A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
Positive Role Models & Representations
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that All Is Lost is a lost-at-sea survival movie with only one actor (Robert Redford) and barely any dialogue. It has one pointed use of the word "f--k," which, in addition to the intensity of the main character's peril throughout the movie, is the main concern for parents. We see a bloody head wound, which the character treats and bandages himself, and we see the character drinking what looks like whisky in an early scene.
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What's the story?
ALL IS LOST begins with our main (and only) character, called "Our Man" in the credits and played by Robert Redford, reading a letter to unnamed loved ones. Eight days earlier, we begin his story. His yacht has crashed into a shipping container, puncturing the side. He repairs it, but before he can get to land, a violent storm further damages things. Eventually he is forced to abandon ship and takes to his life raft. He tries to head for a nearby shipping zone, hoping to be picked up by a large ship, but his luck and resources begin to run out.
Is it any good?
Written and directed by J.C. Chandor, whose last movie was the brilliant and wordy Margin Call, All Is Lost is surprisingly spare, almost the polar opposite of its predecessor. It's a highly skilled and impressively unique movie, making use of only about a page of dialogue (the narration of a letter, an attempt to radio an SOS, and one four-letter word), and one single actor (Robert Redford). Redford is onscreen at every moment, and he effortlessly pulls off this very physically demanding, commanding performance.
On the downside, the movie recalls two other, similar, lost movies, Life of Pi and Gravity. Unlike the former All Is Lost contains no moments of wonder, and unlike the latter it contains no thrills. It's all business and remains rather grim throughout. It seems more determined to impress than to entertain. However, it succeeds wildly on the first count, which may make it worth seeing for many adventurous teens and parents.
Talk to your kids about ...
- Families can talk about the movie's intensity and level of violence. What is the tone of this movie? Is it thrilling or disturbing? What does it show and not show?
- How is this movie different from other kinds of movies about men struggling against the odds? What is different or similar about it?
- How does an actor act without dialogue? What kinds of things does Robert Redford do onscreen to convince you that he's playing a character?
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