A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Pays tribute to the uncredited "shadow soldiers" who protected the state department and CIA agents; per the movie, they prevent the Benghazi incident from becoming even deadlier. Suggests that disobeying orders is OK if it means saving lives and that bureaucracy is the reason so many lives were lost that night in Libya.
Positive Role Models
The men in the movie -- privately paid individuals who are no longer working in the armed forces as soldiers -- are indisputably brave. That said, the movie glamorizes self-proclaimed "warriors" over agents with years of international diplomatic and intelligence experience. Few agents are shown as courageous except for a chef and a female spy. Some viewers may take issue with the way Muslim characters are depicted.
Violence & Scariness
Combat scenes include shoot-outs between heavily armed U.S. forces/security detail and a Libyan militia. Machine guns, RPGs, and explosions. Men die from bullet wounds and smoke inhalation. A man walks around with part of his forearm and wrist detached from his body, spraying blood everywhere. Another man with debris stuck in his body also bleeds profusely. Lots of blood and dead bodies are visible. A prominent character's dead body is thrown off a building.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
No sex, but an American man asks a Libyan man whether Gaddafi's guard was really composed of solely beautiful women, and a Libyan man makes gestures indicating big breasts and a curvy, tall build. A female CIA agent is tender and almost flirtatious toward a male contractor, but there's nothing between them but obvious fondness.
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Lots of swearing in the movie's high-stakes, life-or-death environment, including "f--k," "s--t," "a--hole," "s--tstorm," etc.
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Products & Purchases
Almost all of the tricked-out, bullet-proof cars are Mercedes.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Adults smoke cigarettes and a hookah and drink in a few scenes.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi is an action-heavy thriller based on eye-witness accounts of the events leading up to the attacks on the temporary American mission in Benghazi and the secret CIA annex on Sept. 11, 2012. Directed by Michael Bay, the movie is based on a memoir written by a group of CIA contractors who claim they were ready to help the ambassador and his small U.S. State Department detail but were told to stand down by their base chief. The movie is seen as highly political by some and shouldn't be considered an impartial narrative of what happened on that fateful night. Frequently violent and bloody, the movie shows dead bodies, including that of a prominent character. People die from bullet wounds, explosions, and fires/smoke inhalation. There's also a fair bit of strong language ("f--k," "s--t," and more) and a few mild innuendoes. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
Known for big-budget explosions, fast edits, and anti-authority warriors (be they cops, self-sacrificing oil drillers, or Transformers), Bay once again glorifies big guns over big minds. Despite claims that 13 Hours isn't a political film, the movie clearly takes the position that the people in the ambassador's State Dept.-issued security detail were a bunch of amateurs with "less than a dozen years of military experience between them" and that "Bob" was antagonistic and, worse, an elitist who thought the ex-military crew was only good for working out, playing video games, and doing as they were told. Naturally, by the end of the film, a battered and resigned Bob sentimentally tells one of them, "I wish more Americans were like you."
Whether these men were really as eclectic a mix as they seem on screen is hard to know if you haven't read the book. Krasinski is a study in understated control as a father of three who just wants to bring home a better living, whereas Boon (Krasinki's long-ago Office co-star David Denman) is the intellectual of the group, reading Joseph Campbell in his downtime; Tanto (Pablo Schreiber) is the loud-talking joker; and Tig (Dominic Fumusa) and Oz (Max Martini) are the serious-eyed guys with an unmistakable intensity. There's a little humor in the flick -- mostly courtesy of the Annex's Libyan interpreter, Amahl (Peyman Moaadi), who isn't quite ready to use a gun -- but this is definitely a "bring out the guns, the ammo, and the flag" kind of movie. If you want a nuanced approach, look elsewhere.
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.