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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Over the course of the story, some of the American soldiers learn to empathize with their Filipino hosts, seeing them as human beings rather than as enemies or animals. The Filipino hero -- who is already a thoughtful, forgiving man -- shows some kindness in return. Overall, the movie also depicts the inhuman destruction of war.
Positive Role Models
Lt. Compton is shown to be a decent American soldier, showing empathy toward the Filipino villagers, and another young solider falls in love with one of the local girls. Unfortunately, most of the soldiers don't feel the same way toward the Filipino people, and all of them are subject to their commander's orders, which generally don't include any kind of allowance for the locals.
Violence & Scariness
The movie isn't overly violent or gory, but there's plenty of war violence, and many of the characters' lives are altered because of the war. Weapons are fired, many characters (both major and minor) are shot, and there's some blood. Children are involved in shootings. There's also a hanging and the suggestion of a cockfight, though brutal details aren't shown.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
One character has an STD from sleeping with prostitutes. Implied sex between a married couple. An American soldier has a sweet romance with a local girl (no kissing or nudity). Slight innuendo.
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Language is typical for a war-themed movie, with several uses of "f--k" and "s--t," plus "God" (as an exclamation), "goddamn," "whore," "ass," "son of a bitch," "piss," and the "N" word.
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
The American soldiers consume a local, homemade alcoholic drink; one becomes hooked on it, and he's often shown as slurring, sloppy drunk. He falls asleep on guard duty as a result of his drinking.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this war-themed drama set in the Philippines, circa 1900, has a fair amount of war violence, with shootings, blood, death, and threats; children are involved in some of this. Strong language includes several uses of "f--k," "s--t," and the "N" word (about half of the movie is in English, the other half subtitled). There's also some sex talk, innuendo, and flirting, as well as heavy drinking. Written and directed by legendary indie filmmaker John Sayles, the movie tries to capture the point of view of American soldiers occupying a small baryo, as well as the locals who live there. The result is both uncommonly intelligent and uncommonly downbeat, and it's likely that only the most adventurous of older teens will be interested. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
Legendary indie filmmaker John Sayles (Eight Men Out, The Secret of Roan Inish) delivers an uncommonly intelligent war-themed movie in AMIGO, and on a much smaller scale than usual. He burrows into individual characters, rather than battles; there are no clear "good guys" or "bad guys." Eventually the characters begin to discover one another's humanity, and war becomes an unfortunate side effect rather than the main point.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.