Parents' Guide to

Free State of Jones

By S. Jhoanna Robledo, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 16+

Civil War drama is eye-opening, brutal, overlong.

Movie R 2016 139 minutes
Free State of Jones Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

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

Community Reviews

age 15+

Based on 9 parent reviews

age 12+


It is courageous story. A part of the civil war that I wasn't aware of. Mississippi about their marriage laws were a white person with 1 /8th black can not marry a person 100% white. The main story line was very moving a brilliant performance by Mathew McConaughey.
age 14+

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (9):
Kids say (6):

This intense drama sheds light on a little-known but significant part of U.S. history, but while it starts off strong, it loses its way, packing in too many specifics into a meandering 139 minutes. McConaughey is in top form, very much looking and sounding the part, though he's still prone to relying perhaps too much on gesture, which sometimes give his portrayal the feel of caricature. Gugu Mbatha-Raw brings much grace and gravitas to her smaller role at Knight's wife.

The fascinating story of Free State of Jones is mostly served well by the script. But there's a caveat: A flash-forward to the mid-20th century is jarring, even though it's still somewhat related to Knight's fight for independence. This is a drama worth seeing, but you can't help longing that the editor had taken a stronger hand so that story bloat didn't weigh the film down.

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