A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Fractured is a 2019 thriller in which a man believes that a hospital has kidnapped his wife and daughter. There are some violent moments throughout, including scenes in which a woman is shown falling over and getting impaled through the head with a piece of rebar, and a young girl falling to her death in a construction site. Some gory imagery, including cadavers in hospitals with their organs removed. A brief shot of a dead wolf. Reckless driving. Fighting, with guns, kicks, punches. "F--k" and variations used a few times, as well as "s--t" and "ass." Lead character shown pouring mini bottles of alcohol into his coffee while at a gas station.
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What's the story?
In FRACTURED, during a Thanksgiving road trip, Ray (Sam Worthington) is driving while arguing with his wife Joanne (Lily Rabe) and trying to keep his daughter Peri entertained. They pull off at a gas station, and while Joanne is in the rest room and Ray is trying to clean up the coffee and alcohol he just spilled all over the back seat, Peri wanders off to a construction site next door. A wolf emerges and stands between Peri and the car. As Ray tries to rescue Peri, Peri falls backwards and breaks her arm. At the hospital, Ray and Joanne must contend with long wait times and intrusive bureaucratic questioning. They finally see Dr. Berthram (Stephen Tobolowsky), who insists that Peri immediately gets an MRI. While Joanne accompanies Peri, Ray passes out from exhaustion in the waiting room. When he wakes up, he discovers that the hospital has no record of Peri checking in, and no record of Peri and Joanne even being in the hospital. Desperate to find his wife and daughter, and suspicious of what's really going on in this hospital, Ray must find a way to rescue Joanne and Peri.
Is it any good?
This decent thriller does an excellent job of playing on the sympathies of the audience. As the lead character Ray, Sam Worthington comes off as a relatable enough Middle-Aged Everyman trying to protect his family in the face of what appears to be a cold hospital bureaucracy. As the story moves deeper into the mystery, and as Ray grows increasingly desperate in his search for his missing wife and child, it's only natural to root for him as he fights back, even if Ray's perception of reality isn't exactly what's happening.
Which leads to the problem with Fractured. Ray's perception of reality is so much more interesting than the actual story, that, as much as one might root for Ray and his family, you find yourself rooting instead for a surreal external dark parody of American health care as opposed to a resolution that ultimately feels contrived and disappointing. While the ending is unsettling and somewhat disturbing, it's also an ending that seems so obvious, it's easy to feel like a sucker for ever thinking it would be any other way. In spite of this, Fractured is an eerily entertaining journey, even if the final destination isn't a dark-mirrored Twilight Zone.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the violence in Fractured. How was it used to move the story, and how was it used to scare the audience?
How does the movie explore deeper themes such as mental health, hospital bureaucracy, alcoholism?
What are some other examples of movies where the lead character's perception of the events taking place might not be completely accurate? How does this unreliable point of view heighten the suspense in thrillers?
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