Teens get super powers in relatable but violent thriller.
Popular with kids
  • Review Date: February 3, 2012
  • Rated: PG-13
  • Genre: Science Fiction
  • Release Year: 2012
  • Running Time: 84 minutes

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Three teens form a strong friendship that clearly makes a difference in their lives, though they don't always treat each other perfectly. The movie also suggests that when you're given a special talent or gift, it's important to treasure it and use it wisely; the story serves as a warning against the potentially corrupting influence of immense power.

Positive role models

Matt and Steve are clearly responsible, sensible teens who care for others, and even the troubled Andrew starts out as someone who's trying hard not to emulate his abusive father. That said, he struggles with this challenge.


Plentiful and sometimes quite brutal. Andrew's father hits him (with his fists) at the slightest provocation; he also says very hateful things that demean and hurt Andrew. When the three teens use their new powers, there's plenty mayhem (people are tossed and battered, cars are thrown, buildings explode) and destruction (blasts, explosions, etc.). Some scenes linger on the bloody aftermath of fights, and some characters die because of these face-offs. A teen is bullied at his high school; his camera is yanked away and tossed to the ground. A classmate tries to strangle him. Later, he gets his revenge.


Teen couples kiss; one scene shows a bungled sexual encounter. No outright nudity, but major hints at what has taken place. A teen boy is shown pulling up his pants and buckling his belt. Discussions about virginity (having lost it already, wanting to lose it).


Pretty frequent use of words including "s--t," "ass," "a--hole," "crap," "prick," "damn," "hell," "goddamn," "p---y," "oh my God," and more.


Labels/brands include Canon cameras, Pepsi cans, and Centrum vitamins.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Teen drinking at parties (they hold tell-tale red cups in their hands); some drink to inebriation.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Chronicle is an action thriller about three teens who happen upon a strange discovery and, soon after, develop telekinesis and other powers. There's plenty of over-the-top violence (including deaths, the bloody aftermath of fights, explosions, and other mayhem), and the movie also deals with heavy themes -- chronic illness, abuse, rage, family dysfunction, financial distress, and more -- which makes it too intense for younger viewers. Still, it's surprisingly heartfelt, and it captures well the dynamics of teenage male friendships (especially the way they talk). Some scenes portray underage drinking (to the point of drunkenness), and there's also swearing, sexual innuendo, and implied sexual encounters.

What's the story?

Andrew (Dane Dehaan) is lost and in pain. His beloved mother is bedridden, wasting away with disease, her meds so expensive they can barely afford them. His unemployed father can't contain his anger and frustrations, preferring instead to use them as weapons against his son. Andrew's cousin, Matt (Alex Russell), is a help, but they're not that close. And hardly anyone at his school wants to be his friend; they're too busy making fun of him and his penchant for filming his daily life. Then, one day, Andrew, Matt, and their popular classmate, Steve (Michael B. Jordan), discover a hole in the ground that's vibrating with energy. Inside the cave to which it leads is an unexplained energy source that, after they encounter it, suffuses them with powers they could have only dreamed of: They can move objects, they can withstand heavy blows, and they can fly. At first, they use their talents for fun and games ... until the pressures of real life intervene, and one of them snaps.

Is it any good?


Arguably, CHRONICLE's biggest triumph is how it authentically captures the nature of teenage male friendships -- their give and take, what makes them tick. This is what really makes the first half of this fascinating movie, which is part of the same "found-footage" genre as The Blair Witch Project and Paranormal Activity, succeed (though that conceit seems unnecessarily gimmicky in this case). Watching the three stars is like getting invited into their fraternity. All three actors share a believable rapport; what motivates and intrigues them is what we imagine fascinates high school seniors on the brink of great change in their lives.

The main storyline is also a good hook: What would happen if random teenagers were suddenly equipped with superhero/comic book abilities? It makes so much sense that they'd waste it on a parking lot prank (a hilarious scene), or by tossing a football at warp speed among the clouds. And it also makes so much sense that things would go awry in a hurry. (To quote another superhero: With great power comes great responsibility.) Can teenagers really be expected to act responsibly, especially when they're sitting on a tinderbox of rage? Sadly, it's when this tinderbox ignites that the film loses its focus. Chronicle's last third feels like a rush to tie up loose ends, with a moral lesson to boot. The movie poses an interesting question, but the answer it comes up with is half-baked.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the movie's violence. How does it compare to what you've seen in other movies about people with super powers? Is all of it necessary to the story?

  • Why are teenagers so cruel to each other sometimes? Parents, talk to your teens about handling bullying in real life.

  • What is Chronicle trying to say about male friendships? What about how strength can be used (or misused)?

