All member reviews for Cloud Atlas

Common Sense Media says

Enormous scale and spectacle, but weak characters, story.

Users say

(out of 20 reviews)
age 15+
Review this title!
Teen, 17 years old Written byPrincessCharmed797 November 1, 2012

Cloud Atlas

You may not find the relatively complex story overwhelming, but the sheer scale and magnificence of this 3-hour feature will certainly blow your mind away. An adaptation of the 2004 novel of the same name by David Mitchell, ‘Cloud Atlas’, the film has six interwoven stories from different eras. The film covers six stories set in different time periods – 19th century, early 20th century, late 20th century, early 21st century, dystopian 22nd century and 170 years after the ‘The Fall’. The story of a particular era is discovered by the main character of the story in the succeeding era. The principal character in all the stories has a distinct scar on some part of his/her body, which, kind of, goes on epitomize ‘afterlife and related theories’. The concept, albeit a novel adaptation, was quite formulaic, but the screenplay, by word, was magical. The official synopsis of the film reads, “An exploration of how the actions of individual lives impact one another in the past, present and future, as one soul is shaped from a killer into a hero, and an act of kindness ripples across centuries to inspire a revolution.” The main character of every story has an accomplice who plays an instrumental role in protecting him/her from evil forces (depending on the era that the story has been set in). You have an American notary rebelling against the ill-treatment of a the Moriori tribe, a young English musician going up against his ageing mentor, a young female journalist challenging the establishment, an on-the-run press publisher trying to escape out of a nursing home and a tribesman, living in the post-apocalyptic distant future, fighting an evil tribe. All the stories, characters and thoughts do not necessarily connect in the film, but by-and-large, the underlying theme in each of the stories strikes a chord with the viewer. The 20-minute finale is so gripping and poignant that it will force you to ponder over the film long after it’s over. The cast of the film is as grand as the word ‘ensemble’ is. Tom Hanks, Halle Berry, Jim Broadbent, Hugo Weaving, Jim Sturgess, Bae Doona, David Gyasi, Susan Sarandon, Hugh Grant among others , give stellar performances and most importantly, look their parts. The premise of the film is quite unique, so to speak, and the most difficult thing is to get your actors to be able to deliver convincing performances. Such films are never shot in the same order as the screenplay is written. So, huge credit for the work of genius that we see on the big screen should go to the editor, Alexander Berner. Cinematography for such a lavish film had to be gorgeous. The film could have been cut short by around 30 minutes. It could have left a stronger impact on the viewer. The run-time, close to 3 hours, of the film, is one of the few deterrents. The underlying message is wonderful. ‘Cloud Atlas’ just numbs you with its stories, thoughts, visuals and the enchanting music. Avoid judging the film mid-way. If you do go for it, sit back, watch it patiently, and make your assessment. It’s a sum of its parts. Magnificently visualized film, written and directed by Tom Tykwer, Lana Wachowski and Andy Wachowski, ‘Cloud Atlas’ impresses at many levels. Its complex storyline and the 3-hour-runtime are the two deterrents. However, it’s a beautiful film with a poignant message.
Adult Written bychristian2011 October 28, 2012

A one of a kind movie with multiple stories and plots which eventually combines into one.

Cloud Atlas is a very rare kind of movie in which the multiple storylines eventually relate and combine into one. It shows that simple random acts of kindness can change the way humans look at things in an extraordinary way. The stories include letters from a composer to a loved one; the 1849 diary of an ocean voyage in the Pacific; a thriller about a murder in the nuclear power plant; a farce about a publisher in a nursing home; a rebellious clone in futuristic Korea; and the tale of the living in post apocalyptic Hawaii far in the future. Yet, all these characters have something connected, which is later revealed in the movie. This movie is rated R for a reason : the violence that occurs (infrequently) is intense, graphic and disturbing, plus it happens unexpectedly so it may shock some viewers. Examples : a man and his son are brutally killed by a clan of sadistic barbarians; an older man gets shot through the mouth in his apartment; a woman's dog get's shot (this is definitely upset animal lovers-like me); a man gets thrown off a balcony and you see him plumet down to the ground and blood/gore splatters everywhere (graphic and shocking); (SPOILERS) and the gruesome aftermath of Korean clones getting murdered and hung upside down (naked and skinned) in an industrial theme, which is told that their mutilated bodies are fed to the next generation of clones. Language is strong and frequent : multiple uses of the f-word, sh*t, religious profanities, and one use of c*nt. There are several scenes of graphic sexuality, one explicit with full frontal/back nudity, and the rest are heavily implied. There are some scenes where characters smoke cigarettes, marijuana, and drinks alcohol frequently. Nevertheless, Cloud Atlas is a movie that will leave you spellbinded.
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Adult Written bydanieldavidpeterson October 27, 2012

A fantastic film.

