Parents' Guide to

The Motorcycle Diaries

By Charles Cassady Jr., Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 16+

Subtly political biopic won't interest most teens.

Movie R 2004 128 minutes
The Motorcycle Diaries 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 13+

Excellent and Subtle

This is a beautifully shot movie based on a book. It has an outstanding lead actor that skillfully and subtly touches upon the injustices outside of the U.S., which the US. helped create, through pillaging other countries’ land, resources and people. What corporations do when given this much power (i.e. United Fruit Company) is another story - not part of this film but something educated adults will know. Kids will simply see this as a an adult friends’ road trip movie — but Ernesto at points realizes the horrific injustices of poverty of his neighbors, for example the way his countries treat people in poverty and those with leprosy. The end is particularly inspiring. Well worth watching, especially for adults to see a tiny piece of history that created these revolutionaries.
age 18+

Is It Any Good?

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

This is a very subtle, realistic film (Marxism and the United States are barely mentioned) compared to the hysterical propaganda pieces that came out of the former USSR, or even the U.S. Indeed, if these were two fictional characters you'd think it was just a well-acted, rather shapeless road-movie about friendship and Latin America in the 1950s. We doubt impressionable youth will convert to Castroism solely by watching, without additional reinforcement, although the moviemakers certainly find Ernesto deeply admirable from the get-go. Unlike Alberto, Ernesto tells the truth even when it hurts, and shows innate compassion for the downtrodden. And who could argue with that? (Many Americans regard Che and his comrades as terrorists and critics of the movie have compared the Communists to the Nazis)

The Motorcycle Diaries stars some of the top Latin-American actors and lists Robert Redford as the executive producer. For young viewers, however, unless they've got a deep interest in the subject already, or love polishing up their Spanish-language skills, this journey might seem longer than Frodo and Samwise walking to Mount Doom.

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