Parents' Guide to

Every Breath You Take

By Tara McNamara, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 15+

Mature thriller about grief explores intense emotions.

Movie R 2021 105 minutes
Every Breath You Take Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

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Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say: Not yet rated
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For adults, this Cape Fear wannabe could be seen as a flawed script with characters who make iffy decisions -- but for families with older teens, it could actually be subconsciously brilliant. Thanks to the film's third-person perspective, viewers' suspicions are raised about the interloper in the Clark family before the characters start to feel like something is off. As with a good horror film, we scream at the screen: "No! Don't do it!" Viewers may find themselves feeling smarter than the characters -- and that can be particularly useful when it comes to teens. It's almost a practice run for actively recognizing dangerous situations; kids who are faced with a relatable situation in real life may be more likely to listen to their intuition because they've "been in" this situation before.

Plus, by making the lead character a psychiatrist who works in a university setting, behavioral patterns are identified. The rich irony is that Dr. Clark helps other people cope with their mental health challenges while his own family is falling apart. There's a great lesson to be learned here about the power of communication when it's so abundantly clear how the lack of it is destroying the Clark family. And at the same time, unfolding the mistakes of "an expert" (even a fictional one) allows parents to be more aware of the ways we interact with our own families. So while some plot points in Every Breath You Take will likely leave you shaking your head (the ending's "big reveal" logically could have been dealt with at the beginning with a simple internet search), the film has the potential to foster empathy and understanding about the fact that we all handle our trauma differently, and not always well -- and that a little compassion can go a long way. A weak film that's actually doing some good? That's some excellent reverse psychology.

Movie Details

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