I wouldn't say that there is any extreme content in the overall course of this three hour movie. Language is minimal (one site counted 22 uses of the f-word), violence is present, but no over done (yes, there is also blood), and while there is nudity and sex, it is brief. The movie was fascinating, and one of the most unique films I have ever seen. Where CSM gets it wrong is while, yes, the stories probably don't stand much on their own; that is somewhat the point. They were not filmed separately for this reason. It's meant to be a connected story, shown through six different ones. While I would not say that I have come to understand everything about the film (it definitely requires a second viewing), it was an amazing movie and I will definitely be seeing it again.
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Teen, 14 years old Written byVideogamer321 November 1, 2012

You need to see this.

One of the most spectacular films of our generation, which I will gladly compare to the film 2001, perhaps in some ways it reflects it's role. Stringing together six different stories, actors catapult across time periods and evolve with each incarnation, made extremely apparent by the excellent editing style. Actions in the past strongly influence the events in the present, and future, despite the characters from each continuity almost never encountering the other directly, both the souls and peripheral ripples of their actions. There is sex, but only frontal nudity is shown directly, alongside with characters in bed, despite it, the film is able to maintain the illusion that we are observing stark windows into these people's lives, and when the puzzle pieces start clicking, the mind moves forward with the plot. Many, many characters die, and shape the ebbing mass of the world around them. One theme is present throughout the film, and it is the striving for freedom. Freedom of burden, bounds, expression, emotion, society. This is a film worthy of philosophical analysis, but in a different vein from past films. I would flesh this review out more. It can be a very, very complex film, but can also easily be digested as an action flick. Strands of spirituality run throughout.
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Parent of a 18 year old Written byTsion November 16, 2013

"By Each Crime and Every Kindness, We Birth Our Future."

Cloud Atlas is certainly a very deep movie. It contains six interwoven storylines, incredibly powerful messages about life and death, and a three hour running time. Rather than being impenetrable, however, the movie instantly immerses its audience in its strange, albeit very rewarding, world of revolt, science fiction, and mortality. It would take up way too much space to describe all of the movie's storylines, so let me say this: they span hundreds of years and all have a common theme of revolt and independence, whether it be from the government, prejudice, or individual, internal fears. The same actors play multiple characters in different storylines, but instead of being distracting, this only serves to draw the audience further into each story and helps develop sincere connections between them. The movie's messages are many, but the main one seems to be this: in a world ravaged by the cruelties of death and the relentless unfairness of time, our best hope for immortality is our treatment of others. Though we all die (as many of the central characters do, which is very painful to watch), our actions and kindness ripple into the future. Everyone deserves to be treated with dignity and humility. These messages are powerful and well worth hearing, but they come hand-in-hand with content that makes the film inappropriate for anyone but the oldest teens and adults. It's rated R for a reason. Violence is not pervasive, but when it's shown (in the form of suicide, poisoning, assassination, etc.) it's really bloody and unsettling. One man is thrown off of a roof to his death, and we see his body bloodily splat on the pavement. Sex is also prevalent in the movie. Both non-sexual and sexual frontal female nudity is shown, as well as rear male nudity. A man and a woman are shown graphically having sex with nudity and thrusting, although the scene takes place in a montage and is more emotional than erotic. The "f" word is used somewhere from 15-20 times. On the whole, this movie is truly very graphic and unflinching. But when you walk out of it, you won't feel disturbed, and it won't be the inappropriate content that you remember. It will be the emotion that comes along with the movie's personal messages. All of the explicit content is necessary to the story, and what an epic story it is. Adults should certainly check it out.
What other families should know
Great messages
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Teen, 16 years old Written bymuse2857 June 6, 2013

Quite good for mature audiences

A lot of violence, but takes place in unrealistic background and not gratuitous. Not dominating, but graphic sex scene. Strong language. Many smoke cigarettes and consume alcohol throughout the movie. 14+ : Violence, language, sex and some drug use
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Teen, 13 years old Written byZoemily November 11, 2012

The Cloud Atlas Sextet

Cloud atlas was one of those movies that you cannot simply watch, you must feel and experience it. Although It has some explicit scenes, it does not revolve around sex. You must go see this movie, the sheer brilliance of it is enough to drive you mad!
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Kid, 10 years old August 2, 2013

AMAZING

a spectacular sci-fi. An entertaining, funny, visually amazing. Excellent acting. Superb editing. Everything is brilliant about this movie. Really enjoyed it, maybe a bit to long, but what ya gonna do.
Parent of a 9 year old Written byDavidhp7 March 29, 2013

Decent

Good film
What other families should know
Too much violence
Parent Written byBob_H199 November 20, 2012

Unnecessary violence spoils mundane plot.

