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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
A man takes on a political giant and manages neither to applaud nor completely vilify him -- but rather to show him in all his complexity. At first, he appears fairly cavalier but soon enough finds a sense of purpose.
Violence & Scariness
The movie's central dynamic is a verbal, not physical, joust. But some archival footage used in the film depicts men, women, and children being killed and maimed in Vietnam. Some yelling/screaming.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Mild ogling of one female character. A man wakes up next to a woman who appears to be naked, though no sensitive body parts are seen. A man asks another if he has "fornicated."
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"Hell," "damn," "bitch," and, toward the end, a number of "f--k"s.
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Some smoking and drinking in social situations.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that although kids may not be clamoring to see this talky, fairly intense political thriller, it serves as an informative introduction for teens (and adults) who want to know more about Watergate and how it brought down a sitting president. That said, the movie isn't 100 percent representative of real-life events, so more background/research may be needed. The main content of concern is a fair bit of swearing (mostly in the second half) and some heated back and forth between characters. There's also some archival footage from Vietnam, some social drinking and smoking, and a little bit of ogling/innuendo. 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 Ron Howard (working off a script penned by The Queen's Peter Morgan) keeps a steady hand at the tiller, balancing wonky political material with finely tuned dramatic pacing and framing. FROST/NIXON sets up the talks as if they were a boxing match, with Frost as the charismatic but overwhelmed fighter in one corner, and Nixon morphing from cautious and confident to cornered in the other. It's a power face-off, and Frost seems poised for victory. But is it a victory when your opponent allows you to punch him right on the nose? Or is it his victory for choosing to lose? As depicted, the interview humanizes Nixon, and the nation finally gets a denouement -- thanks to him. And Nixon, in the end, gets his "way back into the sun," if only briefly. It's no neat conclusion, but the film smartly embraces the ambiguity, which makes it appealing ... and frustrating. Despite two hours of hearing the two men talk, we know neither of them (nor their motivations) convincingly.
Langella deserves the kudos that critics began heaping on him when he first took on the role in the stage play on which the film is based. His Nixon isn't an exact facsimile but rather a weathered, haunting, hulking impression. As Frost, Sheen is on the nose, as is Kevin Bacon as Nixon's earnest protector, Jack Brennan. But Rebecca Hall is mere window dressing as Frost's girlfriend, there to amuse the president ever so briefly (she's charming, but the distraction diminishes the film's impact slightly). And while the embellishments in the storytelling may have political history aficionados crying foul, they make for fine drama.
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.