A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that although Knight and Day is a globetrotting action thriller, it has strong comic/romantic undertones and a cheerful, playful tone that makes the violence seem almost inconsequential. And despite the body count, there's very little blood or gore. Expect plenty of flirting between stars Cameron Diaz and Tom Cruise and a little kissing, with some brief talk about sex. There's also some drinking (including one scene in which Diaz's character gets drunk on tequila), and various "spy" drugs are introduced throughout the movie. Neither of the main characters are depicted as strongly positive role models for teens, but that's not what the movie is about, either -- ultimately, it's meant to be a fun adventure for adults and older kids.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
June Havens (Cameron Diaz) leads a normal life, loves restoring classic cars, and looks forward to going to her sister's wedding. Then, at the airport, she bumps into the dashing Roy Miller (Tom Cruise) and winds up on a strange, near-empty flight with him. It turns out that he's a secret agent, and she's been mistaken for one, too. Now Roy must take June through a myriad of complex chases and escapes, each involving a powerful new battery and the young scientist (Paul Dano) who invented it. The unlikely duo must also stay two steps ahead of FBI man Fitzgerald (Peter Sarsgaard), and June must eventually decide who are the good guys and who are the bad guys. Will she ever reach safety again? And, more importantly, after meeting Roy, will she ever want to?
Is it any good?
Director James Mangold found his footing with his last movie -- 2007's brisk, well-told Western 3:10 to Yuma -- and he repeats the feat here with this romantic spy tale. He gives the material a cheerful, playful quality and focuses on the story's humor and romance, with the action and violence tucked into the background. The movie's high body count ultimately doesn't really hit very hard; there's a distinct lack of blood or gore, and very few consequences to the action (which makes for a fun movie, if a somewhat iffy takeaway for younger audiences).
By focusing specifically on June's point of view and deliberately missing some of the big action moments as she hides out or sleeps, Mangold and writer Patrick O'Neill give the movie an interesting perspective -- it's a choice that celebrates imagination over spectacle. And Cruise and Diaz both seem refreshed here -- both are at their charming best.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the movie's violence. What impact does it have? How does it compare to violence in movies with a more serious tone?
Is June a strong female role model? At what point does she begin to take action on her own?
What role does trust play in the story? How does trust affect June and Roy's relationship?
- In theaters: June 25, 2010
- On DVD or streaming: November 30, 2010
- Cast: Cameron Diaz, Peter Sarsgaard, Tom Cruise
- Director: James Mangold
- Studio: Twentieth Century Fox
- Genre: Action/Adventure
- Run time: 110 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG-13
- MPAA explanation: sequences of action violence throughout, and brief strong language