Django Unchained

Movie review by
Jeffrey M. Anderson, Common Sense Media
Django Unchained Movie Poster Image
Tarantino's slavery tale is uneven and brutal but brilliant.
  • R
  • 2012
  • 165 minutes
Parents recommendPopular with kids

Parents say

age 16+
Based on 22 reviews

Kids say

age 15+
Based on 68 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

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 & Representations

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
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.

What 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.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written bychristian2011 August 20, 2013

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... Continue reading
Parent Written byalwaysarealmom December 28, 2012

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... Continue reading
Teen, 15 years old Written byEnziguri12106 December 29, 2012

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,... Continue reading
Teen, 17 years old Written byMikeWard January 13, 2015

A great not so family film

Django Unchained is a masterpiece of a film and you'd notice I've given it an average age rating. The swearing isn't the issue really (with about... Continue reading

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?

Oddly, the rather blank, stoic Django is the least interesting character in this violent, somewhat uneven film. 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.

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.

Talk to your kids 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

Themes & Topics

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