Only for adults, and even then ...
This is pure sci-fi, which means there are a lot of unanswered questions and adult twists and turns with grey choices. And for kids, that may be difficult to process.
Without question, this is a VERY gory and violet film. VERY! As an adult, that was difficult for me. The language is mostly the F word a lot. The sexual mentions are filthy but not what I would consider to be graphic.
The film is very adult oriented.
If you don't like shaky camera-type work in films that are shot to look more documentary style, you won't like this film.
Are there positive messages? Not really. You have to look deep. It's more of a reflection film that makes you think, through the metaphors presented in the story, what kind of people we are and how we treat others. Are we guilty of doing the same things to real humans that we see being done to aliens in this film? How do we treat others around us? Are we so selfish, greed oriented, and domineering that we are willing to disregard humanity and humane treatment of others to just fulfill our own interests? Our society is increasingly this way, and we're not just talking about apartheid.
Personally, I wouldn't feel comfortable being in the theater with anyone under 21 for this film -- it's that strong.
However, kudos to Peter Jackson. It is a truly original, amazing piece of sci-fi art. Like the critics say, this film has enough twists and turns in it to keep you interested until the closing credits. Very few films, especially sci-fi action films can do that these days.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing