Django Unchained

  • Review Date: December 19, 2012
  • Rated: R
  • Genre: Western
  • Release Year: 2012
  • Running Time: 165 minutes

Common Sense Media says

Tarantino's slavery tale is uneven and brutal but brilliant.
  • Review Date: December 19, 2012
  • Rated: R
  • Genre: Western
  • Release Year: 2012
  • Running Time: 165 minutes

Age(i)

NOT FOR KIDS

Quality(i)

 
Academy AwardGolden Globe

What parents need to know

Positive messages

On the one hand, Django Unchained looks at slavery in a matter-of-fact way -- in a way that many other American movies have avoided -- and it could get discussion going about that part of American history. But on the other hand, the movie is largely about killing and revenge, with no real redemption or lessons learned.

Positive role models

Django Unchained is populated mainly by killers and scoundrels, people who are hateful and seeking revenge or are looking out for their own interests. One character agrees to help another out of what seems to be friendship, but this small act is more or less lost in the grand scheme of brutality.

Violence

In addition to explosive shootouts and killings with massive quantities of spurting blood, the movie shows shocking mistreatments of slaves; male slaves are forced to fight one another, breaking bones and bashing each other to a bloody pulp, and a female slave is tortured in a "hot box" for several days. A slave is ripped apart by dogs while people watch. A man is murdered in front of his young son. Slaves are branded.

Sex

Partial nudity includes one female breast and two naked men (not full frontal, though nudity is definitely suggested). Django and his wife share a passionate kiss in one scene. There's a good deal of flirting and sexual tension and some innuendo (such as a reference to "comfort girls").

Language

Very strong language throughout includes nonstop use of the "N" word; possibly the most ever used in a high-profile film. Other words include "f--k," "motherf---er," "s--t," "p---y," "t-ts," "goddamn," "ass," "damn," "hell," "bastard," "bitch," "goddamn," "oh my God," and more.

Consumerism
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Adult characters smoke cigarettes in a background way. The two main characters sip at two beers in a saloon. Characters drink stronger alcohol in a social setting.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Django Unchained comes from writer/director Quentin Tarantino, and if you've seen any of his other films, you know what that means: incredibly strong, shocking "grindhouse" violence and language. Django Unchained (which takes place in Deep South in the mid-1800s) not only features guns, shooting, killing, and spurting blood, but also horrible violence against slaves. Male slaves are forced to fight each other, breaking bones and bashing each other into a bloody pulp. A female slave is briefly tortured, and a male slave is ripped apart by dogs. The "N" word is used countless times, as are other Tarantino favorites ("f--k," etc.). There's some partial nudity (both male and female) and kissing, as well as some cigarette smoking and background drinking. The good news is that this movie takes a matter-of-fact look at slavery, which may get discussions going among older teens and families. But otherwise, this movie is very brutal and not recommended for the under-18 set.

Parents say

Kids say

What's the story?

In the mid-1800s, bounty hunter Dr. King Schultz (Christoph Waltz) tracks down a slave named Django (Jamie Foxx) and buys him -- promising him freedom later -- so that Django can help identify Schultz's next target. The two become partners and friends and eventually embark on a dangerous quest to rescue Django's wife (Kerry Washington) from a plantation owned by the brutal Calvin Candie (Leonardo DiCaprio). To gain access, the duo must pose as potential investors in a "Mandingo fighting" racket. But Candie's devoted old slave, Stephen (Samuel L. Jackson), quickly catches on to the truth. Can Django and company escape with their lives?

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

In his previous film, Inglourious Basterds, Quentin Tarantino told a masterfully sprawling story of WWII, bending history willy-nilly to find a more truthful center. DJANGO UNCHAINED is even longer and more sprawling but with a much simpler story and themes. It doesn't quite fit. The movie has long, flabby stretches that scream for the cutting-room floor, while the bursts of violence often feel outsized and misplaced. And it doesn't help that the rather blank, stoic Django is the least interesting character.

But occasionally the movie unexpectedly slips into brilliance. These moments are mostly centered around talking and negotiating, which also explains why the quiet hero doesn't always work. But actors Waltz, DiCaprio, and Jackson are all mesmerizing on more than one occasion. Somehow, Django Unchained finally manages to raise some interesting questions, mainly about slavery and how it has historically been depicted (or not depicted) in movies.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about Django Unchained's brutal violence. Why do you think Tarantino chose to make the violence so intense and bloody? What effect does it have on the movie overall?

  • How does the movie depict slavery during the pre-Civil War era? What does this movie show that other movies set during that period don't show? Do you think it's exploitative, or will it get meaningful conversations started?

  • Why do you think actors are attracted to these kinds of vicious roles? What's appealing about them?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:December 25, 2012
DVD release date:April 16, 2013
Cast:Christoph Waltz, Jamie Foxx, Kerry Washington, Leonardo DiCaprio
Director:Quentin Tarantino
Studio:Weinstein Co.
Genre:Western
Topics:History
Run time:165 minutes
MPAA rating:R
MPAA explanation:strong graphic violence throughout, a vicious fight, language and some nudity
Awards:Academy Award, Golden Globe

This review of Django Unchained was written by

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  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Quality

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

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Adult Written bychristian2011 August 20, 2013
AGE
17
QUALITY
 

Surprisingly brilliant Tarantino film. For people 17+ due to extreme violence & profanity.

Django Unchained does give us a great insight on the use and aspects of slavery in the 1800's - especially the brutal methods and tactics that DiCaprio's character brings to the table which can be cruel and sadistic. It brings a spaghetti western feel to the screen, and contains has a smart sense of humor, common with Tarantino films. The story about Django and his vigilante/crusade adventure is exciting and compelling, bringing justice to the corrupt plantation owners. For the content advisory - this film contains sequences of graphic bloody violence where people and slaves are shot, mutilated, whipped, and tortured - where one slave is ripped apart by dogs, one is hung naked and has their genitals mutilated, and other two are forced to brutally beat each other to death on-screen. The language is pervasive and strong - multiple uses of f**k, sh*t, godd**n, b*tch, and especially n*gger. There's no actual sex in this film except for a few passionate kissing scenes and implicated acts of sex; one scene shows graphic female nudity.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much swearing
Parent Written byalwaysarealmom December 28, 2012
AGE
13
QUALITY
 

The Truth!

This movie was a good movie overall, no it is not for small children, but I think it will provoke dialogue with older children. Yes there is full frontal nudity of a male, but back during slavery times, these types if incidents happened. I think we shield our children form the truth of slavery & this movie will cause some dialogue if we are honest. Of course the violence is massive, its a Tarantino movie, that's what he's known for, but overall the story has a basis & its easy to follow; which let me say that is not common for Tarantino!.. The sad part is most of what is portrayed in the movie as it relates to slavery is real & true even though Tarantino tried to make it light & somewhat humourous. House slaves behaved that way, women were treated that way, and men were used like animals for sport!!
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Teen, 15 years old Written byEnziguri12106 December 29, 2012
AGE
13
QUALITY
 

A Great Film that Condemns Slavery with a Healthy Dose of Campy, Unrealistic Violence

Tarantino shows us a take of slavery that leave no holds barred. However, the violence in this film is neither realistic, scary, nor insidious. It is a campy, over-the-top film of revenge and justice that's fine for teens. If you'd allow a child to see a classic country western film, Django is definitely fine. Sex is definitely not an issue in this film, as no love making takes place whatsoever. Without spoiling anything, Tarantino blends humor and campy, unrealistic violence to make the audience laugh at some unusual stuff. He lives up to his style in this film and lets the bad guys get it.
What other families should know
Great messages
Too much violence

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