Deja Vu Movie Poster Image

Deja Vu



Violent terrorism thriller isn't meant for kids.
Popular with kids
  • Review Date: April 22, 2007
  • Rated: PG-13
  • Genre: Thriller
  • Release Year: 2006
  • Running Time: 125 minutes

What parents need to know

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").

Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

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

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.

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.

Families can talk 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

Theatrical release date:November 21, 2006
DVD release date:April 24, 2007
Cast:Denzel Washington, Paula Patton, Val Kilmer
Director:Tony Scott
Studio:Touchstone Pictures
Run time:125 minutes
MPAA rating:PG-13
MPAA explanation:intense sequences of violence and terror, disturbing images and some sensuality.

This review of Deja Vu was written by

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are conducted by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.


Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

Find out more

Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

Find out more

About these links

Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization, earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes when you use our links to make a purchase. Thank you for your support.

Read more

About Our Rating System

The age displayed for each title is the minimum one for which it's developmentally appropriate. We recently updated all of our reviews to show only this age, rather than the multi-color "slider." Get more information about our ratings.

Great handpicked alternatives

  • Scary, tense, grisly mystery-thriller.
  • Terrific sci-fi action, but too violent for some.
  • One bad day lasts forever. Too bloody for kids.
  • Best for older teens and their parents.

What parents and kids say

See all user reviews

Share your thoughts with other parents and kids Write a user review

A safe community is important to us. Please observe our guidelines

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 way. The movie's plot is what makes the movie. First it's a investigation then time travel and back again. Nice touch
What other families should know
Too much violence
Kid, 12 years old August 5, 2014

Incredible action film may be too disturbing for some.

This film is pretty violent and disturbing, and therefore not the best choice for young kids. There gunfights, explosions, and homicide. One character's fingers are removed with pliers. The entire plot relies on violence and terrorism. The language and sexual material (with the exception of brief glimpses of a woman in a shower) are very tame for a PG-13 rated movie. This violent terrorism flick from the producer of "Pirates of the Caribbean," is engaging and thoughtful, and I would definitely recommend it to fans of Denzel Washington, or just action films in general.
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, kidnappings, live burnings, terrorism scenes including hundreds of deaths and burning victims, etc... Language is very mild, especially for a PG-13. It includes two uses of sh**, one pissed, and a couple other mild wordage. Sex/nudity is very mild, apart from one explicit scene. There is no sex, or sex jokes, however a scene of nudity. A group of men watch a video recording of a woman taking a shower, the top of her behind is scene about 2 seconds, and a brief glimpse of her breast is scene. Full breast, including obvious nipple.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much sex


Did our review help you make an informed decision about this product?