A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
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What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this movie has extreme and explicit battle violence with many impalings and other graphic injuries. Alexander is portrayed as bi-sexual. There are very explicit heterosexual sexual situations and references and male and female nudity, plus references and implications of gay sex and some same-sex kissing and a mother-son kiss on the mouth and an attempted rape. Some exotic dancers perform in skimpy attire. Characters drink, sometimes to excess.
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- Kids say
What's the story?
Alexander (Colin Farrell) is the son of Philip (Val Kilmer) and Olympias (Angelina Jolie) and at the center of a firestorm of political intrigue and bitter personal feuds. His parents despise each other, and each urges Alexander to be bold and to trust no one. Alexander grows up to be very competitive but also sensitive. He tames the wild horse Bucephalus, gaining his father's approval. But then Philip, who wants to make Olympias less powerful, takes another wife. He is about to name her infant son his successor when he is assassinated, making Alexander the king. Alexander takes his armies on a quest to conquer the known world over eight years and 22,000 miles.
Is it any good?
Alexander the person was great; ALEXANDER the movie is not. It is horrendously bad, a genuine 40-car pile-up of literally epic proportions, a three-way head-on collision of bad writing, bad acting, and bad direction. The one watchable part of the movie are the battle scenes. Writer/director Oliver Stone can stage a battle. The fights with the soldiers of Persia and India are striking and the confrontation between horse- and elephant-riders is exceptional. But the rest of the movie is dreadful, a mish-mash of a clunker script delivered in a mish-mash of accents. It's bad enough when one of the Greek soldiers speaks with the actor's own Scottish burr. It is even worse when Roxane (Rosario Dawson), the wife Alexander chooses from Bactria, uses the kind of faux all-purpose foreign pronunciation usually reserved for native maidens in 1940's B-movies set on tropical islands. She sees him with Hephaestion (Jared Leto) and hisses "You love chhHEEEM!!"
The accents may be all over the place, but the Classic Comic-style dialogue is consistently terrible. No one could make these lines sound believable: "You must never confuse your feelings with your duties!" "Your life hangs in the balance!" "You can run to the ends of the earth, you coward, but you will never run far enough!" "We are most alone when we are with the myths." "It was here that Alexander made one of his most mysterious decisions." "They forgive you because you make them proud of themselves!" "What have I done to make you hate me so?" "You're a king -- act like one!" Perhaps most disappointing of all is that there is not one performance with any authenticity or appeal. Even Farrell and Jolie lose all sense of perspective and resort to snorts and eye-rolling histrionics.
Talk to your kids about ...
- In theaters: November 24, 2004
- On DVD or streaming: August 2, 2005
- Cast: Angelina Jolie, Anthony Hopkins, Colin Farrell
- Director: Oliver Stone
- Studio: Warner Bros.
- Genre: Drama
- Run time: 245 minutes
- MPAA rating: R
- MPAA explanation: violence and some sexuality/nudity.
- Last updated: September 21, 2019
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