Enigma

 
WWII drama has excellent performances; ok for 15+.
  • Review Date: April 28, 2003
  • Rated: R
  • Genre: Drama
  • Release Year: 2002
  • Running Time: 112 minutes

What parents need to know

Violence

Graphic scenes of mass graves, wartime peril and tension

Sex

Sexual references and brief sexual situation

Language

Brief strong language

Consumerism
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Drinking and smoking

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this movie has some sexual references and situations (brief nudity). Claire seduces just about every man she meets. There are some very tense scenes, including graphic images of slaughtered bodies in a mass grave.

Parents say

Not yet rated
Review this title!

What's the story?

ENIGMA follows the story of the people who worked at historic Bletchley estate in the U.K. to unlock the Germans' unlockable secret codes, a major event that shortened the war by a year. The story's central figure is brilliant mathematician Tom Jericho (Dougray Scott), whose grasp of human relationships is a little shaky. Tom returns to Bletchley after a nervous breakdown. His superiors don't want him back, but he may be their best hope for breaking yet another new code (called "the Shark") and preventing a major attack on Allied forces. Meanwhile, the former girlfriend who caused Tom's breakdown, his co-worker Claire, has disappeared. Tom teams up with Claire's roommate Hester (Kate Winslet) to find out what happened to her. As they search for clues, they are tailed by Wigram (Jeremy Northern), a sleek secret agent.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

The essentials of the story are true, but the characters in the movie are fictional. As he did with Shakespeare in Love, screenwriter/playwright Tom Stoppard brilliantly interweaves the real and the imaginary to illuminate not only his characters' era but our own. Stoppard is fascinated with puzzles, wordplay, secrets, and stories within stories, all of which lend themselves very well to the Bletchley code-breakers. The movie brilliantly depicts the desperate atmosphere and heart-breaking dedication of the people who knew that their success – or failure – could do more to determine the outcome of the war than a thousand soldiers with guns.

The performances are excellent, particularly Northern, whose character has had to sacrifice what he once thought of as honor to serve a greater cause, has had to betray in order to be loyal, and has had to keep too many secrets. Winslet's only failing is her entirely unsuccessful effort to look dowdy. But she and Scott are marvelous at showing us something we seldom see in movies, really smart people using their intelligence.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the various moral dilemmas in this movie. When it becomes clear that there is no way to save the American supply ships in time, the code-breakers debate whether it is right to use what they know about the ships' positions to help them calculate the keys to break the code. What are the best arguments for each side? Who was right? The characters lie and there are a number of betrayals in the movie – more than some members of the audience may be able to sort through on the first viewing – and it is worth talking about how people decide whom to trust and how much evidence they need before they change their minds.

Movie details

Theatrical release date:May 3, 2002
DVD release date:September 24, 2002
Cast:Dougray Scott, Jeremy Northam, Kate Winslet
Director:Michael Apted
Studio:Columbia Tristar
Genre:Drama
Run time:112 minutes
MPAA rating:R
MPAA explanation:sexual situations and some graphic images

This review of Enigma was written by

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are conducted by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

Find out more

Learning ratings

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

Find out more

About our buy links

When you use our links to make a purchase, Common Sense Media earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes. As a nonprofit organization, these funds help us continue providing independent, ad-free services for educators, families, and kids while the price you pay remains the same. Thank you for your support.
Read more

See more about how we rate and review.

About Our Rating System

The age displayed for each title is the minimum one for which it's developmentally appropriate. We recently updated all of our reviews to show only this age, rather than the multi-color "slider." Get more information about our ratings.

What parents and kids say

See all user reviews

Share your thoughts with other parents and kids Write a user review

A safe community is important to us. Please observe our guidelines

Teen, 14 years old Written byFILMCRITIC500 December 1, 2012
age 13+
 

gripping, confusing, tense drama will put off tweens, will enthrall computer geeks

this gripping, thrilling, and overall awesome war movie mixes suspense with a complicated storyline, which may be to convaluted for younger tweens. this WWII drama has little in the way of violence. it does include a scene of planes bombing a town and buildings burning in the aftermath. other violent scenes include massive explosions on boats and submarines, bodies piled high in mass graves, and fist-fighting. the REAL reason this film got an R rating was of the 4 F bombs and a scene of sex, which only shows bare backsides. a man is nakes in a scene, but we don't see his lower area.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing

Poll

Did our review help you make an informed decision about this product?

Digital Compass