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Parents' Guide to

Hatfields & McCoys

By Joyce Slaton, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 16+

Tense, violent epic finds human side of legendary conflict.

Movie NR 2012 290 minutes
Hatfields & McCoys Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

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

Community Reviews

age 13+

Based on 1 parent review

age 13+

Is It Any Good?

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Civil War buffs in particular will be panting over all the old timeyness of Hatfields & McCoys. Horses! Really long guns! Fireworks that are produced by putting gunpowder on a tree stump and then hitting it with an axe! The filmmakers don't make a fetish of the times; this is not Colonial Williamsburg, televised. But it does give a particular shine to the proceedings, as does the knowledge that what the viewer is watching really happened. Though the show calls to mind The Sopranos, the true-life factor makes all the ugliness more palatable.

There is also a lot of cinematic candy to make the brutality and dirt sweeter, most particularly the setting in rolling Kentucky hills and the easy-on-the-eyes actors playing Roseanna McCoy and Johnse Hatfield. You could imagine them appearing in the Civil War version of Tiger Beat. As the family patriarchs, Paxton and Costner give emotional weight to the drama; they just seem like guys that a bunch of goofy family members would want to listen to. And as Sally McCoy, Randall McCoy's wife, Mare Winningham is so appealing that the very end of the story is unbearably poignant, effectively hammering home the "it wasn't worth it" message of the series. Meaty, realistic, and affecting, Hatfields & McCoys grabs the viewer on a level no history textbook could match.

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