Parents' Guide to

Tears of the Sun

By Nell Minow, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 17+

Shamelessly one-sided with cheesy wooden dialogue.

Movie R 2003 118 minutes
Tears of the Sun Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 15+

Based on 3 parent reviews

age 14+

Superb movie. Very emotional
age 17+

This is what they do

I rely on common sense media (CSM) for insight into movies' "appropriateness." CSM is usually very trustworthy. But in this case very far from the mark. Tears of the Sun is akin to hallowed classics such as platoon or full metal jacket. It displayed a level of shocking realism which, I believe, young people need to be aware of. Parents please watch with your young adult children. Men up against impossible odds, willing to give their lives to help the powerless and stop real dark and powerful forces. Great suffering, terrible pain, a willingness to sacrifice oneself for another. These are themes which can be difficult for young people to understand.

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (3 ):
Kids say (4 ):

This movie feels like a script written for John Wayne that someone finally got around to filming 40 years later without any sense that times have changed. There are some good action sequences, but it is filled with clich&eacutes, shamelessly one-sided, has cheesy wooden dialogue, and a numbingly predictable plot. Waters defies American diplomatic policy going back to the Monroe Doctrine, and the point of the movie seems to be that this is unqualifiedly a good thing and that it is the job of a Navy Lieutenant to determine what our foreign policy should be and then just carry it out. There is no sense of the complexity of American intervention into a tragic civil conflict and no sense of the consequences of his choices.

A.K. may have learned to care, but that does not appear to be true of Willis. He does all right with the weary, man-of-the-world, let-me-handle-this moments. But, for example, when he is called upon to give a stirring "be a man" pep talk to a shaken Nigerian who has just seen everyone he cares about killed, the best he can do is bark, "Cowboy the **** up!" Monica Bellucci may be as talented as her press reports claim, but there is no way to tell that from her kittenish performance here.

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