• Review Date: May 13, 2003
  • Rated: R
  • Genre: Science Fiction
  • Release Year: 2002

Common Sense Media says

Violent post-nuclear sci-fi is Orwellian.
  • Review Date: May 13, 2003
  • Rated: R
  • Genre: Science Fiction
  • Release Year: 2002





What parents need to know


Violence and peril.

Not applicable

Some strong language.

Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Sci-fi drug use.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this film is violent. The opening scenes show a sense police raid, involving much shooting and death. The closing scenes are of greater violence, big explosions and more death. In between there is intermittent violence and death. Despite this, the film isn't unusually violent for this kind of movie, and the deaths aren't gory. Some younger children might be upset by the sense police's arrest and abduction of Preston's wife in front of her young family.

Parents say

Kids say

What's the story?

Equilibrium is set in the joyless state of Libria, a post-nuclear apocalypse, early 21st-century society where all human emotions are outlawed in order to prevent war. Any materials, such as books or artworks, that might cause people to feel sensations are destroyed, as are those who engage in their production, dissemination or appreciation. Human instincts are kept in check through the mind-numbing drug Prozium. The protectors of this violent peace are the "clerics." They are highly trained to detect anyone failing to take Prozium doses and destroy members of the underground. John Preston (Christian Bale) is a leading cleric, ruthless in his tracking down and eradicating of sense criminals, even those closest to him. However, after a potent meeting with underground member, Mary (Emily Watson), and a missed dose of Prozium, Preston begins to have feelings, and decides to bring down the system from the inside, a dangerous mission indeed.

Is it any good?


Equilibrium draws heavily from George Orwell's classic, 1984. Writer/director Kurt Wimmer substitutes "Big Brother" for "Father," whose voice and features are projected across Libria on enormous television screens, constantly reminding people of the dangers of the natural human state and the devastation it had led to in earlier, less sophisticated societies. Where Orwell has "thought police," Wimmer has "sense police." States in Orwell's world subdue their populations by the need to maintain their war efforts, while Libria's justifies the abuse of its people through the notion of sustaining peace.

There are a number of interesting issues that Equilibrium sets up to address. In discussions with children these could easily be drawn out, but the film itself descends into a predictable and formulaic shoot-em-up sci-fi action movie. The ninja-based gun fighting style used by the clerics verges on the balletic, but for any admirer of this film genre, they will have witnessed almost identical scenes in The Matrix.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about how Preston, emotion and beauty win over the dour, controlling Librian state, yet rather than straightforward tales of good over evil, the film leads one to question these opposing concepts. Peace is surely good, but in this case evil derives from an all-consuming quest for peace, which itself breeds violence. Familes can also talk about how the importance of love, loyalty and joy abound in this film, but glory is associated with violence and destruction

Movie details

Theatrical release date:December 6, 2002
DVD release date:May 13, 2003
Cast:Christian Bale, Sean Bean, Taye Diggs
Director:Kurt Wimmer
Genre:Science Fiction
Run time:107 minutes
MPAA rating:R
MPAA explanation:violence

This review of Equilibrium was written by

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  • 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.

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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.

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Kid, 12 years old Written bystarwars reviewer November 18, 2010

My emotion is... Wait... What IS my emotion? Curse those pills...

This movie was pretty decent given the plot. I... AH! Whew, almost stepped into one of the infamous plot holes! Believe me, this film has several. Still, this movie is very violent. I would say any kid who is ok with that should be able to view.

What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Great messages
Great role models
Teen, 16 years old Written byCurbspaget April 9, 2008
AGENot rated for age


I had no clue what this was about, I just rented it, and it was very good!

The only reason I said off for violence is because there are many close-combat hand fights where people get smashed in the head and chest with fists, guns, and katanas. Other than that there were maybe 5 swear words in the whole movie, everything else was clean. Very good, similar to The Matrix.

Teen, 15 years old Written byevolinag August 27, 2011

Acceptable sci-fi movie is dark and disturbing.

"Equilibrium" is a dark science fiction drama, that is surely thought-provoking and artier than most average movies, but still not a masterpiece.
Some aspects of the script are great, but sometimes there are unnecessary combat sequences that somehow take away the great athmosphere that prior scenes built up. However, it is defintely no waste of time.
The movie can be very unsettling and disturbing at some points. Especially the scenes where they shoot the dogs and the main character is forced to watch (the shootings are off-screen). Most of the characters have got no feelings, and the main character is forced to pretend that he also has got no feelings.
The movie is not bloody and does not have any gruesome details (even when a character's face is sliced off, you see it from the very side, so you don't see any detail), but can be quite emotional and disturbing at some parts. Not recommended for teenagers under the age of 16.
The movie itself is not a masterpiece.

What other families should know
Too much violence


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