My wife and I walked out after 30 minutes. Way too much graphic violence that added nothing to the story. Depravity abounded. Storyline obtuse. We love Sci-Fi, but this film is Hollywood at its worst!!!
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much swearing
Adult Written byGamerMedic August 13, 2015

Love it or Hate it

I, personally, adore this movie and I've watched it more than 4 times at least. I saw this movie pretty much as soon as it came out, as my dad was a big fan of the book and wanted to see just HOW in the world it could even attempt to be adapted to film. After watching it once, we just had to see it again to try and piece together more of the story and notice more of the connections between characters. The stories aren't really that hard to follow (though some claim otherwise) because even though the film juggles six different stories they all progress at roughly the same rate with a beginning, middle, and end to each one. Once you have a good handle on the basic setting and idea of each individual story (which doesn't take long to set up) its pretty easy to follow. There is a huge cast of characters and ideas to move between and in some moments it works unbelievably well and in other moments it doesn't. The best part of the film, to me, is when several moments of conflict across the stories resonate at some parts and the characters, despite having wildly different circumstances, share in the same human triumphs and struggles across time. At other times it can feel like the film dropped an interesting development in one character too quickly to focus on a different character. But on the whole, the movie is simply thrilling to watch. I can understand why this film divides people so much, it tries to evoke emotion and allow the viewer to get swept up in the experience of it all. It's much more "feel" than "think" and for some people that's fine, and for others it isn't. So if you love it, I understand completely, and if you hate it, I can see why. All in all, for me, the whole experience is definitely one worth revisiting time and time again.
What other families should know
Great messages
Teen, 15 years old Written byocie14 March 29, 2013

Great film, not for kids

I actually loved this movie. However, it is NOT appropriate for anyone under the age of 15. There are a lot of characters in this movie, and it seems like most of them die. (All is brutal or shocking ways). Some of the most disturbing scenes: a man is suddenly thrown off a building and we see his body hit the ground and splatter everywhere, a (somewhat) main character is killed by a (very!!) sudden explosion in the middle of his monologue, a woman is stabbed in the neck by her "collar" and blood squirts everywhere as she suddenly dies, a man and his young son and brutally killed, an entire village is slaughtered, etc. And there is plenty more where all that came from! Also a few (somewhat graphic) sex scenes. But anyways, I did love this movie. I think it is very memorable, interesting and affecting. It does at some times feel like too much. Too much emotion, death, action, etc. It never really leaves a break for the viewer. Even the comic relief story line is kind of creepy and tense. I do recommend this movie to older teens and up, but it is certainly an ordeal and an investment.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Educator Written bybugmenot January 13, 2013

violence is over the top

Violence is over the top. I do not understand why it is 4 points and not all five. You name it - closeup of cut throats, head gunshots, artery explosions, a body landing on a pavement from a building with splashes of blood around. I am adult but I think I did not need those images in my head. A pseudo-philosophical positive epic message this movie tries to convey falls apart because it is being delivered in such distasteful mix of gore. I've seen gore movies and bloody movies, but in this movie it only results in sense of disgust and pity to the directors and actors.
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Too much violence
Too much sex
Parent Written byjennadele October 27, 2012

Nothing to hold onto.

The movie is hard to follow and drags. It is 6 movies twisted into 1 with only a slight tangable thread holding them together. They spend little time developing characters. I think I spent as much time looking at my phone to see how much time was left as them spent on character development. Our spirit (cloud) spaning time (atlas) wound together with smoke being danger, love transcending time, and what we do in love life follows our spirit to another is what the movie tries to explain. Though, I think it fails at all of this. The sheer spectacle of it all is all it has going for it.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Adult Written bydavyborn November 11, 2012

Spectacular visuals. Low-grade everything else.

