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Parents' Guide to


By Sandie Angulo Chen, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 14+

Strong female character leads in violent dystopia.

Movie PG-13 2014 143 minutes
Divergent Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 12+

Based on 37 parent reviews

age 12+

A great film - possibly suitable for your younger kids, if they have the attention span

I say 12 and up for this because I think once you've made it to middle school, there's no reason you shouldn't be able to see Divergent. I will confess to something that may make me seem horrible, but I do not have any 12 year old kids - I allowed my two 9 year olds to watch this with me and their father. I would have allowed my 7 year old to join, but he didn't want to watch an adult movie lol I'm not the kind of mom that just shows any adult movie to her children. My husband has been trying to talk me into letting them watch the Hunger Games, as a lot of our neighbors kids who are the same age and younger have seen it and liked it, but I just can't. The thought of them seeing the Rue scene - I am sure they would get nightmares. However, I do not think that Divergent has anything quite like that. Divergent is so obviously in a fictional, scifi realm, so it all feels very fake. Hunger Games feels much more real, like it could happen in our world to me. Divergent is a bit frightening, as in the Dauntless initiation, Tris is forced to fight and gets beaten up by a boy who is a horrible bully, people try to kill her, etc. But to me, it's more suspenseful then it is heartwrenching, which is why I felt my kids might be able to handle it. When I was a kid, I saw the terminator movies and I didn't know what the heck was going on, so I figured they could handle Divergent. I wasn't wrong. They absolutely loved it and want to see the sequel. My 9 year old son has watched it multiple times on his own now. The villains lose in the end, the heroes prevail, but of course, they both live to fight another day. I personally think it is good to show kids at their age "adult" movies and ease them into more serious and suspenseful topics. Some warnings: There is cursing, and I do not allow my children to curse (which seems obvious as they are so young, but even when they are older, I won't allow it in the house) However, I had the same rule growing up, yet saw plenty of movies where people curse. I think my children are aware that people in the world will curse, but that doesn't mean that they can. -The cursing in the movie is actually rather minimal, though. After a kiss scene, the girl character says "I don't want to go too fast." Now, in middle school, your kids will likely know what that means. I think it's fine because there isn't a sex scene, which is a pleasant and welcome surprise. For my 9 year olds, I was prepared to dodge any questions they had, but it seemed to go right over their heads. They've never asked me what she means by that. There is some heavy violence toward the end. People are under simulation that forces them to behave and kill like robots, and there are some sad deaths, mainly the death of Tris' mother. Anyone at middle school age I think should be able to handle it. For my 9 year olds, they shed some tears, but the same kind of tears that I shed. I've seen a lot of parents say that younger kids tend to get paranoia and fear death from these scenes, but I haven't had that happen with my kids. I think not sheltering them so much has enabled them to realize the difference in the same way that we do. After all, we do not live in this Divergent world, where people are under simulation and whatnot, so they don't slip into that fear. It all depends on how you want to raise your child of course, but I personally think that any 12 year old should be able to handle this movie. They are about to become teens, and this is ultimately a teen movie. Lots of room for positive discussion on being an individual. Again, there are brutal situations and bad characters in the movie, but they should know that they can't model that behavior/the good characters in the movie display no behavior that I find worrisome. The heroine manages to survive initiation and triumphs over adversity. I also like that there is a strong male alongside her. Heroines seem stronger when they're strong alongside a strong male. I don't like when hollywood dumbs down the male characters in favor of the strong female. This movie provides a hero for both girls and boys.
age 10+

Amazing, my favourite movie!

Awesome! Divergent is exciting and great for tweens. I reccomend reading the book first but the movie is great on it's own. I definitely reccomend to age 10 and up because of violence and killing but a mature nine year old would be fine.

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (37 ):
Kids say (285 ):

The movie adaptation of the popular YA series benefits from a talented cast, a spot-on visual depiction of the factions, the Dauntless Pit, and the story's urban Chicago setting. The acting ensemble is as good as the cast of The Hunger Games and vastly superior to that of Twilight and the forgettable Vampire Academy and Mortal Instruments adaptations. While Woodley doesn't fit the canon description of Tris, she captures the character's mix of vulnerability and courage, her desire to be independent in a world that demands conformity. And although heartthrob Theo James is almost too manly looking for Woodley's doe-eyed ingenue, he definitely gets the job done as the intensely serious Four.

But the movie doesn't live up to the hype or the potential of the written series. The Dauntless initiation process isn't as violent or emotional on the screen as it is on the page, and neither is the buildup of the Tris and Four romance or Tris' friendship with her fellow transfer initiates. Considering the two-and-a-half-hour runtime, there are parts that drag on and yet aspects of the book that seem surprisingly cut. The performances (Winslet is fabulous as the icy Erudite leader, and Zoe Kravitz, Maggie Q, and Jai Courtney are all true to the spirit of their characters) make up for some of the pacing and screenwriting issues, but overall this adaptation falls short of fan expectations. Still, tweens and teens who've read the books should absolutely see the movies and hope the second and third installments fare better.

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