  • Why do you think Andrew responds to the development of his powers differently from Steve and Matt? How do the unfolding events at home shape his reactions and decisions?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:February 3, 2012
DVD release date:May 15, 2012
Cast:Alex Russell, Dane DeHaan, Michael B. Jordan
Director:Jay Alaimo
Studio:Twentieth Century Fox
Genre:Science Fiction
Topics:Superheroes, Adventures
Run time:84 minutes
MPAA rating:PG-13
MPAA explanation:intense action and violence, thematic material, some language, sexual content and teen drinking

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  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Teen, 15 years old Written byThe Review Guy February 24, 2012

Sci-fi Mockumentary is Exciting,fast,and Violent

Parents need to know that CHRONICLE is fast,exciting and heartfelt.It's also very violent and sometimes disturbing.The main character is physically abused by his father(punched),and the movie also deals with some tough issues like bullying,teen angst,chronic illness,family problems and more.Along with the physical abuse there's also plenty of mayhem,action and destruction(Buildings exploding,cars flying etc.),blood is visible,but nothing overly graphic,and the film also leads to a shocking finale that could make you cover your eyes.Expect swearing(S**t mostly.),sexual innuendo,and some underage drinking.Because of the content shown,this film is better suited for older teens. Messages:Positive 1/5 If there's a message to be said,it's that when your given a special talent,use it wisely.The film also deals with mature issues like bullying,family problems,rage,abuse and more.Strong sense of friendship is in the film. Role Models:Positive 2/5 Matt and Steve are good people,they may not be perfect,but they're brave,caring and use they're powers for the common good.They also try to help Andrew with his personal problems,and although Andrew does make some questionable choices,he does learn some lessons and he try's not to emulate his abusive father(who by the way is a terrible role model.). Violence:4/5 Plenty of violence some of it disturbing.Andrew's father abuse's him by punching him and saying hurtful things.Andrew beats up a group of thugs with his powers,blood is shown and they do look dead.A character is set on fire from an explosion,his body is shown later on in the hospital.One character is hit by a bus,that same character is then shot point blank.Andrew get's outta of control and causes destruction and mayhem(Cars and bodies flying,Buildings exploding,etc.) all across the city.Andrew accidentally causes a car accident,and One major Character die's from a lighting strike,though the camera point's away from anything graphic.Andrew is shown bullied at school,later on he pull's the bully's teeth out with with powers(some blood.),the end of the flim is pretty shocking.In less intense moments of the film,there are some pratfalls and silly stuff among the characters as they use they're new powers. Sex:3/5 Teens kiss and talk about sex,as one character say's that he's never had sex.Andrew is shown pulling his pants up,which suggests that he tried to have sex with someone.Occasional innuendo. Language:3/5 Very frequent use of "S**t"(some with "bull".),"a**","P***y","a**hole","d**sebag","P*ick","Holy Crap","Godd*mn","H*ll', and of course "Oh my God" A character raise's the middle finger. Consumerism:2/5 Background images include Pepsi,Mountain Dew,and Pringles.A Volkswagon Beetle is shown at one point. Drinking,Drugs and Smoking:3/5 Party scenes shown characters with red cups,and it's obvious that it's alcohol.Some drinking to the point of drunkness.Andrew's father is described as an alcoholic. Is it any good:Doesn't mistake Chronicle as a Blair witch rip-off.It's actually very heartfelt,despite it's appearence.With it's story having a good hook to it(what would happen if teens had superpowers.).And the acting is very well-done,with performances from it's young cast.Although some scenes will leave you wondering what happenned,the film couldn't show us what happenned due to the found footage format and it's PG-13 rating. Don't worry there's still well-crafted action scenes as it mixes with it's cool special effects.The best effects in the movie are when the guys are shown flying in the sky.The use of found footage helps make the movie a little more interesting,though it would still be great without it's use of the handheld camera.Put it all together and Chronicle soars and lands safely.But does alot of better things than expected. My MPAA Rating:PG-13 For Intense Sequences of Violence and Action,Disturbing Images,Thematic Material,Language including Sexual Refrences,and Some Underage Drinking - Involving Teens.
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Parent of a 7 and 14 year old Written bymervson February 8, 2012

Most Depressing Movie I have ever Paid to see.

I love movies and I love Super hero / super power related movies. This movie left me with an unpleasant feeling which did not encourage me to want to watch it again. A Loner with a drunk father and a dying mother begins filming his life. Goes to a party with his cousin, where they and another boy drop down into a tunnel which has an alien crystal meteor thing. They all get super powers and explore them on camera. The Boys appear to form a friendship, but the power corrupts the main character which spirals the story into oblivion. I watch movies to escape reality, not to watch hyper realism with no positive message. If you are looking for a story of redemption and self discovery you can skip this movie.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Parent of a 9 and 12 year old Written byredharmony February 18, 2012


Holy Cow. Husband decided this would be a great movie for the kids...based on the recommendation of the 20 year old at the theatre??? (our kids are 8 and 11...What was he thinking??? Answer: He wasn't and us Mom's need to do everything...eye roll) I am a liberal who worked as an art director in Hollywood for many years and very open minded....but this film is NOT OK FOR THE KIDS, NOT EVEN TEENS, at least I wouldn't want MY kids seeing this and thinking that kind of behavior was *cool* in any way, shape, or form. I would say this is college kid stuff. The first 10 minutes bombard you with extreme violence, alcohol, and then you hit the *rave* party filled with young high school girls barely clothed and grinding their way through the dance floor, extreme language, and a guy walking up to the camera with his middle finger...that is where I left. NOT the kind of role model / image I want either my son or daughter to see and assume is acceptable...for themselves or anyone else in their lives. Do not waste your money.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking


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