A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Depicts war as hollow and unnecessary.
Positive Role Models
Characters are desperate and despondent because of a war they fail to understand.
Characters come from different racial-ethnic backgrounds, but most are White. Female characters are only presented in relation to men as mothers, girlfriends, wives etc.
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Violence & Scariness
Frequent scenes of violence include shooting (at targets and people, though no one is shot), hazing rituals, fights, explosions, grueling training exercises, and explicit images of burned corpses.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Repeated sexual allusions and language; during a couple of sex scenes, characters are shown naked -- however, it's on a TV screen and far away, so nothing is explicit. The characters show each other suggestive photos of their girlfriends.
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Extreme language includes almost incessant uses of the word "f--k," "s--t," "ass," plus slang for genitals ("p--sy") and abusive slang.
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Cigarette smoking, drinking, pot smoking.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Jarhead is an anti-war film based on Marine Anthony Swofford's 2003 memoir that chronicles his time in the military during the Gulf War in the early 1990s. It includes frequent scenes of non-graphic violence, including shooting (at targets and people, though no one is shot), hazing rituals, fights, explosions, and explicit images of burned corpses. Characters swear relentlessly (especially "f--k"), drink, and smoke cigarettes and pot. The troops also engage in frank sex talk (including slang for genitals and masturbation) and gestures; there's a brief glimpse of the main character's parents in a hotel bed, and scenes from a homemade pornographic movie. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
This adaptation of a memoir is a smart and beautifully shot -- if bleak -- war movie with very little conventional "war" in it. Jarhead focuses on the ways that authorities rationalize war "scenarios" and train troops to carry out orders that are, on their face, irrational and costly. The movie depicts the Gulf War as an endless series of traumas that will continue to afflict Swofford and his fellows long after they're home. The problem with war, according to Jarhead, is precisely that it's endless.
In the horrific "Highway of Death" scene, Swofford is shown sitting near the dead men, so that each appears in foreground and background, as if they are conversing. The effect is more harrowing than any battle sequence, underlining Jarhead's anguished point: War is not heroic or rousing. It is only devastating.
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.