Left Behind

Movie review by
Jeffrey M. Anderson, Common Sense Media
Left Behind Movie Poster Image
Reboot of faith-based indie hit is confused and awkward.
  • PG-13
  • 2014
  • 110 minutes

Parents say

age 13+
Based on 5 reviews

Kids say

age 11+
Based on 11 reviews

A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

Bad people are punished, viewers spend 110 minutes with them and find out that they're really not so bad, and then we leave them to apparently face some kind of horrible misery. The point is unclear, and kids could be upset by this hopeless message.

Positive Role Models & Representations

For people who were deemed unworthy of the Rapture, most of the characters seem pretty decent. Characters work together to save a planeload of people, they're generally kind and listen to one another, and they seem open to improving and learning. Some of them start off as bad-tempered or damaged, but they all seem to come around.

Violence

When the Rapture occurs, people disappear, causing general panic. A man is shot while leaving a store, and the shooter comes out, pointing the shotgun. Angry people honk and yell at each other from their gridlocked cars, and people run around, pushing and shoving, searching the streets for loved ones. People also start looting. There's a minor plane collision and an intense, forced plane landing, with lots of fire. Viewers hear a story of a woman and children who died in a flood.

Sex

The main character plans to have an extramarital affair (but it doesn't come to fruition). He takes off his wedding ring and is seen flirting. The female characters are dressed in somewhat sexy clothing.

Language
Consumerism

A kid mentions a sale at Game Stop.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

A secondary character is shown to be a drug addict. She hides in the bathroom and removes a little plastic bag filled with white powder from the tip of a lipstick container. Track marks on her arm are shown, and she wears sunglasses to hide her eyes. She speaks about having once had a "bad trip."

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Left Behind is the bigger-budget reboot of 2000's indie hit Left Behind: The Movie about the Rapture, in which all of the world's good people are whisked away to heaven, leaving the rest behind. There's some general chaos, shouting, pushing, shoving, and looting, as well as a plane crash scene. There's no language or sex, but the main character seems about to have an affair, and women are shown in somewhat sexy outfits. A minor character is shown to be a drug addict; she removes a hidden stash, remembers a "bad trip," and has track marks on her arms. For those who don't come to the film already buying into the story, the message is muddled and somewhat hopeless, and the presentation is awkward. Many fans of the series (in addition to the previous movie, there are several best-selling books) will likely flock to it, unless they have an issue with Nicolas Cage in the lead role.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent Written byDan G. October 10, 2014

Violent, Incoherent movie that fumbles faith beliefs

For most Christians, the 'rapture' is a significant misinterpretation of scripture, and this movie promulgates those errors. (The Bible clearly state... Continue reading
Parent of a 14 year old Written byevang1 October 7, 2014

Good Christian Movie

The movie has some sad parts. People might get scared when the plane gets hit, or when the people vanish in the Rapture. No swearing, but there was some shootin... Continue reading
Kid, 12 years old October 13, 2014

Good Movie!

This is a great Christian movie! We loved it. But it can get pretty scary and violent so I would say 12 and up, and for mature 12-year-olds. Great Messages/Role... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written byrebo344 December 6, 2014
Oh, where to start? It's uninteresting, boring, lame and all the Christians will bash this film. Nicolas Cage was average. The only decent actor was Chad M... Continue reading

What's the story?

Chloe Steele (Cassi Thomson) hasn't been home from college in a while because her mom (Lea Thompson) has gotten very religious, and things are awkward. Chloe visits for her dad Ray's birthday, but Ray (Nicolas Cage), an airline pilot, has agreed to fly to London. Chloe finds him at the airport and fears that he's having an affair with a pretty flight attendant (Nicky Whelan). She also meets a star TV reporter, Buck Williams (Chad Michael Murray), who's on her father's flight and who lends her a sympathetic ear. But then millions of people, including all children, suddenly disappear, sending the world into a panic. Chloe tries to find her brother and her mom, while Ray must single-handedly get his aircraft safely on the ground.

Is it any good?

Directed by legendary stuntman Vic Armstrong, LEFT BEHIND is a bigger-budget but subpar reboot of the faith-based indie hit from 2000, itself based on a series of best-selling novels. Everything revolves around the simultaneous fear of -- and desire for -- The Rapture. But the movie's crucial flaw is that the filmmakers want to create sympathetic characters out of those who were deemed sinners and thus not delivered to God. Viewers are supposed to like them but not want to be like them (even though they all fly first class).

Aside from that faulty conceit, the movie, on a pure thriller level, is a massive collection of awkward, poorly written character moments and supposedly spectacular set pieces that are stretched far too thin. The big moment is over in just a few seconds, and the rest is all a bad disaster film. Certainly there are profound, spiritual movies in the world and movies that could enhance your faith, but Left Behind preaches only to the converted.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about Left Behind's violence. How did it affect you? How much is shown, and how much is implied? How skillfully does the movie convey the sense of scale of this event?

  • What's the movie's message? Does it inspire faith or spirituality? Is it a warning?

  • Are the characters sympathetic, even though they were left behind? What are their faults? Can they be forgiven?

Movie details

For kids who love thrills

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