Sex

Mild.

Language

Very strong language.

Consumerism
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Drinking and smoking.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this movie deals with racism and politics.

User reviews

Parents say

Not yet rated
Review this title!

Kids say

Not yet rated
Review this title!

What's the story?

Made in 2000, DETERRENCE is set in 2008. Iraq has invaded Kuwait and President Emerson (Kevin Pollack) has to respond quickly. Like his predecessors, President Emerson must decide how to respond to aggression that affects the U.S. indirectly -- for the moment. But unlike his predecessors, he does not have the luxury of time. In the past, it took days to move troops around, and diplomats used that time to negotiate. But there is no time for diplomacy when both sides have nuclear bombs and one refuses to back down. Emerson has a couple of additional complications. Like Gerald Ford, he was appointed vice president and then became president unexpectedly. He has never been elected to national office, and is concerned that he does not have the broad support of the voters. The threat from Iraq comes in the middle of his first campaign for the presidency. And he is Jewish. The Iraqi diplomat refuses to negotiate with him because of his religion. And he worries that aggressive action will be seen by Americans as unnecessary, risky, and more based on concerns about Israel than about the U.S. and world peace.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

Teens may think that it does not really matter who gets elected president. Or, they may think that the important issues in this year's election are the domestic controversies that attract most of the coverage, like abortion and gun control. This movie gives teens a chance to think about the importance of a candidate's character and judgment, and to imagine how they might respond if presented with the direst circumstances.

One of the movie's strengths is its grounding in recent history, including the bombing of Hiroshima, the Cuban Missile Crisis, and Operation Desert Storm. The movie begins with news footage of presidents from Franklin Roosevelt to Bill Clinton explaining, as they send troops into battle, that what they are doing will save lives and promote peace.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about how presidents have made these decisions in the past, those that were successful, those that failed, and those that are still being debated. Ask them whose advice they would listen to, if they were in Emerson's position, and what they would do if they did not have his Hollywood-style convenient resolution. What kind of qualities should a president have, and how are those qualities revealed in campaigns? What do they think about the way Emerson accepted the consequences of his decision?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:March 10, 2000
DVD release date:August 29, 2000
Cast:Kevin Pollak, Sean Astin, Timothy Hutton
Director:Rod Lurie
Studio:Paramount Pictures
Genre:Drama
Run time:101 minutes
MPAA rating:R
MPAA explanation:language and violence

This review of Deterrence was written by

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

Find out more

Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

Find out more

Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging, great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging, good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging, good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging, okay learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

Find out more

About our buy links

When you use our links to make a purchase, Common Sense Media earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes. As a nonprofit organization, these funds help us continue providing independent, ad-free services for educators, families, and kids while the price you pay remains the same. Thank you for your support.

See more about how we rate and review.

What parents and kids say

Write a user reviewThere aren't any reviews yet. Be the first to review this title.

Poll

Did our review help you make an informed decision about this product?

Top Kids' Movies: An Essential Guide for Families