Arlington Road

Movie review by
Nell Minow, Common Sense Media
Arlington Road Movie Poster Image
Scary movie about terrorism. Not for kids.
  • R
  • 1999
  • 119 minutes

Parents say

age 15+
Based on 1 review

Kids say

age 15+
Based on 1 review

A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

Issue of hate groups

Violence

Very intense

Sex

Mild

Language

The usual four letter words

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Social drinking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this movie will give thoughtful teens some things to think about -- balancing the need for security against individual rights, the difficulty of deciding whom to trust, and the factors that lead to hate crimes.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent of a 12 and 14 year old Written bystreborkb January 27, 2011

Adults or mature teens only - no kids

My son is very mature for age 14 - HE could probably 'handle' it. However, I don't plan to show it to him (we don't even do most PG-13 with... Continue reading
Teen, 16 years old Written byAl_Piccone October 8, 2015

Excellent, Breathless Thriller about pre-9/11 Terrorism

I love this movie. Fair enough, it is a little depressing. This movie is not very "exciting," and much of the entertainment lies in the situations and... Continue reading

What's the story?

In ARLINGTON ROAD, Jeff Bridges plays Michael Faraday, a professor who specializes in terrorism, still grieving for the loss of his wife, an FBI agent who was killed in a Ruby Ridge-style shootout. He is befriended by a new neighbor, Oliver Lang (Tim Robbins). At first, Lang's family seems like an all-American family straight out of an "Up With People" concert, but Faraday begins to suspect that under their bright smiles and peppy friendship might be something very sinister. Faraday's friends think that he has become a little unhinged from his wife's experience. But as he continues to investigate, he discovers more and more disturbing information about the Langs.

Is it any good?

Arlington Road is a very scary movie about a very scary subject -- terrorism. Indeed, its release was delayed due to concerns about the sensitivity of the material. This movie will give thoughtful teens some things to think about -- balancing the need for security against individual rights, the difficulty of deciding whom to trust, and the factors that lead to hate crimes.

The references to acts of terrorism in the US are so close to reality that they make this thriller more thoughtful than standard films in the genre. The very first image, of a boy walking in an immaculate suburb, bleeding from an accident, sets the stage for the unsettling story, and the ending is not only scary, but hauntingly so.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about balancing the need for security against individual rights, the difficulty of deciding whom to trust, and the factors that lead to hate crimes.

Movie details

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