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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Single parents are shown as loving, concerned, and trustworthy.
Positive Role Models
Wracked by grief after the recent death of a loved one, a leading character abuses alcohol on a nightly basis.
Violence & Scariness
Harrowing accidents are shown in great detail. A plane crashes into a crowded freeway, with bodies, fires, and injuries everywhere; a train speeds out-of-control through New York's Subway system, inflicting destruction, death, and injury. Children are often in grave danger -- from accidents, scary strangers lurking, fire, abduction, and many major events over which they have no control. One little girl is shown bloodied and on the brink of madness in an early scene. Burning animals flee from a fire (one is shown in a disturbing close up).
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Cursing includes "dammit," "hell," "s--t ," and "oh my God."
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Products & Purchases
A scene set in a convenience store shows Pepsi and other products. One Sabrett's hot dog stand is prominently seen on an NYC sidewalk.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
An otherwise principled character frequently drinks to excess when depressed.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this grim sci-fi thriller is about global catastrophe and disaster, which could be very upsetting for kids. There are scary presences, spooky music, dead parents, and children in danger throughout the movie, and it really stretches the PG-13 rating in terms of depicting horrifying disasters (a monumental plane crash injures and kills scores of people, an out-of-control subway train smashes into a crowded station, etc.). Animals are seen burning as they flee from a massive fire. A main character also drinks to excess on a number of occasions, and there's some language ("s--t," "damn," etc.). To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
KNOWING wants to be a lot of things, but logical isn't one of them. From early in the movie when John lectures his M.I.T. students about randomism vs. determinism (unsubtly setting the stage for what's to come and also sounding like he's talking to a seventh grade class) to the final moments when Earth's very survival is at stake, style and action take precedence over coherence.
The characters never behave in a rational way, instead serving only to move the story from one harrowing event to another. In its desire to cover such major issues as humankind's frailty in the face of nature, religion, parenting, and even a glimmer of hope for the future, the film loses its way amid showy special effects, thinly drawn characters, and lack of plausibility. Dark City, an early Alex Proyas movie, was far more successful at giving life to the science-fiction genre.
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.
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Our Editors Recommend
Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.See how we rate