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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Somewhat buried amid movie's many sci-fi action scenes and chases is idea that it's important to stand up against huge odds, even risking your life for what you believe is right.
Positive Role Models
Characters risk their lives to do the right thing. Gabriel is shown to be brave and strong, despite (or because) his family has been taken from him. But his actions are sometimes seen as rebellious/outside the rule of order, and his storyline isn't the main one.
Violence & Scariness
Aliens vaporize humans. Guns and shooting. Dead bodies. Blood splatters. Surgeries performed to remove weird alien implants, with blood shown. Explosions. Gross alien FX. Martial law. Abduction. Cyanide pills. General crisis, stress. Yelling.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
A major character is a kind of prostitute. Sex act briefly seen on a screen. Kissing. Woman in bra. Sex-related talk.
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Uses of "s--t," "bulls--t," "dummy."
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Smoking. Cocaine snorting.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Captive State is an alien invasion movie set in a future Chicago. Some humans try to cooperate with the conquering aliens while others try to rebel; there's a very complex plan at the heart of the story. Violence is the biggest issue: Humans are killed, both vaporized by aliens and shot by guns. There are explosions, blood splatters, gory surgery, gross alien effects, cyanide pills, and lots of chaos and stress. Language includes "s--t." One character is said to be a kind of prostitute (she's shown wearing a bra), a sex act is briefly visible on a screen, and characters kiss and talk about sex. Characters smoke cigarettes and, in one sequence, snort cocaine. The movie is more about its own big ideas than about characters or emotions, but it's smart enough that it should please most teen and adult sci-fi fans. John Goodman and Vera Farmiga co-star. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
Although it's complex and satisfying -- and not overly reliant on visual effects -- this alien invasion movie still feels somewhat dispassionate. Perhaps that's because it concentrates less on characters and more on its own big ideas. Co-written and directed by Rupert Wyatt, whose Rise of the Planet of the Apes was likewise clever, but also exciting and moving, Captive State opens awkwardly, with characters trading explanatory dialogue designed to fill viewers in on the miserable state of everything. Characters are mainly defined by what they believe in, not who they actually are, and, despite the great cast, it's difficult to get past any of it.
Happily, though, things do pick up. Eventually characters stop talking so much, and the film begins to focus on the process of things, the weblike underground network that develops and transports all the necessary moving parts, all with the utmost discretion. The characters still feel a little disconnected, but at least their actions are interesting. And, to be sure, the final piece of the puzzle is definitely worth the trouble. Wyatt doesn't bother with too many alien effects (although the creatures do feel a tad familiar), instead focusing on a grayish, blasted-out dystopian look. Vera Farmiga is especially good in her role as a mysterious courtesan, tucked away in a private little haven filled with books and knowledge.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.