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Deja Vu

Movie review by
Cynthia Fuchs, Common Sense Media
Deja Vu Movie Poster Image
Violent terrorism thriller isn't meant for kids.
  • PG-13
  • 2006
  • 125 minutes
Popular with kids

Parents say

age 15+
Based on 4 reviews

Kids say

age 13+
Based on 18 reviews

A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

Authorities lie to Doug to solicit his help; a plainly disturbed terrorist believes his cause (mass murder) is justified to prove that he's fit for military service. On the plus side, the hero is utterly noble.


The film opens with a harrowing scene of a terrorist attack on a ferry (explosion, flames, bloody bodies on fire and floating in water), which is later repeated; weapons include guns, bombs, knives, and plier-cutters; Claire's dead body is seen at the morgue (burned, fingers cut off, bloody); bloody rags in sink; ATF agent shot/burned by villain; lengthy car chase (cars crash and flip); hero shot through windshield; kidnap victim with a bag on head is doused in gasoline (about to be burned); villain shoots guard on ferry; time-travel machine results in violent permutations of traveler's face/figure.


Images of Claire in some states of undress as she's watched by the investigators.


Minor language ("rat's ass").

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Cigarette smoking (by coroner in morgue and by villain during interrogation); quick joke about "smoking hash."

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this violent thriller has been targeted more at adults than kids, but some teens will be interested. With the movie's terrorism storyline, it's not surprising that there are explosions, car crashes, fights, and shootings -- which result in burned, bloody, beaten, and drowned bodies. Weapons include knives, guns, bombs, and vehicles. In one scene, scientists and authorities watch voyeuristically as a woman undresses and showers in her apartment. Characters argue loudly and discuss motivations for terrorism alongside religious faith, and in one sad scene, a father grieves his daughter's murder. The language is very tame for a PG-13 film.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent of an infant, 3, and 11 year old Written bygrahamandheather April 9, 2008

Made me dizzy

This was a good movie and I saw it twice in the theatre, but it is quite violent and disturbing for kids.
Parent of a 12 year old Written bylittleone522 March 11, 2011

Brief Nudity and Violence Not for young viewers

Its a good movie for adults and older teens. My concerns for the younger viewers would be the violence as there is alot in this film, including a man getting sh... Continue reading
Teen, 17 years old Written bydawtpbwv July 18, 2011

Deja Vu - Playback Plot

Deja Vu is a action thriller with decent acting. The film doesn't achieve anything greater or fail at all. Denzel is Denzel and you are you. It stays that... Continue reading
Teen, 14 years old Written byJadenp March 28, 2011

Amazing movie! Great for 14 and up!

Suggested MPAA Rating: PG-13 for an intense scene of violence and terror, violence, intense scenes, and brief nudity. Violence includes multiple murders, kid... Continue reading

What's the story?

A thriller with a science-fiction twist, DDJJ VU begins with a terrorist attack -- a bomb explodes aboard a ferry carrying Navy sailors on leave. Among the authorities trying to sort out the crime scene is ATF agent Doug Carlin (Denzel Washington), who's particularly good at reading details. His acute interpretations of bomb residues, bodies, and video surveillance tapes draw the attention of FBI special agent Pryzwarra (Val Kilmer), who recruits Doug for a special anti-terrorism team. Complications arise when Doug learns that one woman's body (Claire) shows signs of the explosion -- even though she died minutes before the bomb went off. The FBI trots out surveillance technology that enables them to observe her last few days, hoping that she'll lead them to the terrorist. Doug quickly figures out that this set-up isn't what it appears to be – the FBI has the ability to "warp the very fabric of space."

Is it any good?

Washington's focused performance holds the movie's various generic and thematic strands together. Doug is certainly an intrepid and even romantic hero, devoting himself to Claire's case. But he's also a believably skeptical detective, and his questions about motives and technologies tend to mirror the audience's. This third collaboration between Washington and director Tony Scott (the others being 2004's Man on Fire and 1995's Crimson Tide) combines elaborate stunts and psychological ambiguities in order to challenge audience expectations.

The effectiveness of this combination is manifest in the movie's characterization of suspect Carroll Oerstadt (Jim Caviezel). His desire for revenge against the U.S. military is at once personal and political, with oblique connections to current recruitment concerns as well as definitions of "patriotism." Such details make Déjà Vu, although uneven, more intriguing than the usual action thriller.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the concept of déjà vu: How does it provide a dramatic hook for a movie? What are the characters' different motivations (revenge, self-sacrifice, desire, revulsion, science, faith, etc.)? How do different motivations lead to different results? Families can also discuss the possibilities of time travel. What would you change about your own behavior if you could go back in time? Did you know this movie was about time travel before you saw it? Do you think marketers and producers consciously chose to downplay that angle? Why?

Movie details

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