Tom Tykwer (Run Lola Run) and the Wachowski Siblings (Formerly brothers, before Larry Wachowski received a sex-change operation, and turned into Lana Wachowski) team up for a movie that shouldn't get the budget that it got, the hard work of everyone involved including it's cast and enormous group of visual, and otherwise, people, putting there extensive time and effort to produce a film of such monstrous magnitude. Leaving the theatre, after sitting through all of Cloud Atlas's relentlessly ponderous and superficial 172 minute-running time, you don't exactly hate it. Well, you don't really like it, but you don't hate it, either. You don't like it, but, than again, you really just simply dont know what to think of it. The movie is interwoven with several segments of storylines, including a lawyer travelling to the coast via a ship in 1849, and witnessing first hand, what the effects of slavery and brutallity on the very people forced to commit to slavery are put through; A young homosexual musician who is brought to work for a top British Composer; a journalist in 1970's San Fransisco, who attempts to publish the truth about what is happening behind the conspiracy of a power plant; A kind elderly book publisher who is forced by his cruel brother to live at a horrible mental facility for the old, and is tormented by a sadistic, and hideously manly female nurse; A robotic-human fabricant fastfood worker (say that five times fast) who is seeked out by a small group of rebels who try to use her to expose the corrupt world that they find themselves living in; and, exhaustedly, the final story concerns the lives of a group of survivalist colonies in a post apocalyptic world, fending off a much larger group of savages. Now, all of those stories sound like they have nothing to do with each other, and the film doesn't just play all of these stories in the order that I just constructed them in. No, Cloud Altas seems fit to run the whole gammit of stories at us, constantly, and, unfortunately, inconsistently, cutting back and forth between every single storyline. Now, this film has polarized critis, it has polarized viewers, and it has polarized me, and, it saddens me to say this because I will always be a lifelong fan of the Wachowski sibling's Matrix trilogy, but Cloud Atlas is not much more than a overly ambitious, messy, monotonous bore, and that it will not get any better if you watch it a second time, nor will it make any more sense during a second viewing, because you must strain hard enough just to hear or even understand large snippets of dialoge throughout this nearly 3 hour film, that, finally, you just simply must give up, and give in to this sluggish little monstrosity of a movie. Now, when I mentioned much earlier about this films cast being excellent, I was not kidding. Stars such as Tom Hanks, Halle Berry, Jim Broadbent, Ben Wishaw, Jim Sturgess, Hugo Weaving, Keith David, Susan Surandon and Hugh Grant; populate this silly, far-too-overconfident mess. Now, if you have seen the films adds advertising the nice polished special effects and action sequences and still cannot fully bring yourself to the belief that this film really should be Rated R, well, than, I urge you to sit through this mess and tell me that after: Cloud Atlas features multiple scenes of brutal violence, including, but not limited to, many, many throat slashings, entire vilages being massacred with severed heads visibly seen on pikes, suicides, shootings, futuristic gunfights and battle sequences, threatening lives of several elderly people, and more, with lot's of spurting and gushing blood visible during nearly ever occurance of said violence. Also, strong sexual content is abundent, here, as well, with four sex scenes: One features lot's of loud groaning and yelling but with no visible nudity, the second only features both participants chests, shoulders and back, but ends with implied oral sex on the woman, the next is light-hearted and features a young couple interupted by her parents and allows us to see her bare back and his bare chest and legs when he comically covers his genitals with a cat, and, finally, the last sex scene is incredibly graphic, with thrusting, moaning and shots of bare breasts, buttocks, legs, chests, arms and abdomens; add to that some brief bare breast nudity out of context and one very explicit visual innunedo, and I think that you get the picture. And, finally, Cloud Atlas contains extremely sporadic moments of pervasive language, including several uses of f--k, sh-t, c-nt, h-ll, d-mn, b-tch, p-ssy, bloody, ruddy, and more. So, Cloud Atlas is absolutely not a movie to walk into and view casually, as it drags on to an exhaustedly monotonous level, and, will likely bore, me inlcuded, very heavilly. Not Reccomended.
What other families should know
Great messages
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much consumerism
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Teen, 14 years old Written byMacstar November 1, 2012

Mixed emotions towards the film

Cloud Atals was one of the films that I was really exited to see this year. Watching the trailer for it made me so emotional. But The movie was a little bit dissapointing. There were some dull slow moments but most of the time the film is engaging and exiting. The film is hard to follow at first because cloud atlas changes its story from time to time. But after sometime you'll get used to it. The plot is unlike anything Ive seen. Its really a sophisticated Sci-Fi film. But in my opinion the film could have been better if the characters had more screen time it could have added depth to them. And As you would know Cloud Atlas is a violent film there's a lot of blood, shooting, etc. there are also some sex scenes. there arent a lot of sex in the movie but the scenes are really explict. Over All I had mixed emotions towards the film but I decided to give it fout stars. I guess I would need to watch it again for me to decide if i like the film or not. But otherwise I recomend people to see this film.
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Adult Written byraymondjj January 5, 2016

