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Parents' Guide to

Black Book

By S. Jhoanna Robledo, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 18+

Mature WWII drama taps into base human instinct.

Movie R 2007 135 minutes
Black Book Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

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

Community Reviews

age 17+

Based on 5 parent reviews

age 18+

A Verhoeven end of WWII film

Very dramatic portrayal of the end of WWII in a combo drama/heist/whodunnit/espionage sorta way. It definitely has the seal of Verhoeven on it, he just can't seem to resist having significant nudity and the humiliation of women in there for good measure. Van Houten carries the film very well and the best part of the film is that there is no explicit "good" or "bad" and that makes it worth watching.
age 18+

Extensive graphic sex

This COULD have been a really good movie. The story is compelling: the adventures of a Jewish singer in Nazi-occupied Holland infiltrating Dutch Gestapo HQ. There is action and suspense and it has big names from European cinema. The cinematography is excellent and top Dutch director Paul Verhoeven shows his craft. The first 30 minutes of the movie are compelling and pass without a single swear word that I could tell and focuses on main character Rachel Stein as she flees from one hiding place to the next. There are two scenes with very graphic war violence that earn the movie an R rating. After that, it suddenly becomes a pornographic movie, with very graphic full frontal male and female nudity as the camera voyeuristically portrays bedroom scenes of the undercover Rachel literally under the covers with a top Gestapo officer she wants to seduce. Private parts of men and women are displayed multiple times. I turned the movie off about 45 minutes in. No Christian can watch this movie without harming his soul (Prov. 6:27). This movie should have been rated X and is fit for no theater or household.

This title has:

Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (5 ):
Kids say (2 ):

No question about it: Paul Verhoeven's Black Book (aka Zwartboek) is a World War II thriller that still manages to surprise -- no small thing, considering how many like it have been made. Van Houten is outstanding -- courageous and conflicted, bold and vulnerable, her emotions accessible through a simple gesture (the tilt of her head, the slump in her walk) or even a flick of her eyes. She's incandescent in every frame, even when she's covered entirely in feces (a scene that's disturbing in its plainness and cruelty).

The plot's somewhat rudimentary feel hobbles the storytelling. And, except for the leads, the characters are obviously good or bad, even when the filmmaker thinks he's being subtle. But objections like that aside, what's left is a movie that proves that Verhoeven's talent is bigger than Showgirls and Basic Instinct. The last few minutes, which capture a post-war Ellis (now back to Rachel) in an idyll as far removed from tragedy as can be, are actually moving.

Movie Details

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