A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
The movie is fairly downbeat, but it does have a clear theme: "Life is what happens when you're busy making other plans."
Positive Role Models
Though the characters are largely victims, they represent an interesting mix of cultures and sexes. Only two characters are American and male; the rest of the diverse ensemble includes two European women, a Japanese man, and a black Englishman who requires a wheelchair while on Earth but gets to float free in space. All are treated as smart individuals, and none are tokens.
Violence & Scariness
Many characters are killed. A character drowns in fluid. Floating globs of blood. A broken, smashed hand. A lab rat is completely mangled and destroyed in a grotesque way. Flame thrower. Monster attacks. Monster eating blood, devouring bodies. Tense, scary moments.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Violence & Scariness in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Sex, Romance & Nudity
A man watches a video feed of his child being born (not graphic). A joke about "do they know who the father is?"
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Sex, Romance & Nudity in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Several uses of "f--k," plus "motherf----r" and "s--t," as well as "Jesus" and "Jesus Christ" (as exclamations).
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Language in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Life is a sci-fi/horror movie about a killer alien creature loose on board a satellite. There's lots of violence and tense, scary stuff. Many characters are killed; one is torn apart from the inside, with globs of floating blood, and another drowns in fluid. A lab rat is also destroyed in a gruesome way, and a man's hand is smashed and broken. Language is strong, with several uses of "f--k," "motherf----r," "'s--t," and "Jesus Christ" (as an exclamation). One character watches a video feed of his child being born, though nothing graphic is shown (someone makes a joke about "who's the father?"). Overall, it's too intense for younger or more sensitive teens, but slightly older viewers may enjoy the well-crafted tension. Jake Gyllenhaal and Ryan Reynolds headline a cast that's diverse overall, with smart, realistic characters. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
This sci-fi creature feature doesn't really do anything we haven't seen before, but its execution -- including smooth camerawork and tense editing and music -- makes it reasonably gripping. In Life, director Daniel Espinosa glides his camera along the corridors of the satellite as if it, too, were weightless, and the crisp editing and the intense score provide plenty of nervous suspense. It's not as dark and shadowy as the similar Alien, but the lights are used to interesting effect.
The characters are also interesting. Not only do they represent a diverse cross-section of cultures and sexes, but they're treated like smart people. No one wanders off alone to check something out, and no one splits up. Generally, the movie avoids the kinds of cliches the genre routinely falls back on. Plus, no one is an invincible hero stepping up to save the day. Even the creature is given credit for being clever -- a worthy adversary. Overall, Life is pretty basic, and it's a familiar story, but any story can feel fresh again when it's told well.
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.