Movie review by
Renee Schonfeld, Common Sense Media
Joshua Movie Poster Image
Sinister sibling-rivalry drama is majorly creepy.
  • R
  • 2007
  • 107 minutes

Parents say

age 11+
Based on 1 review

Kids say

age 14+
Based on 3 reviews

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A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

Evil triumphs over good. Intelligent, loving parents are no match for a child with a deadly agenda and without a conscience. Superior brain power and artistic genius are equated with stop-at-nothing wickedness. A Christian fundamentalist is portrayed as well-meaning but narrow-minded and cluelessly ineffectual.


Much of the actual destructive behavior is implied and takes place off camera. A dead woman is shown with pooling blood around her. Animals die under suspicious circumstances. The lead female character is graphically seen stepping on broken glass. Child is beaten by father.


One scene of affectionate sexual foreplay between husband and wife. No nudity. A new mother is shown using a breast-pump.


Plenty of swearing: "F--k," "bulls--t," etc.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Casual drinking: wine at dinner, a champagne toast. In one scene, a lead character drinks when upset.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this is a very scary movie about evil triumphing over good. The most vulnerable creatures -- animals, a newborn baby, loving parents and grandparents -- are stalked, threatened, and destroyed by a little boy who uses his extraordinary intelligence to wreak havoc on the world around him. There are upsetting deaths and some blood, though much of the actual destructive violence is implied and takes place off screen. Some drinking and swearing (including "f--k").

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written bymoviepro411 April 9, 2008

Similar to "the good son"

This movie has a similar plot to "the good son," which is an insanely creepy movie. Both are good with popcorn and a majorly comfy chair. Very scary... Continue reading
Kid, 12 years old January 22, 2012

Not as scary as you think this movie will be.

The only reason this movie is scary is the child is a lot odf diturbing behaivor. I would rated this on for 11 and up if it wern't thanks to the language.... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written byMiistukk19 December 31, 2008


Not scary... almost not disturbing... BORING! Just a stupid kid who makes you wanna slap his face to wise him up!, an irresponsible mother and a silly dad that... Continue reading

What's the story?

In this suspenseful psychological thriller, rich Manhattanites Brad and Abby Cairn (Sam Rockwell and Vera Farmiga) bring newborn Lily home to meet 9-year-old Joshua (Jacob Kogan), their handsome, talented son. But the family's happiness is short-lived. As an only child at the center of his family's attention, Joshua was able to soar, his manipulative, destructive nature kept in check. But Lily's arrival changes everything, drawing out Joshua's devious, ruthless nature. He's savvy to his parents' weaknesses: His mother has suffered from post-partum depression before, his father's under pressure at work, and so on. Combining his brilliant mind with an utter lack of conscience, Joshua methodically moves to regain the status quo. The tension builds, and the stakes get higher and higher as Joshua exploits his family's fragility and vulnerability.

Is it any good?

Crafted with skill, intelligence, and a keen awareness of what makes an audience shiver and squirm, JOSHUA is a tight, suspenseful psychological thriller. In Joshua, director George Ratliff has created a parent's worst nightmare -- an evil character as memorable as The Omen's Damien or even Hannibal Lecter.

There's not much overt violence, but the audience is always aware of the danger. Still, though, the filmmakers are able to keep viewers guessing. Isn't it possible that each ominous incident could be explained by either coincidence or innocent misunderstanding? Aside from a very few missteps (for example, the appearance of an odd, illogical videotape), Joshua succeeds on every level. Music, lighting, creative direction, and masterful editing all serve the characters and the plot.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the impact of implied violence in scary movies like this one. Are movies scarier when they show violent acts taking place on screen or when those acts are left to your imagination? Why? What statement is the film making about the nature of evil? Is Joshua purely bad, or is there any way he could be redeemed? How is his state of mind revealed by the music he plays? What role does music play in this movie and in other scary movies?

Movie details

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