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Parents' Guide to

12 Strong

By Michael Ordona, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 15+

Good cast in violent, patriotic, fact-based war movie.

Movie R 2018 130 minutes
12 Strong Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

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

Community Reviews

age 13+

Based on 12 parent reviews

age 17+

This is a mature movie rated R for a reason

I like to stay away and keep my children away from movies that show immodest/sensual dressed woman. This has a scene with a woman dressed with tight clothing at the beginning and on a different scene a woman is bending over on her knees cleaning her stove while her husband walks from behind and the camera has a close up on the wife’s face while exposing much cleavage. A little after on that same scene, the couple kiss and she exposes cleavage as she is wearing a thin tank top. On another scene a different husband and wife are laying in bed while the wife is dressed with a spaghetti thin tank top and the couple on this scene also kiss. This movie also has a LOT of cuss words!! Be aware of much violence as well! It’s a movie with a awakening message of what happened at that time but I would say only suitable for ages 17plus. This is a mature movie!!
age 16+

For sure very good

R: intense disturbing sequences of war violence, strong language and bloody images

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (12 ):
Kids say (9 ):

This is a solid war movie that manages to be patriotic while at least scratching the surface of the complexities of American involvement in Afghanistan. The filmmakers behind 12 Strong make a good effort to establish what these soldiers have at stake at home, but the movie's focus is on the action and their experience in country, rather than on characterization. Luckily, the movie has a fine cast, led by Hemsworth and the always-excellent Shannon and Peña; they do enough to make us buy who they are. And Rhodes has a touching side story with an Afghan boy. The action is well-staged, and the story moves along at a good clip. We're always generally aware of the objectives and the dangers.

It can be unsettling to watch stories "based on" real events, especially those involving war. In virtually any big-screen adaptation, events and characters must be compressed. But in war movies, people's lives and deaths are at issue. And in a story spurred by the 9/11 attacks, there's a particular danger of extreme patriotism and the devaluing of human life. Fortunately, 12 Strong avoids much of that peril by staying tightly focused on the unit's mission. It avoids painting the Americans as too saintly -- though you do have to wonder how the Afghans might feel about being painted as secondary in the battles, especially in the climactic one. And it avoids taking a condescending view of the Afghan people, while simultaneously depicting some of the horrors of the Taliban regime. The movie also hints at the likely overall futility of extended U.S. involvement, as when one Afghan essentially says, "You're our allies today; you're our enemies tomorrow." The incredible feat these particular soldiers helped accomplish is a tale that should be told, even if the movie version is more competent than truly absorbing. Still, the story is intriguing (modern American soldiers ride into battle on horseback against machine guns and rocket launchers), and the performances are strong. Just don't expect it to make a deeply lasting impression.

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