JFK

 
Politician makes case for JFK murder as conspiracy.
  • Review Date: February 24, 2009
  • Rated: R
  • Genre: Drama
  • Release Year: 1991
  • Running Time: 206 minutes

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Some of those in whom we trust (law enforcement, government officials) are shown to be dishonest and self-serving. There are scenes of sordid homosexual behavior without any moderate gay characters to balance that portrayal.

Violence

Footage of President Kennedy's assassination from many angles repeatedly; Lee Harvey Oswald's killing is re-created; woman thrown from car, elderly man being beaten; rough arrests by police officers, dead bodies shown in a variety of poses, quick glimpse of machete used as a weapon; some domestic violence.

Sex

Kissing and playful sexuality between husband and wife; some passionate kissing; suggestively dancing strippers with pasties in club scene, homosexual revelry bordering on deviant in several sequences.

Language

Rough language throughout: continuous use of all forms of "f--k,"" bastard," "hell," "assh---," s--t"; many derogatory terms for homosexual; racial epithets, including the "n" word.

Consumerism
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Social drinking throughout; some scenes of heavy drinking, drunkenness, hints of drug use, particularly as part of homosexual partying. Smoking in many scenes as was more prevalent in 1960s: cigarettes, cigars, pipe.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that in its attempt to convince the audience (and the world) that President Kennedy was not killed by Lee Harvey Oswald acting alone, this film shows disturbing footage of the actual shooting over and over again, sometimes close-up, sometimes in slow-motion, heightening the effects of the bullets. Other scenes show brutal beatings, dead bodies, and a re-creation of the shooting of Lee Harvey Oswald. Language throughout is coarse, filled with sexual expletives and racial and homosexual insults. There are party scenes that show licentious gay behavior. A stripper is briefly seen dancing suggestively while nearly nude.

What's the story?

Two monumental questions remain about the death of President John F. Kennedy: Was his assassination the result of a conspiracy involving more than a single gunman positioned in the Texas Book Depository, and if so, who conspired to kill him? Filmmaker Oliver Stone answers the first question with an emphatic "yes" in favor of the conspiracy. For his answer to the "who," Stone turns to the real-life efforts in the late 1960s of New Orleans District Attorney Jim Garrison (Kevin Costner) and his quest to reveal the villains as well as the theory behind the plot.

The movie is filled with Garrison's dizzying assortment of suspects: from angry anti-Castro activists to organized crime figures, hangers-on, political heavyweights, even a cabal of menacing gay power brokers. And to oppose Garrison's crusade, there are the many in office who wanted to shut down the investigation and let the official government explanation (The Warren Report) prevail.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

Oliver Stone has tackled such enormous issues and larger-then-life subjects before. He's adept at managing a huge cast, complicated plotting, and weighty topics. JFK is no exception. He presents his case in a clear and decisive manner. He has enlisted an impressive group of supporting players (Tommy Lee Jones, Sissy Spacek, Kevin Bacon, Gary Oldman, Joe Peschi among many), as well as some of the world's greatest actors in cameo appearances (Walter Matthau, Donald Sutherland, Jack Lemmon). Is the theory plausible? Was Garrison a hero or a hack? Courageous or reckless? Whatever the audience comes away with, JFK is a well-made work of suspense, intrigue, and drama, all based on trying to solve one of the greatest mysteries of our time.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about an art form, in this case filmmaking, used as a powerful political tool. Was JFK successful at provoking thought about President Kennedy's assassination? What tools could you use to further verify or invalidate the film's point of view? Have you seen other movies that advocate a particular cause, or present a controversial issue? Other works of art (i.e. music, painting, literature)?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:December 20, 1991
DVD release date:April 8, 1997
Cast:Gary Oldman, Kevin Costner, Sissy Spacek
Director:Oliver Stone
Studio:Warner Bros.
Genre:Drama
Run time:206 minutes
MPAA rating:R
MPAA explanation:for Language

This review of JFK was written by

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Quality

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Learning ratings

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  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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What parents and kids say

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Parent Written byagent man June 4, 2011
age 18+
 

great movie not for kids

What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much swearing
Teen, 17 years old Written byLil Booth February 18, 2011
age 16+
 

GREAT adult movie

Well to start off, the language is horrible, with almost non-stop use of f--k, a lot of sexual references, but the movie really makes you think about Kennedy, and his assasination.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Teen, 13 years old Written bySpielberg00 June 6, 2011
age 18+
 

Overly long (especially since I watched the director's cut). Too many F bombs (my guess is about 70 in the director's cut; I don't know about the original cut). Otherwise, great movie. I'm surprised I was allowed to see it--not for kids under 16.

My rating: R for a brief violent assassination footage shown throughout, frequent language/drinking/smoking, and for a scene of nudity.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking

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