A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
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.
- Parents say
- Kids say
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?
- In theaters: March 14, 2014
- On DVD or streaming: June 24, 2014
- Cast: Jake Gyllenhaal, Sarah Gadon, Melanie Laurent
- Director: Denis Villeneuve
- Studio: A24
- Genre: Thriller
- Run time: 90 minutes
- MPAA rating: R
- MPAA explanation: some strong sexual content, graphic nudity and language
- Last updated: March 13, 2020
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.
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