Parents' Guide to


By Michael Ordona, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 16+

Lots of violence, some language in Western road movie.

Movie R 2017 133 minutes
Hostiles Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

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

Community Reviews

age 17+

Based on 16 parent reviews

age 15+

Not as bad as made out to be

Yes. There are women who get assaulted, however none of this is shown and unless your child is sick they shouldn't make the connection until they are older. There are many scenes of medium violence, not much swearing either. Violence and swearing are appropriate to context; e.g. If your family was all killed by a person and you were bent on revenge, would you not want to get revenge? Same tone here. Most of the violence and themes are meant to show that it isn't black and white, there are no good guys or bad guys, and the cavalry aren't always the heroes. There is little to no sex or implied assault, little to no drinking or smoking, moderate violence and very good lessons about resilience, redemption, and the horrors of racism. Very eye opening it deserving of its 15+ rating.

This title has:

Great messages
Great role models
age 17+

Gritty and violent, but solid look at the brutality of the West.

This movie is solid but not for those who want to leave a film feeling good about humanity. This is about the brutality of all parties during a difficult time in our nation's history.

This title has:

Too much violence
Too much swearing

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (16):
Kids say (6):

This otherwise typically macho, violent Western offers strong performances and occasionally good dialogue; its most interesting aspect is how it depicts PTSD on the frontier. Because Hostiles was made in 2017, not 1957, you might guess even before the movie starts that the title applies to, essentially, every character in the film. And you'd be right. There's a whole lot of hate to go around, an endless stream of vengeance and frontier derangement that either robs people of their humanity or untethers them from the social conventions that gave them any appearance of civility. This Old West road movie takes characters with dyed-in-the-wool reasons to hate "the other" and, by subjecting them to the same traumatic journey together, peels away their differences. As you'd expect. The violence is at once unnecessary and not enough; there's quite a lot of it -- and quite a variety of it -- but it lacks the emotional impact that would have made it a key component to the film's apparent good intentions. But the acting is strong throughout, with Pike delivering some raw moments, Studi and Adam Beach (as his son) solid, and character actors like Bill Camp, Ben Foster, and Peter Mullan good in small roles and cameos.

The most original thing about Hostiles is its rare depiction of PTSD in the Old West. Tommy Lee Jones' underrated The Homesman handled the topic with sensitivity and power. Here, Bale and his lieutenant (Rory Cochrane) play soldiers who've been at it too long, seen too much, and done too many things they can't really justify. When one confesses he's got "the melancholia," it's dismissed out of hand -- just as the idea that war and a life of violence can cause injuries that can't be seen wasn't widely accepted until fairly recently. As Blocker, Yellow Hawk, and Rosalie share dangers and develop trust, the film's theme of how a traumatic existence can change people -- and yet the good in them might still prevail -- becomes clear. There's nothing revelatory about Hostiles, and it's not exactly a thriller, but the acting and the look at PTSD all but justify the violence and sometimes heavy-handed direction.

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