A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Detachment is an intense drama about a substitute teacher in an inner city school. Some movies about teachers are inspirational, but this one is more introspective. It includes threats, arguing, and verbal confrontations, as well as some death and blood. Language is very harsh, strong and constant (including "f--k," the "N" word, and much more). There are sexual situations, including a storyline involving a teen prostitute and a quick shot of a naked elderly woman in a rest home. Secondary characters are shown to have drug problems. The material is dark, and the main character learns some hard lessons, but Detachment does end on a hopeful note. The movie could provide interesting discussions for mature teens.
What's the story?
Mr. Barthes (Adrien Brody) works as a substitute teacher in tough New York City schools, willing to take on month-long assignments without getting tied down. Unlike some of his colleagues, his detachment allows him to deal with the cruel students -- and to connect with the good ones -- without ever getting personally involved. But things change when a teen prostitute, Erica (Sami Gayle), comes on to him. He takes her home to give her something to eat, and she ends up staying. Like everyone else in his life, Mr. Barthes tries to cut Erica loose, but when one of his students tries to commit suicide, he finds that he's really missing something important in his life.
Is it any good?
Tony Kaye, the controversial director of American History X, returns to filmmaking with DETACHMENT, an emotionally powerful, enlightening drama. Brody plays a distant, closed-off character, but he relies on his natural charisma to draw focus to himself. He carries his pain just below the surface, locked away but still present. He's mesmerizing, especially when facing some kind of conflict.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how the movie portrays teachers and schools. Does it seem realistic or exaggerated? Teens: Do you think about your teachers' lives outside the classroom? Do you think any of them feel the way that Mr. Barthes does?
Is Mr. Barthes a role model? What does he do right, and what could he have done better?
Why does Meredith want to commit suicide? What other choices could she have made to improve her situation? How could Mr. Barthes have helped?
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.