Camp X-Ray

Movie review by
Jeffrey M. Anderson, Common Sense Media
Camp X-Ray Movie Poster Image
Kristen Stewart stars in tough, timely Guantanamo drama.
  • R
  • 2014
  • 117 minutes

Parents say

age 18+
Based on 1 review

Kids say

age 15+
Based on 4 reviews

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A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

The movie's main theme is tolerance; the main character learns to appreciate the human qualities of a detainee who has previously been viewed as a terrorist and a bad guy. She learns to empathize with him and to defend him and even considers him a friend.

Positive Role Models & Representations

The main character is a female soldier who not only bravely chooses to operate within with a generally male-oriented military, but also finds room for empathy and tolerance toward a villainized detainee.


A female guard is punched in the face by a violent detainee; he then spits in her face, and she kicks him. She's shown with a bloody nose and lip. A prisoner throws a cup of feces on the female guard's uniform. Terrorist attacks are shown on TV news. Detainees are shown in upsetting conditions, in cages and in small cells, and deprived of sleep. During a hunger strike, guards force-feed a detainee with a tube up his nose. A detainee threatens to kill himself by holding a small blade to his throat. There's a spoken story about a guard who attempted suicide.


A female guard finds a Penthouse magazine in a man's bathroom. Some of the pictures are briefly shown. A man and a woman kiss, but the woman pulls away and leaves. The man is seen patting another woman on her behind. The main character undresses in her room, with her back to the camera (nothing sensitive shown). A male detainee is forced to shower in front of a female guard (nothing sensitive shown). Some general flirting and innuendo.


"F--k" and "s--t" are used fairly frequently. "A--hole" is also used several times. "Bitch" is used once.


A guard and a detainee have several discussions about Harry Potter. Coke is mentioned.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

During a day off, the guards are shown drinking several beers on a boat and then at a house party. Two women attempt to open cans of beer by bashing them against their forehead. The main character is seen drinking a glass of whisky in a bar.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that although Camp X-Ray -- a drama set at Guantanamo Bay -- stars Kristen Stewart, it's too mature/intense for Twilight fans. There are potentially disturbing terrorism and prison images, and one scene of fighting with a bloody wound. Detainees throw a cup of feces on the lead character's uniform and threaten suicide with a small knife. Pictures from a Penthouse magazine are briefly shown, and male and female characters are shown kissing. There's also some sexual innuendo. Language is fairly strong, with uses of "f--k," "s--t," and "a--hole." Guards drink beer during their day off, and the main character is seen drinking a glass of liquor after a hard day.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byVANESSA L. June 5, 2018
Teen, 14 years old Written by___sarina_m April 28, 2018
Teen, 15 years old Written byHaileybean89 June 15, 2017

Informative and real

This movie tries to show the reality of peoples life in Guantanamo Bay. It's interesting to see how the characters progress. It doesn't over do it wit... Continue reading

What's the story?

Cole (Kristen Stewart) joined the army because she wanted to do something important. Now she's ended up as a guard at Guantanamo Bay, where her job is not to prevent the prisoners from escaping, but to help keep them alive. Also, there are no "prisoners," but "detainees" (detainees aren't covered by the Geneva Convention). While Cole is pushing the library cart, one prisoner, Ali (Peyman Maadi), asks her for the last Harry Potter book. Though she's not allowed to have conversations with prisoners, she eventually finds herself drawn to him to the point that she's willing to risk her army career to protect his well-being.

Is it any good?

Written and directed by former graphic artist Peter Sattler, CAMP X-RAY seems like an attempt at a timely and powerful War on Terror movie. It also seems like an attempt by Stewart to break away from her dewy Twilight character into tougher and more grown-up roles. The good news is that it works. The movie plays well on a very basic level, focusing on the viewpoint of one character and forgoing any grand comments or gestures on the rightness or wrongness of it all.

It's relatively intimate, and even though it has some tough moments, it's not deliberately grueling or exhausting. Stewart is quite good, rising above her infamous lip-chewing teen angst into a character who keeps her sadness, disappointment, and even hope locked on the inside. Maadi (from the Oscar winner A Separation) is also quite good, operating mainly on learned survival tactics. Even though they only communicate through doors and glass, their chemistry is very touching.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about Camp X-Ray's prison violence. How strong is it? What is shown, and what's not shown? How did it affect you? How does the impact compare to more traditionally "violent" movies?

  • How is the main character treated by her colleagues? In what ways is she treated as an equal? In what ways is she treated as someone different? Is she a role model?

  • Why is it forbidden for guards to converse with detainees? What's at risk? Is it admirable or dangerous for the main character to befriend the detainee?

  • How much drinking is shown? Why do the characters drink?

Movie details

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