Exodus: Gods and Kings

Movie review by
Jeffrey M. Anderson, Common Sense Media
Exodus: Gods and Kings Movie Poster Image
Moody Biblical battle epic about Moses is gory and dull.
  • PG-13
  • 2014
  • 150 minutes

Parents say

age 15+
Based on 11 reviews

Kids say

age 13+
Based on 22 reviews

A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

Moses overcomes enormous challenges, solves problems, and learns empathy. But some of the messages get muddled/conflicted in the movie's action sequences and because of parts of the story that were cut out.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Moses is usually a clear hero, but in this version he seems uneasy with God's help, and the use of the seven plagues seems rather gruesome. (You almost feel sorry for the bad guys.) He can also be violent and sullen and quarrelsome. Still, he's heroic enough to rescue hundreds of thousands of slaves and bring them a new life and new freedom. 

Violence

Heavy fantasy-style action violence. Gruesome "seven plagues," with strong terror, blood, death, destruction, and chaos. Fighting. Lots of blood and death. Dead children. Dead bodies. Bird entrails. Dead horses. Slave whipping. Several people hanged. Falling from cliff. Tidal wave and drowning.

Sex

A married couple kisses; sex is indicated.

Language
Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

The pharaoh appears to drink wine with his meals.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Exodus: Gods and Kings is an epic retelling of the Biblical story of Moses freeing the Jewish slaves from the evil Egyptian pharaohs. There's lots of gruesome violence, particularly in the depiction of the seven plagues, with shocking amounts of blood, death, destruction, chaos, and terror. Dead children and animals are seen. There's also lots of fighting, hangings, slaves being whipped, and a terrifying tidal wave. On the other hand, sex and drinking/drugs are minimal, and language and consumerism aren't an issue. The film has drawn some criticism for "whitewashing" history by casting Caucasian actors in the roles of Middle Eastern characters. Teens who are on the fence about seeing a Biblical epic may be swayed by the movie's action factor, and Moses' story is still there -- and still worth telling and discussing, even though he's not portrayed as a saintly hero. But kids and tweens are strongly warned away; stick with either The Ten Commandments or The Prince of Egypt instead.

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User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written bySpencerleavitt December 26, 2014

It's better than most reviews would lead you to believe...

After seeing all the negative reviews, I decided to add my two cents. Is Exodus: Gods and Kings the best movie of the year? No, but it was fun to watch and prov... Continue reading
Adult Written bymovieman48 March 26, 2020

Why can’t they just tell the story?

The story of the exodus is a tremendous story when you read it from the bible and I never know why film producers think they must try and improve it somehow.Thi... Continue reading
Teen, 17 years old Written byBookNerd1 March 19, 2015

Who Cares About The Inaccuracies?

There is a lot of drama about this movie not being Biblically accurate. I think people are forgetting that they need to be reviewing the movie not its accuracy.... Continue reading
Teen, 14 years old Written byBaked Carrot March 19, 2015

CGI Central

In this Ridley Scott movie following the storyline of the Moses, and his struggles to free his people from the tyrannicle Egyptian empire. Amazing cgi (computer... Continue reading

What's the story?

As kids, Moses and Rhamses grew up together in the palace of Rhamses' father (John Turturro). As adults, Rhamses (Joel Edgerton) rules Egypt, with Moses (Christian Bale) as his trusted counsel. While inspecting a division of Jewish slaves, a wise man (Ben Kingsley) informs Moses that he, too, is Jewish. When Rhamses finds out, Moses is banished. He meets and marries Sefora (Maria Valverde) and starts life anew ... until God contacts him (in the form of a boy) and tells him that he must free the 600,000 people enslaved under the pharaoh. God assists by sending seven deadly plagues, but then Moses must lead the people across the Red Sea and into the promised land.

Is it any good?

EXODUS: GODS AND KINGS has a somber, dreary quality, punctuated by a thrumming, droning music score. Director Ridley Scott has made some great films, but he seems drawn to huge battle epics, like Kingdom of Heaven and Robin Hood, which he doesn't seem particularly suited to. The mood of this film doesn't invite anything in the way of an emotional or spiritual connection.

Nor does it allow many of the actors much of anything to do. Bale is both serious and battle-ready, and several other recognizable actors appear as window dressing. Only Edgerton as Rhamses brings a little heart to his under-confident villain. Some choices, such as God appearing as a creepy kid, are simply strange. Only the plagues sequence offers a kind of distraction, but even that quickly turns disturbingly dark. Earlier Moses films (The Ten Commandments, The Prince of Egyptetc.) were at least campy or funny, but this one isn't even entertaining.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about Exodus: Gods and Kings' violence, especially during the "seven plagues" sequence. Does the movie go too far, or is this violence necessary to convey the movie's story and themes?

  • Is Moses a hero in this story? What does he achieve? What does he learn? Is he a role model?

  • What's the appeal of Biblical epics like this one? What is the Moses story about, ultimately?

  • Why do you think the filmmakers choose to show God as a child? Is God fair? Wise? Cruel? What is his motivation in freeing the slaves?

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love epic dramas

Themes & Topics

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