Movie review by
Nell Minow, Common Sense Media
Abandon Movie Poster Image
It really is almost impressive how bad this is.
  • PG-13
  • 2002
  • 98 minutes

Parents say

age 16+
Based on 3 reviews

Kids say

age 17+
Based on 2 reviews

Did this review miss something on diversity?

Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive, diverse representations in books, TV shows, and movies. Want to help us help them? Suggest a diversity update

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.


Dead body Jump-out-at-you surprises, suspense


Sexual references and situations


Just enough to avoid an R rating

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

College-age kids use drugs and drink; character is an alcoholic

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this movie shows a girl's decision to lose her virginity and her unrealistic expectations about the relationship. There are overheard sounds of a couple having sex. Characters casually drink and use drugs. One intoxicated character is so happy that she says she wishes she could always feel so "connected." Another character struggles with alcoholism.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written bykatherinelea December 10, 2011

Painfully sloppy w/ gaping holes left bowing in the breeze and in my face!

no positive role models whatsoever--strictly humans connecting at lowest denominator. 'Katie' independent-seeming (college/exceptionally smart &a... Continue reading
Adult Written byMovieLover4Lyfe May 26, 2010
Poorly , poorly, poorly executed film. I expected so much more from Stephen Gaghan! You'd think with all the talent in this movie that they could have at l... Continue reading
Kid, 9 years old September 14, 2012

Mature for a PG-13

My rating to fix it for CSM: R
Kid, 9 years old April 2, 2010


Rated PG-13 For Drug And Alcohol Content,Sexuality,Some Violence And Language

What's the story?

Katie Holmes plays a brilliant and beautiful college senior who seems to have everything. She aces an interview with McKinsey, the brass ring of employers. But she is having problems completing her thesis and she has trouble sleeping. And when a detective shows up asking questions about her boyfriend, who disappeared two years earlier, it brings back painful memories and deepens her sense of loss. The detective (Benjamin Bratt) is facing his own challenges, taking on his first case after returning from alcohol rehab.

Is it any good?

Abandon is one of those movies that depends heavily on bonehead plot twists in which people behave inconsistently and idiotically. Included is that oldest of movie plots -- characters showing up alone in eerie and isolated locations for assignations with potential murderers. There are many shadowy hallways, crumbling walls, and dripping pipes. There are gratuitous scenes of college kids at a debauched party (a throwback to writer/director Stephen Gaghan's scene of teenagers taking drugs in Traffic) and of Holmes changing her clothes. The missing boyfriend is supposed to be talented, arrogant, and electrifyingly seductive, but the flashback scenes of their encounters are clumsily handled. The surprise ending is telegraphed halfway through the movie.

Given the talent involved, it really is almost impressive how bad this movie is. The direction is poor, and the screenplay is awful. Cinematographer Matthew Libatique, whose work in "Requiem for a Dream" was brilliantly innovative, manages to make Katie Holmes and Benjamin Bratt look so unattractive they should consider a defamation lawsuit.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the jealousy some characters feel. What are "problem people?" Do they choose to be (or not be) "problem people?" What does the title refer to? What do you think about the job interview scene? If you were asked to solve a problem in an interview, how would you respond? What were the students? concerns about "selling out?"

Movie details

Our editors recommend

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

See how we rate

Streaming options powered by JustWatch

About these links

Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization, earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes when you use our links to make a purchase. Thank you for your support.

Read more

Our ratings are based on child development best practices. We display the minimum age for which content is developmentally appropriate. The star rating reflects overall quality.

Learn how we rate