Want more recommendations for your family?
Sign up for our weekly newsletter for entertainment inspiration
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
The movie has strong messages about triumphing over the odds and facing challenges with courage. Aron works hard to solve his problem, keeping his head and trying not to panic or give up.
Positive Role Models
The movie presents Aron as a brave survivor and a hero, someone who faced incredible odds and won. He's not flawless; he swears a lot, and flashbacks show him in sexual situations and drinking, plus he probably could have avoided his situation entirely if he had been more responsible. But this event was a life-changer, and it clearly woke him up. During part of the movie, he engages in extreme survival techniques that may disturb some viewers, such as drinking urine.
Violence & Scariness
Intense, gruesome self-inflicted violence; some reports say that audience members have passed out as a result of watching it. In the worst of it, Aron tries to saw through his own arm, which requires him to slice through flesh (blood is shown), snap the bone, and sever what looks like a nerve; the movie uses blasts of shrieking noise on the soundtrack to illustrate the pain. Close-ups and X-ray shots of the arm are seen. In an earlier, more carefree moment, Aron wipes out on his bike.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Violence & Scariness in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Sex, Romance & Nudity
Flashbacks show Aron with a former girlfriend. They're seen under a blanket, possibly naked, presumably after sex. There's innuendo and sex talk. A carload of teens performs a "freeze-out," i.e. taking off all their clothes and rolling down the windows of a moving car on a cold night (very little actual nudity is shown). Aron goes swimming with two pretty girls; he later watches his video of the swim, with lust/desire implied.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Sex, Romance & Nudity in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Many uses of "f--k" and "s--t," plus "crap," "oh my God," and more.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Language in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Products & Purchases
Gatorade makes a prominent appearance, and when his water runs low, Aron fantasizes about cold drinks -- and viewers see actual TV ads for Sunkist, Coke, and Perrier. Mountain Dew and Scooby-Doo are also mentioned.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Twenty-something characters are seen drinking beer at a party in an imagined flashback, and Aron drinks wine with his girlfriend (in a real flashback). No one is seen over-indulging.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Drinking, Drugs & Smoking in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this intense drama from the director of Slumdog Millionaire is based on a true story about a hiker trapped in the bottom of a canyon for more than five days, his arm pinned between a boulder and the canyon wall. Although there's some very gruesome self-inflicted violence as the main character (who's played by James Franco) attempts to free himself -- some audience members reportedly passed out at preview screenings -- ultimately 127 Hours is a positive, life-affirming story about overcoming incredible odds. Those who have the stomach for the bloody parts can also expect some heavy language (not all that surprising, considering the movie's circumstances), and flashback scenes with drinking and sexual situations. There are also notable beverage product placements (Gatorade, Coke, Perrier, etc.) as the main character gets thirsty and dreams of something to drink. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
Franco gives a powerhouse performance in the one-man centerpiece role, humanizing the movie and providing its emotional core. Directed by Danny Boyle (127 HOURS is his first movie afte the Oscar-winning Slumdog Millionaire) the movie is very slick and stylish, including shots from inside a water bottle and X-ray shots of Aron's arm, as well as a large collection of fantasy sequences and flashbacks and clever, effective cinematography and editing.
You could argue that this high style is gratuitous, but on the other hand, it may be necessary to help the very intense material go down a little smoother; it gives viewers occasional rest breaks and moments of hope. It's interesting to compare 127 Hours to another one-man "trapped" movie, the almost totally stripped-down Buried. Both movies are powerful in their own ways. But 127 Hours will no doubt resonate more with audiences, given its ultimately hopeful message and themes of bravery and heroism.
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.