Movie review by
Jeffrey M. Anderson, Common Sense Media
Enemy Movie Poster Image
Mind-bending, surreal mystery with sex and language.
  • R
  • 2014
  • 90 minutes

Parents say

age 15+
Based on 4 reviews

Kids say

age 16+
Based on 7 reviews

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A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

The movie is so surreal and elusive that any messages are buried deep within. Perhaps: "curiosity killed the cat"? Other themes will be up for discussion.

Positive Role Models & Representations

The movie more or less shows two sides of one person, one aggressive and confident, and the other meek and sad. Neither is particularly admirable, though the movie could spark discussion about the different sides of our own personalities.


We see a realistic car crash, and a few nightmarishly scary images. Otherwise, there are a few moments of characters yelling or arguing with one another.


A scene takes place at a strange, mysterious club in which women perform on stage. We hear the sounds and see some suggestions of one woman masturbating, while many men watch. The main character has sex with his girlfriend more than once; her breasts and bottom are shown. A pregnant woman is shown undressing, and her breasts are on view. Characters have sex with more than one partner. In a nightmare sequence, a fully naked woman with a spider head walks toward the camera (upside-down, on the ceiling). A character follows a strange woman down a hallway, with a close-up on her behind (she's wearing a kind of sexy, fishnet outfit).


Language is not heard very often, but in the film's final third, "f--k" is used several times. "S--t" is also heard once or twice.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Characters drink casually, at home, in a background way. A woman says, "I think I'm drunk" in one scene, and goes to bed.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Enemy is a sexy, surreal mystery from the director/actor team that made Prisoners. It features lots of female nudity, including one full-frontal shot, plus some creepy sexual imagery and the suggestion of women performing sex acts for men to watch. There are also several sex scenes between partners, and characters with more than one partner. Language is strong in the latter part of the movie, with several uses of "f--k," plus at least one use of "s--t." There's a realistic car crash, and characters shouting and arguing. Characters also drink in a casual, background way, at home. The movie is more about the mystery than the solution, and does not provide any real answers. It will be up to adventurous older teens and grown-ups to ponder the clues and reach their own conclusions.


User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written bymovienerd95 April 11, 2014


Very complicated and sexually charged psychological thriller, There is several scense of breast nudity, some mature sex scenes and a scene of full nudity. There... Continue reading
Parent of a 9-year-old Written byBobby G. April 9, 2020

Dark, smart mystery

This movie is quite confusing. Violence 2/10. An intense car crash, two people die. They’re bodies are not seen. Sex 7/10. Many shots of nudity. Women are seen... Continue reading
Teen, 15 years old Written byJustin Rivera July 17, 2014

Surrealist Masterwork

Hypnotic, surreal, mysterious, eerie and engrossing. This film contained phenomenal performances from its cast, Jake Gyllenhaal especially. This film was also v... Continue reading
Teen, 17 years old Written byB-KMastah March 22, 2014

Its cohesiveness is an achievement in itself but it goes way past that.

Quite the surreal trip. This is a very delicate premise because it could very quickly became contrived, convoluted, or pretentious, or all three. But, thanks to... Continue reading

What's the story?

Adam Bell (Jake Gyllenhaal) is a sad, drab history professor who gives the same lecture about dictatorships (and their repeating patterns), and goes home to the same evening routine with his girlfriend Mary (Melanie Laurent). One night he rents a movie and spots an actor that looks exactly like himself. He discovers the actor's name, Anthony Clair (Gyllenhaal again), and contacts him. The confident, commanding Anthony is married to the beautiful, pregnant Helen (Sarah Gadon). The two men appear to be exact doubles, and neither knows precisely what to make of it, until Anthony callously decides to steal Mary away for a weekend. Yet for Adam, the puzzle, involving a mysterious package and dreams about spiders, grows ever more complex.


Is it any good?

Oscar-nominated Canadian filmmaker Denis Villeneuve continues his collaboration with actor Jake Gyllenhaal, following Prisoners; the result here is much tighter but far less realistic. Indeed, ENEMY could easily be described as surreal. It's a mystery story, with mystery elements, but the movie does not provide much in the way of answers. It's more like a David Lynch film, with clues, emotions, images, ideas, and sensations coming together for one unique experience, with a bizarre, unforgettable ending.

Enemy begins with shots of a mysterious club involving women in sexual situations and spiders, and these nightmarish images continue to permeate the film. The movie also dabbles in notions of repeating patterns and doubled images, though not overtly. It's smart enough not to leave blatant clues or red herrings, anywhere. Based on a 2002 novel by Nobel Prize-winning Portuguese author Jose Saramago, it's a truly intriguing movie, sure to leave viewers pondering long after.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the sex in the movie. Does sex seem to be a healthy or loving outlet for these characters? What's the overall tone to the sexual activity in the movie?

  • Is the movie scary? Creepy? How does a story that departs from reality affect you? What other movies have departed from reality, with different results?

  • The main character's personality traits seem to have been split, one confident and aggressive, and the other meek and sad. Do you feel all these things within yourself? At what different times, or in what situations?

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love thrills

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