Cloud Atlas Somewhat "Overcast" For a Movie

I 've just completed viewing "cloud Atlas" and I must agree with "Common Sense Media's" review of this film that it definately is "NOT " for kids and not just simply because of the gratuitous violence (primarily towards the last one hour of the film), but because of the "themes and messages" this movie conveys (they just wouldn't comprehend them). Differentiating the difference between reality and fantasy is fine for kids to learn, but the way it's been portrayed in this film has much to be desired in my opinion. As I mentioned most of the violence, sex and swearing even happens towards the last hour of the movie and that's a shame because I was enjoying the concept of the move (past, present and future) from an adult perspective for the first hour and a half. I though the last hour and half was disappointing by the way the scenes were4 presented an never mind the violence and sex scenes themselves!. If you have teenagers living at home, (17 and up In my opinion), I would imagine they would be "mature teens" who know how to watch a movie in terms of analsyxing for its content and not just be entertained (educated would be a good ideas as well0 because many of life's realities (issue wise) appear in this film despite the fact much of it' fantasy anyway. It's okay as films go (the story line and theme concept appealed to me to view this movie), but for teens they should be a mature teen to view this film in my opinion and ask them questions about the movie? It wouldn't hurt? If I had children below teens who just want to watch it for the sake of entertainment only and having some knowledge as to how children develop mentally and emotionally and intellectually,, I would NOT choose this as an appropriate! Even with movies, it's about choices right? (***/****) for the movie itself! Rainbowry
Parent Written byShivom Oza October 27, 2012

Cloud Atlas (2012) Review by Shivom Oza – Beautiful, Poignant 3-Hour Saga

You may not find the relatively complex story overwhelming, but the sheer scale and magnificence of this 3-hour feature will certainly blow your mind away. An adaptation of the 2004 novel of the same name by David Mitchell, ‘Cloud Atlas’, the film has six interwoven stories from different eras. The film covers six stories set in different time periods – 19th century, early 20th century, late 20th century, early 21st century, dystopian 22nd century and 170 years after the ‘The Fall’. The story of a particular era is discovered by the main character of the story in the succeeding era. The principal character in all the stories has a distinct scar on some part of his/her body, which, kind of, goes on epitomize ‘afterlife and related theories’. The concept, albeit a novel adaptation, was quite formulaic, but the screenplay, by word, was magical. The official synopsis of the film reads, “An exploration of how the actions of individual lives impact one another in the past, present and future, as one soul is shaped from a killer into a hero, and an act of kindness ripples across centuries to inspire a revolution.” The main character of every story has an accomplice who plays an instrumental role in protecting him/her from evil forces (depending on the era that the story has been set in). You have an American notary rebelling against the ill-treatment of a the Moriori tribe, a young English musician going up against his ageing mentor, a young female journalist challenging the establishment, an on-the-run press publisher trying to escape out of a nursing home and a tribesman, living in the post-apocalyptic distant future, fighting an evil tribe. All the stories, characters and thoughts do not necessarily connect in the film, but by-and-large, the underlying theme in each of the stories strikes a chord with the viewer. The 20-minute finale is so gripping and poignant that it will force you to ponder over the film long after it’s over. The cast of the film is as grand as the word ‘ensemble’ is. Tom Hanks, Halle Berry, Jim Broadbent, Hugo Weaving, Jim Sturgess, Bae Doona, David Gyasi, Susan Sarandon, Hugh Grant among others , give stellar performances and most importantly, look their parts. The premise of the film is quite unique, so to speak, and the most difficult thing is to get your actors to be able to deliver convincing performances. Such films are never shot in the same order as the screenplay is written. So, huge credit for the work of genius that we see on the big screen should go to the editor, Alexander Berner. Cinematography for such a lavish film had to be gorgeous. The film could have been cut short by around 30 minutes. It could have left a stronger impact on the viewer. The run-time, close to 3 hours, of the film, is one of the few deterrents. The underlying message is wonderful. ‘Cloud Atlas’ just numbs you with its stories, thoughts, visuals and the enchanting music. Avoid judging the film mid-way. If you do go for it, sit back, watch it patiently, and make your assessment. It’s a sum of its parts. Magnificently visualized film, written and directed by Tom Tykwer, Lana Wachowski and Andy Wachowski, ‘Cloud Atlas’ impresses at many levels. Its complex storyline and the 3-hour-runtime are the two deterrents. However, it’s a beautiful film with a poignant message. Shivom Oza
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much consumerism
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Educator Written bygolpededados200... September 4, 2015

Reflective, mind blowing

This movie provides dilemmas and conflicts to think and reflect about. Violence, sex, swearing and drugs are present, but in a context that can provide points of view. I think the movie presents one of the most compelling messages I've ever watched in Sonmi's revelation. As father and teacher, I highly recommend this movie to develop critical thinking, moral perspective and empathy for others.
Teen, 17 years old Written by_____________ August 29, 2015