Movie review by
Jeffrey M. Anderson, Common Sense Media
Greenland Movie Poster Image
Popular with kids
Death, destruction in intense, harrowing disaster flick.
  • PG-13
  • 2021
  • 119 minutes

Parents say

age 10+
Based on 4 reviews

Kids say

age 12+
Based on 13 reviews

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We think this movie stands out for:

A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

Messages/themes focus on perseverance and overcoming impossible odds. The movie is also about forgiveness and admitting mistakes.

Positive Role Models & Representations

John and Allison go above and beyond, doing everything they can to keep each other and Nathan safe, using brains and brawn. Allison is depicted as a little stronger and more complex than many women in these kinds of movies. But an unspoken transgression that John committed is at center; part of his behavior involves sort of groveling to Allison, seeking forgiveness. It makes them less admirable, but also more human. Allison's father is a selfless character, putting others' needs before his own.


Images of mass destruction, with cities and entire landscapes destroyed. Shock waves knock people over. Guns and shooting. One character kills another with a hammer off-screen. Dead bodies with bloody wounds. Exploding plane. Rough handling of a woman. Child kidnapped. Fighting, punching. Car accident. Chaotic plane ride with rough landing. Screaming, general panic.


Suggestion that a man had an extramarital affair.


A few uses of "s--t," "horses--t," "damn," "goddamn," and "hell."


Mention of Bud Light. Characters frequently use iPhones. Some brands briefly seen on shelves during a trip to the store.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

An adult has a glass of wine at home.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Greenland is a disaster movie starring Gerard Butler and Morena Baccarin about a comet that ravages Earth -- and one family trying to race to safety. Violence is the biggest issue, with many images of mass destruction and huge, shocking explosions. Guns are fired, and one character kills another with a hammer (it's seen sticking out of his head). Dead bodies and bloody wounds are shown, a woman is treated roughly, and a child is briefly kidnapped. You can also expect fighting, explosions, screaming, and general panic. The movie hints that a married man may have had an affair and that his wife is still working on whether to forgive him, but nothing is clearly stated. Infrequent language includes a partial, obscured "f--k" and a few uses of "s--t," "goddamn," etc. With blistering suspense and interesting characters who demonstrate impressive perseverance, the movie works far better than most others of its genre.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byMarvelDAD April 10, 2021

really good

if you let your child watch 2012 than they would defintly can watch this
Adult Written byTamara C. February 13, 2021


Greenland was the most "even-handed" disaster movie I've seen. My entire family loved it! Very realistic, very moving. I would caution against sm... Continue reading
Teen, 14 years old Written byLiam McLennan April 26, 2021

Better than most disaster movies

Sexual content: A man confesses to have committed adultery. The matter is solved peacefully.
Violent content: Little gore is visible throughout the film. Those... Continue reading
Teen, 16 years old Written bySlendernonono1 April 20, 2021


Violence 6/10: brief suicide acts, mild blood
Sex 1/0: few second talk about getting into another woman’s bed
Threat and horror 4/10: sudden scenes disturbing e... Continue reading

What's the story?

In GREENLAND, structural engineer John Garrity (Gerard Butler) lives with his estranged wife, Allison (Morena Baccarin), and their son, Nathan (Roger Dale Floyd), who has diabetes. While trying to work out their troubles, the couple throws a party to watch the arrival of a comet. Unfortunately, the comet isn't as harmless as expected, and it starts causing widespread destruction. John gets a phone call telling him that he's been selected to bring his family to a shelter. Alarmingly, none of his neighbors receive the same call. Upon arriving at the airport, the family discovers that Nathan's insulin is missing. When John goes back for it, the family is separated. Allison manages to leave a message for John telling him to meet her at her father's house. Thus begins a harrowing journey across a dangerous landscape, with time running out.

Is it any good?

This uncommonly good, absolutely harrowing disaster movie elevates the stakes with its effective suggestion of international crisis and its personal touches on social status and martial discord. Stuntman-turned-director Ric Roman Waugh, who previously worked with Butler on Angel Has Fallen, casts the leading man in a different light in Greenland. John Garrity has made a mistake, and he's seeking redemption and forgiveness from his wife. He looks at her, full of pain and regret, and knows he must do anything he can to earn her love back. So after the comet hits, when he's asked to go above and beyond, his actions have a deeper meaning.

The clever idea of only certain people being selected for protection carries a great weight as well, creating instant animosity and guilt among the characters -- as well as more conflict, since the heroes' shelter/protection wristbands make them targets. As a thriller, Greenland absolutely delivers the tension and thrills, with huge visual effects and plenty of intense, dangerous spots that forgo the usual cheesiness of disaster movies. But none of it would have worked without the thought that went into the characters and their connections with one another. Extra credit goes to Scott Glenn as Allison's father, who combines gruffness and tenderness in a tremendously moving way.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about Greenland's violence. How did it affect you? Which parts were shocking, and which were thrilling? Why were they different?

  • What's the appeal of disaster movies like this one? Should we worry about a giant comet crashing into Earth?

  • Do you consider Allison a role model? Why or why not? How do she and the other characters demonstrate perseverance?

  • What do you think is going on between John and Allison? What values are imparted?

  • Why does being "selected" or not "selected" in this story raise such feelings of animosity and guilt? Have you ever been "not selected" for something? How did it make you feel? Why?

Movie details

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