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Parents' Guide to


By Joyce Slaton, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 14+

Medical thriller is smart, but too tense for younger kids.

Movie NR 2012 240 minutes
Coma Poster Image

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Coma is star-studded, tensely plotted, and directed with fast-moving brio by Ridley Scott (Alien) and brother Tony Scott (Top Gun). It's both creepy and absorbing, particularly for viewers who are already suspicious of what doctors could be doing behind those swinging hospital doors. Those who've seen the 1978 film or read Cook's novel may recall that the original villains were after coma victims' body parts. The new miniseries smartly updates this plot point, since -- as Dr. Bellows says -- we're on the verge of being able to grow organs in a lab, there's no profit in harvesting organs. Thus the evil doctors are now after another objective entirely, one that will strike many modern viewers as pretty disturbing.

Also disturbing, particularly to young viewers: The many shots of graphic, bloody medical procedures, eerie suspended bodies, and the heroine creeping down shadowy hospital corridors. It's easy to imagine Coma igniting a doctor or hospital fear, so think twice before you watch with younger children. Older kids or teens who are equipped to handle the tension may enjoy the brisk drama, which is light on confusing medical jargon and mostly jettisons the 1978 Coma's knotty questions about medical ethics for more straightforward horror-movie plotting. Parents, meanwhile, will like seeing old movie-star faves like Woods and Richard Dreyfuss again. Coma is good watch-together fare for families with older kids, particularly from the perspective of a comfortable, safe couch.

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