A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this film's lack of gory violence or explicit sex makes it a relatively good choice for those who like political thrillers. However, the plot might be too complex and slow-paced for all but the most mature teenagers. There is some strong language and a graphic oral sex reference.
What's the story?
When an unpopular Marine winds up dead after being hazed by two of his unit mates in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, Navy lawyer Lt. J. G. Daniel Kaffee (Tom Cruise) is assigned to defend the presumed murderers at their court martial, in a presumably open-and-shut case. But as Kaffee probes further under the urging of Internal Affairs' Lt. Cmdr. JoAnne Galloway (Demi Moore), he finds there's more to the case than meets the eye.
Is it any good?
Younger teens will probably be bored by the film's lack of action, but for families looking for talking points on the military, or those who just like a courtroom drama, this is a solid choice. A Few Good Men was adapted from a Broadway play, and it shows; most of the film is filled with set pieces in which the actors sit at restaurants and in court rooms and offices, endlessly debating the case and the issues around it. Did the dead Marine bring on his fate by breaking the Marine's code of honor, as the base's commanding officer, Col. Nathan Jessup (Jack Nicolson), suggests? If so, does that make the dead soldier a victim or a perpetrator himself?
For adults or very mature teens, A Few Good Men brings up complex and interesting issues surround the military and the duties of soldiers in uniform: the nature of conformity, persecution of the weak, the price of unquestioning obedience to superiors.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the duties of a citizen to their family and their country. Was the death of the marine justified in favor of national security? Does Col. Jessup's military record automatically make him qualified to hold his position? How does the trial cause Lt. Kaffee to question his own values?
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