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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Although the movie makes it clear that Joseph Wilson is trying to do the right thing by telling the truth about the war in Iraq, instead of accomplishing something positive, he and his family lose their peace of mind and their well being. The United States government (circa 2002-2003) is portrayed as a formidable villain, and the characters are tempted to give up, but they keep fighting. Their victory is small compared to the price they've paid, but they at least meet the challenge.
Positive Role Models
Both Joseph Wilson and Valerie Plame could be considered positive role models in their own ways. Wilson is shocked to hear that the government has lied to the American people and tries to help spread the truth, even at the cost of his wife's job and their family's well being. Plame is personally involved with one of her projects, trying to save the lives of a family in Iraq before the war starts. She's tempted to give up the fight, and her marriage suffers great tension, but both she and Wilson persevere against all odds.
Violence & Scariness
Several tense arguments and shouting matches, and characters receive death threats. The entire story takes place on the verge of war, which adds an underlying tension to the film. Subsequently, viewers see a few attacks and explosions in the Middle East involving secondary characters.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
A married couple kisses, and it's implied that they have sex.
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Language is fairly infrequent overall; "f--k" is used a couple of times, and "s--t" is heard a few times. Other words include "a--hole," "p---y," "a--hole," "damn," "hell," "oh my God," "crap," and "goddamn."
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Adults drink a bit too much (mostly beer and wine) at dinner parties. One character smokes cigars.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this engaging, suspenseful political drama -- which is based on the true story of former covert CIA operative Valerie Plame, whose identity was compromised in the press, and her husband, former Ambassador Joseph Wilson -- portrays the U.S. government as a formidable villain that tries to suppress the truth. Expect some strong language (including "f--k" and "s--t"), lots of yelling and verbal fighting, and some war footage. Characters also drink and smoke cigars. It likely won't appeal to most kids, but politically-aware teens may appreciate the movie's eye-opening look at recent U.S. history. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
Director Doug Liman takes a story about secret meetings, phone calls, and article-writing and makes it dynamic and suspenseful.This kind of political thriller can be tricky to make; the tendency is either to throw in too much politics or too many thrills (see Green Zone for an example). But Liman finds a nice balance with FAIR GAME, sticking fairly close to the real-life facts, even if he does employ a few tried-and-true Hollywood tricks for easy shortcuts.
Best of all, Liman adds a welcome, moving human level to recent history. It's heartbreaking to see Watts, as Plame, helplessly watching TV pundits casting judgment on her, and the strain on Plame and Wilson's marriage is palpable. The pair were more or less branded as traitors for a time, but here we see them as two good people who tried to do their best in the wrong place at the wrong time. The characters are angry, yes, but the movie itself keeps a cool head.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.