Parents' Guide to

Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk

By Jeffrey Anderson, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 16+

Violent war-hero drama has too many scattered ideas.

Movie R 2016 110 minutes
Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

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

Community Reviews

age 15+

Based on 1 parent review

age 15+

THERE'S WORSE THINGS THAN FOUR LETTER WORDS

This film pretty faithfully follows the course of events in the book but falls short in two ways. It underplays Billy's sister's efforts to get him to desert and thereby underplays the significance of his refusal to do so; and it pretty well fails to illustrate Ben Fountain's point that the the corruption of a society in which wealth and power are obscenely concentrated can be seen only by those it sacrifices. But the film is worth a look not least as a trigger to reading the book, from which an astute teenager will get the message that four letter words and sexual references are far from the most offensive things that grown-ups do.

This title has:

Great messages
Great role models

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say: (1 ):
Kids say: Not yet rated

Award-winning director Ang Lee assembles a collection of effective scenes in this serious effort, but it also several moments that don't really work; in the end, it doesn't seem to add up to much. The camaraderie between Billy Lynn and his unit is infectious, and the movie -- based on the novel by Ben Fountain -- has some fine performances, but they're within a vacuum. One of the movie's many points is that other characters don't know how to interact with the soldiers. And so every interaction, whether good or bad, is left with a question mark.

With Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk, Lee falls into the same trap that so many other makers of war films do; he wants to be respectful of the troops who fight but also condemn the futility and misery of war. The result is numbingly neutral. Technically, Lee's work is fine, but it doesn't help that he insisted on filming in a super-high frame rate and in 3D, which gives the effect of looking extra-fake and being quite distracting. The normal, 24fps, 2D presentation is preferable, but even that can't stop the disappointing after-effect of an otherwise ambitious movie.

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