Eye in the Sky

Movie review by
S. Jhoanna Robledo, Common Sense Media
Eye in the Sky Movie Poster Image
Riveting thriller about drone strikes and their human toll.
  • R
  • 2016
  • 102 minutes

Parents say

age 14+
Based on 2 reviews

Kids say

age 12+
Based on 3 reviews

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A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

Even in war, it's important to keep your head -- and your humanity. Character wrestle with very difficult, complicated moral choices.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Most of the characters, from Col. Catherine Powell to drone pilot Steve Watts, are attempting to be very mindful of the consequences and human toll of a drone strike. They're also trying to be wise leaders under very difficult circumstances.


The movie is about a military drone attack in Kenya; there are scenes of air strikes that kill or maim (burned bodies/body parts are shown). Terrorists are shown donning suicide vests, and military men threaten to shoot and kill their enemies (and actually do so).


Infrequent use of words including "f--k."

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

A tiny spy drone is hidden in a pack of cigarettes. 

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Eye in the Sky is a tense, thought-provoking film about the hours leading up to a military drone strike -- and the intricate, gut-wrenching process (and complex, difficult moral choices) that goes into deciding whether and when to attack. Starring Helen Mirren, Aaron Paul, and Alan Rickman, it's an intense movie to watch, and younger viewers may find it overwhelming and upsetting. Expect explosions and their aftermath (some burned bodies/body parts are shown), as well as scenes showing terrorists preparing for an attack and military men threatening and shooting enemies. There's also occasional strong language, including "f--k."

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byopenminded_dad May 4, 2016


I don't want to spoil the film for anyone thinking of going to see it, but you should know that the bulk of the film is not at all violent. There's a... Continue reading
Adult Written byrandolphm April 9, 2016

Thought Provoking

This is a great movie for parents and educators who want to take the time to discuss the film after the theater lights come up. The different role each individu... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written byMovie_Expert1 October 10, 2016

Fantastic movie, watch with your kid and start a discussion

If your child is in at least 5th grade and can start a discussion with you easily, then see it with them. The film is intense and thought provoking. Language... Continue reading
Teen, 14 years old Written byRenCat23 September 4, 2016

Intense but very good

I thought the film was very thought provoking and interesting. It was mildly violent at times but overall amazing.

What's the story?

A British general (Alan Rickman, in his final role) and colonel (Helen Mirren) are on the hunt for an Englishwoman who's joined a militant terrorist group in Kenya. Using on-the-ground operatives and drones, they're able to track her and her accomplices to a house in Nairobi. The Americans want her and her cohorts captured, too; they're also on the U.S.A.'s hit list. As both countries work feverishly behind the scenes to coordinate a drone attack, the American pilot (Aaron Paul) and co-pilot tasked with controlling the weapons spot a young Kenyan girl (Aisha Takow) selling bread in the kill zone. Should they shoot?

Is it any good?

Taut, tense, and tightly paced, EYE IN THE SKY is a disciplined and illuminating examination of what military officials and news organizations often refer to as "collateral damage." But instead of miring the film in overwrought plots and death-defying CGI-riddled stunts, the filmmakers take a concept -- drone warfare in terrorist strongholds -- and bring it to the human level by filtering it through the eyes of the military and high-level government officials who must tussle with international relations and local politics to arrive at decisions that result in taking human lives.

Equally important are the experiences of the soldiers who actually pull the trigger and the civilians caught between insurgents and those trying to stop them. Rickman, who died before the film was released, reminds us why he'll be so missed, while Mirren and Paul, as the British colonel and the American pilot tasked with controlling the drone, go toe-to-toe in what's essentially a master class in finely tuned acting.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about Eye in the Sky's violence. How does it compare to what you've seen in other movies about war? What's the impact of media violence on kids?

  • What does the movie have to say about the use of drones in war? Is it for or against them? What complicates the issue? How does the film address the human cost of war?

  • How does the film depict the high-level decisions being made about drone strikes? What did you learn that you didn't know before? How do politics and public relations influence decisions like the ones made here?

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love thrills

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