Parents' Guide to


By Jeffrey Anderson, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 16+

Amazing but challenging, violent sci-fi isn't for everyone.

Movie R 2018 115 minutes
Annihilation Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 14+

Based on 18 parent reviews

age 12+


Infrequent language includes "s--t," "bulls--t," "hell," "damn," "d--k," "son of a bitch," "bastard," "prick," "jackass," "whore." One cut-off use of "f--k," in the phrase "Get the f--k away from me."
age 12+


Infrequent language includes "s--t," "bulls--t," "hell," "damn," "d--k," "son of a bitch," "bastard," "prick," "jackass," "whore." One cut-off use of "f--k," in the phrase "Get the f--k away from me."

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (18):
Kids say (34):

Alex Garland's second directorial outing after the excellent Ex Machina, this brainy, metaphysical sci-fi is even more ambitious and more amazing. But its challenging conclusion could be a hard sell. Based on Jeff VanderMeer's novel, Annihilation slightly resembles Andrei Tarkovsky's Stalker (1979), a highly artistic masterpiece from a much braver time, when audiences were less likely to balk at ambiguity. Like Ridley Scott did in Blade Runner 2049, Garland combines unusual, imaginative visuals, ideas, and sounds with more traditional audience-aimed thrills -- but he does so far more seamlessly than Scott. The film is less focused on climactic battles, instead heading toward a far more poetic, surreal ending.

The shape of Annihilation is nothing short of brilliant, with a linear, minimalist starting point that consists of simple, straightforward images (like a lighthouse). It then opens up like a strange, exotic flower, following different offshoots to new, unexpected points in its unpredictable world. The movie is admirable for featuring five women (and no men) as the characters who embark on the journey; Portman's performance especially makes it an emotional one. But given that the movie is sometimes creepy and perhaps even unsettling, it sets itself up as being more of a cult favorite than a mainstream hit -- it's closer to 2001: A Space Odyssey than to Star Wars. Still, if you prefer your sci-fi deep, then you're in for a treat.

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