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Parents' Guide to


By Tara McNamara, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 15+

Clunky, bloody assassin action film misses its target.

Movie R 2020 96 minutes
Ava Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

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

Community Reviews

age 16+

Based on 4 parent reviews

age 17+

No good

Nah, watched the trailer and it boring

This title has:

Too much violence
age 15+

Enjoyed it

Slick movie with a script that’s a bit clunky. Some good action scenes and nice little twists. Around 40 F words and some violent scenes. Suitable for mature 15 year olds

This title has:

Too much violence
Too much swearing

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (4 ):
Kids say (10 ):

Ava certainly has all the elements to make an intriguing thriller, but ultimately Chastain's mercenary with a moral compass is lifeless. Her backstory is compelling: A party-loving high school valedictorian's life goes askew when fun becomes dependence. She tries to clean up and start a new life in the Army, where her commanding officer recruits her to put her sniper skills to good use in a privatized black ops unit. But she needs to know that she's on the right side of justice, so she prods her targets to tell her why someone's put a hit out on them. And that swiftly becomes a problem for her "management."

For viewers, the problem is that the script is rarely more elevated than that, at least not for Chastain's Ava. Some members of the cast take their hobbled material and run. John Malkovich wows as her mentor and handler, making the most out of every scene. Geena Davis plays Ava's mother (a wink to her own pioneering performance as a female assassin in The Long Kiss Goodnight), delivering a monolgue you'll think about for weeks. But for Ava and the rest of the characters, it seems like the dialogue was scratched together between action sequences -- which are also lacking, at least when Chastain is involved (which is most of the time). She doesn't sell the fight scenes: Their choreography is transparent through her movements. And when she jogs every night through the park, it looks like it's the first time she's ever gone on a run, not like someone whose body is a lethal weapon. That disconnect continues to Ava's mental state: The character is written to show some vulnerability, but Chastain's steely embodiment makes Ava feel emotionless. In previous roles like Zero Dark Thirty, Molly's Game, and X-Men: Dark Phoenix, Chastain has proven that she can portray women who are tough, determined, and able to best even the most skilled at their own game -- but as emotionless assassin Ava, she just doesn't execute.

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