Parkland

  • Review Date: October 2, 2013
  • Rated: PG-13
  • Genre: Drama
  • Release Year: 2013

Common Sense Media says

JFK movie captures mood but omits a great deal; some blood.
  • Review Date: October 2, 2013
  • Rated: PG-13
  • Genre: Drama
  • Release Year: 2013

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

Positive messages
The movie more or less celebrates the quiet heroism of people who are dealing with a national tragedy -- though not all of them succeed.
Positive role models
Most characters aren't on screen long enough to become real role models, but many of them behave in heroic ways, even if the end results aren't always optimal. Some of them behave irrationally. Early on, Zapruder starts to tell a stereotypical joke (about a Jew, an Italian, and an Irishman) and later decides to make money by selling his film to LIFE magazine. But many characters keep a clear head and try to help others.
Violence
The Zapruder film of John F. Kennedy's assassination is discussed and partly seen but not completely shown. Characters are shocked when they see it. A bloody Kennedy is wheeled into the emergency room, and viewers witness a blood-soaked attempt to save his life. Mrs. Kennedy is shown spattered with blood from the shooting, and she dazedly hands over a small piece of brain and skull to a nurse. Lee Harvey Oswald is also wheeled into the same hospital after his shooting. Stressed-out characters frequently argue and shout at one another.
Sex
Zac Efron's character flirts with a nurse in the early scenes. He slides his hand around her waist as he walks by, and she responds with a smile.
Language
"F--k" is used once. Characters use "oh my God" and "goddamn" more frequently. "S--t," "son of a bitch," "hell," "piss," "damn," and "Jesus Christ" (as an exclamation) are also heard.
 
Consumerism
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Several adult characters are seen smoking cigarettes throughout the film, mostly in a casual, background way. It's all accurate for the movie's time period.
 

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Parkland tells the story of President John F. Kennedy's assassination in 1963 through the eyes of some of the story's minor players -- for example, Abraham Zapruder, Lee Harvey Oswald's brother, the doctors who tried to save the president, and the Secret Service agents who weren't able to protect him. It's not clear whether teens will be interested in this type of history, and they might be better served to look elsewhere for a clearer idea of who Kennedy was, what he did, what happened to him, and why it mattered. Expect some gruesome, bloody hospital scenes and lots of arguing. Language isn't frequent but does include some strong words (one use of "f--k," plus "s--t," "bitch," etc.). There's a brief scene of Zac Efron flirting with a nurse, and many of the characters smoke cigarettes in a casual way (accurate for the time period).

Parents say

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Kids say

What's the story?

In November 1963, President John F. Kennedy is visiting Dallas, and everyone is excited. But when he's shot, people experience different reactions. A hospital staff (Zac Efron, Marcia Gay Harden, Colin Hanks) tries to save him. Abraham Zapruder (Paul Giamatti) films the motorcade with his new motion picture camera and finds himself in possession of valuable evidence. A Secret Service agent (Billy Bob Thornton) tries to deal with the fact that he and his men failed in their jobs. An FBI agent (Ron Livingston) realizes that he could have captured the shooter, Lee Harvey Oswald, in advance. And the killer's brother, Robert Oswald (James Badge Dale), tries to come to terms with this deadly, shocking act.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 
Rookie writer/director Peter Landesman had a great idea for PARKLAND, making a kind of "rarities and 'B'-sides" collection and re-telling the story of the Kennedy assassination through the eyes of the minor players. But he doesn't really connect these stories other than through the tragedy itself -- and, taken separately, none of the stories has any great depth.
 
It's interesting seeing amateur filmmaker Abraham Zapruder portrayed onscreen, especially by Giamatti, but his story arc is a little disappointing -- he tries to find a place to quickly develop and copy the film but then just as quickly sells it to LIFE magazine. The story of Lee Harvey Oswald's brother, Robert, is more interesting and might have made a good feature by itself, but again, there's too little here. The hospital sequence is probably the least useful, decorated by escalated blood and gore, giving the talented Harden nothing to do, and giving the lifeless Efron too much.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the effect that violence has on Parkland's characters. How do they react? How does the bloody/gory hospital scene fit into the movie?
  • Does this movie give an idea of who Kennedy was? Or is it more about how he affected people? What's the difference? How does this movie compare to any other JFK movies you may have seen?
  • Two of the characters are interested in making money from the tragedy. How does the movie view them?
  • Who are the bravest and noblest of the characters? Are they role models? What can you learn from them?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:October 4, 2013
DVD release date:November 5, 2013
Cast:James Badge Dale, Paul Giamatti, Zac Efron
Director:Peter Landesman
Studio:Exclusive Media
Genre:Drama
Topics:History
Run time:93 minutes
MPAA rating:PG-13
MPAA explanation:bloody sequences of ER trauma procedures, some violent images and language, and smoking throughout

This review of Parkland 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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Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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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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Adult Written byBestPicture1996 February 2, 2014
AGE
14
QUALITY
 

Set the expectations low and you'll have a good time

This so-so Kennedy assassination reenactment has tons of stars, but only James Badge Dale and Paul Giamatti, respectively as the assassin's brother and the man who took the infamous Kennedy footage, get a solid amount of screen time. The rest of the characters are just famous places reenacting history. The emotional reactions are pretty authentic, but I needed more investment in the characters for this not just to be a made for TV movie on the matter.

What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Teen, 14 years old Written byMy1ten0baby January 17, 2014
AGE
2
QUALITY
 

See #8

What other families should know
Great messages

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