Preteen girl looking at a cell phone with her parents

Personalized picks at your fingertips

Get the mobile app on iOS and Android

Parents' Guide to

The Manchurian Candidate (2004)

By Nell Minow, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 16+

Sleek remake is more violent than original.

Movie R 2004 130 minutes
The Manchurian Candidate (2004) Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

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

Community Reviews

age 2+

Based on 1 parent review

age 2+

Skip it.

Overall, this movie is awful. It doesn't know whether to be a movie about policial intrigue, soldiers returning from war, or medical sci fi, and it's unconvincing at all of them. The violoence is gratuitous. many actions are unexplained or unexplainable, suggested incestual desires are at least distracting if not repugnant. Not even Meryl and Denzel could make this one work.

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (1 ):
Kids say (2 ):

This sleek and supple thriller features powerhouse performances, but never quite persuades us that it has anything to add to the Cold War classic starring Frank Sinatra and Angela Lansbury. Director Jonathan Demme ably creates a believably creepy atmosphere and there are some great visual effects, especially Shaw's hotel room, which includes an infinitely refractive illusion in a picture that hangs over the bed. Streep is mesmerizing.

But some of it gets overheated, especially a mad scientist who of course has an English accent and is scrupulously polite and a murder assignment that makes no sense as a matter of logistics. And the big reveal about the bad guys does not have the same punch of the original; it is not as successful at tapping into the fears of the moment.

Movie Details

Inclusion information powered by

Did we miss something on diversity?

Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

See how we rate