Wartime docu can be grim but possibly inspiring to teens.
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A Lot or a Little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that E-Team chronicles the work of four peace activists working with the Human Rights Watch's Emergencies Team, who are investigating reports of wartime atrocities in Syria and Libya. Scores of violent acts are described in detail -- from burning bodies to children's murders -- but far less is shown on-screen, with occasional footage capturing dead bodies or blood. You'll hear one or two instances of strong, unbleeped language ("f--k," "s--t") and see some characters smoking cigarettes. Themes will be harder for younger viewers to tolerate than the images, but mature teens might find this window onto this world inspiring and moving.
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What's the Story?
As the first responders to some of the world's most horrifying atrocities, members of the Human Rights Watch's Emergencies Team -- or E-TEAM -- come face to face with harrowing stories of loss and mourning, risking their own lives to expose the heinous acts of war criminals. This eye-opening Netflix documentary is dedicated to late journalist James Foley, who filmed several of the movie's scenes before he was tortured and brutally executed in 2014 while working in the Middle East.
Is It Any Good?
Although this sobering film follows four E-Team activists, the sole woman profiled, Anya, is arguably the most fascinating. Not only because she's a woman, but also because she's a mother -- and pregnant with her second child for the majority of the shoot. The fact that she hardly lets that stop her from doing gravely important work is both impressive and inspiring and sends a strong message that it's possible to balance your passions and parenting in the same lifetime.
Directed by Katy Chevigny and Ross Kauffman (the acclaimed filmmakers behind Deadline and Born into Brothels, respectively), E-Team premiered at the Sundance Film Festival, where it nabbed an award for cinematography before Netflix stepped in to distribute it. Not that the masses will flock to this sobering look at combating wartime atrocities in the Middle East. But partnering with the online-streaming giant might be just the thing E-Team needs to ensure the film reaches the wider audience it deserves.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about whether E-Team opens viewers' eyes to the level of conflict in the Middle East beyond what the average person sees on the Internet or the evening news. What did you see that shocked or surprised you?
How do the E-Team members measure up as role models? What motivates them to continue the work they do in spite of unnerving odds?
What are the risks of working as an activist? Are they worth it? Could you put your life on the line for a cause you really cared about?
- On DVD or streaming: October 24, 2014
- Directors: Ross Kauffman, Katy Chevigny
- Studio: Netflix
- Genre: Documentary
- Topics: Activism, Great Boy Role Models, Great Girl Role Models, History
- Run time: 89 minutes
- MPAA rating: NR
- Last updated: February 17, 2023
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