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Parents' Guide to

A Call to Spy

By Tara McNamara, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 12+

Inspirational story of female WWII spies has war violence.

Movie PG-13 2020 123 minutes
A Call to Spy 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 17+

Very good but needs a higher age rating than 12+

I should have looked more closely at the (one) parent rating for age rather than the overall Common Sense Media age recommendation before chosing this movie to watch as a family. It's a very good movie, well-acted with diverse characters - but not for tweens or younger teens. The plot is quite complex and there are scenes of war violence (which is expected), but we couldn't finish watching it when the violence included the scene of torture of a central character. I suggest that Common Sense Media revise the age rating.

This title has:

Too much violence
3 people found this helpful.
age 10+

Powerful film about ordinary women upstanders during WWII

We watched this film with our 9 year old daughter who is interested in WWII history and in the topic of spies/detectives. Powerful female role models including the protagonist who is differently abled. There is some depiction of WWII atrocities (brief showing of bodies at a checkpoint, implication that another female spy is beaten to get information and then executed), but it is tastefully done and minimal. There is a sense of peril throughout but also of courage and making great purpose with one's life. I would recommend, minus two scenes where my daughter covered her eyes.

This title has:

Great messages
Great role models

Is It Any Good?

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

Forget James Bond: These three real-life spies are more exciting and inspirational than any fictional creation. Atkins is actually thought to be the inspiration for Bond's Miss Moneypenny. Here she's portrayed as a glamorous woman who was in charge of a spy network made up mostly of men who began recruiting and training women. And most Disney Princesses wouldn't stand a chance against Khan, the real-life Indian princess who saved the world by applying her intelligence in international espionage, enduring torture, and giving her life (rather than secrets) to the Nazis. Finally, the fact that Hall, who was passed over by both suitors and managers because of a limb amputation, went on to become one of the world's greatest secret agents is massively satisfying.

Even if this movie were terrible, it would still be worth watching -- but, thankfully, it's fascinating. It is a different kind of spy movie, though. You'll likely find yourself less caught up in the nuts and bolts of each assignment or the broad strategy. Instead, the focus is on the women's development, from early training, through scary situations they weren't properly prepared for, to becoming leaders. But director Lydia Dean Pilcher makes our hearts race all the same. Some breath-holding moments put viewers' in the women's shoes for a moment, likely wondering how they'd fare in the same circumstance. That's the trick of the film: not just showing us women who are heroes but showing us that we can be heroes, too.

Movie Details

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