Lone Survivor

  • Review Date: December 17, 2013
  • Rated: R
  • Genre: Drama
  • Release Year: 2013
  • Running Time: 127 minutes

Common Sense Media says

Brutal, powerful, ultimately moving true Navy SEAL story.
  • Review Date: December 17, 2013
  • Rated: R
  • Genre: Drama
  • Release Year: 2013
  • Running Time: 127 minutes

Age(i)

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Quality(i)

 

What parents need to know

Positive messages

The movie wrestles with a profound moral quandary and viewers can decide what's right and wrong for themselves. War is depicted as ugly and brutal, but the Navy SEALs also show the considerable courage, strength, and dedication it takes to make the team, which makes them seem highly admirable. While some parents will find the patriotism, sacrifice, and heart the soldiers display incredibly moving, others might be concerned that war and the military appears in too positive a light, and might come off like a recruitment movie.

Positive role models
The characters themselves are strong, brave, and work together, but they're just as flawed as anyone. The movie introduces us to a group of Afghan Pashtun villagers who protect one of the Americans in spite of the danger to themselves. Their laws of hospitality and protection go back generations, and are highly admirable.
Violence
The relentless battle violence is brutally realistic, shocking, and horrific. The battle does not go as it might in a normal war movie. Characters are shot in every conceivable part of their bodies, sprain their ankles, fall from cliffs, lose their fingers, bash their heads, and pass out. The fight is chaotic and desperate, with a great deal of blood and many bloody wounds. A character digs bloody shrapnel out of his wounded leg. Many characters die. A helicopter explodes, killing a number of men inside.
Sex
We hear plenty of sexual innuendo ("pushing peter," etc.) among the men during the movie's first half, before the fighting starts.
Language
Language is very strong and constant, including "f--k," "s--t," "c--k," "balls," "crap," "bitch," "hell," "shut up," "muff," etc.
Consumerism
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Lone Survivor tells the true story of a 2005 Navy SEAL mission in Afghanistan gone terribly wrong. It features brutal, bloody violence, with guns, shooting, gory wounds, and many deaths, including major characters. The men use some sexual innuendo, as well as very strong language, including "f--k," "s--t," and "c--k." The movie is very intense, yet also very moving. It shows training footage and photos of real SEALs, including the real participants in this story. It also goes into a little detail about the Afghani tribe that rescued the last survivor, despite the danger they faced in doing so. Some parents won't mind bringing teens to this movie to demonstrate the bravery, heroism, and teamwork of the SEALs, but other parents may be worried that teens will want to head to the recruiting office afterward.

Parents say

Kids say

What's the story?

In 2005, a team of four Navy SEALs is sent on a mission called "Operation Red Wings." Their task is to take out a high-ranking Taliban leader, who is hiding somewhere in an Afghanistan mountain range. The SEALs -- Lieutenant Michael P. Murphy (Taylor Kitsch), Marcus Luttrell (Mark Wahlberg), Matthew Axelson (Ben Foster), and Danny Dietz (Emile Hirsch) -- locate him, and settle in to wait for nightfall. Unfortunately, three goatherders accidentally discover them; Murphy decides to let them go and to abort the mission. Unfortunately, before they can reach safety, the alerted Taliban begin a brutal chase and shootout. A lone man escapes, but is discovered by some Afghan Pashtun villagers. Wounded and exhausted, his fate is now in their hands.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 
Nothing in writer/director Peter Berg's career would indicate that he had this kind of intense, moving, and brutal movie in him, not even The Kingdom, another story inspired by the wars in the Middle East. LONE SURVIVOR starts off with some Navy SEAL training footage and ends with photos of the real participants, but in-between, the movie is purely visceral, generating adrenaline, alarm, and even tears.
 
Berg manages to avoid high-minded seriousness while still respecting the material. The actors build genuine chemistry and warmth with their discussions of personal lives and things back home; viewers can understand who they are. Berg avoids too much camera-shaking in his depictions of the bloody battle, emphasizing pain, shock, and scrambling. A tumble from a high rock, for example, is absolutely vicious. He builds adrenaline without tipping too far into either excitement or horror. And the ending is genuinely touching, and genuinely earned. You can't look away.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the movie's intense, brutal, bloody violence. What effect did it have? Did it seem realistic? Was it necessary in telling this story?
  • How does this movie make the Navy SEALs look? Do they come across as warriors or regular people? Does it make you want to join them? Do you think that's the intention of the movie?
  • Would you say that this movie is an anti-war movie or a pro-war movie, or somewhere in-between? Why?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:December 27, 2013
DVD release date:June 3, 2014
Cast:Ben Foster, Mark Wahlberg, Taylor Kitsch
Director:Peter Berg
Studio:Universal Pictures
Genre:Drama
Run time:127 minutes
MPAA rating:R
MPAA explanation:strong bloody war violence and pervasive language

This review of Lone Survivor was written by

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  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Quality

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What parents and kids say

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Parent of a 12 and 14 year old Written byAuctionmom January 12, 2014
AGE
14
QUALITY
 

Great movie for teenagers- but not all

We took our 12 and 14 year old sons to see this movie last night. I agree that the movie is gory and intense. There are some curse words which are appropriate, given the situation. From my teenager's perspective, he remarked that the director did not "hollywoodize" the content. It felt real from beginning to end. Training is not easy. War is not pretty. Good people die. In the face of a compromised mission, these seals had to grapple with ethical issues, such as whether to kill unarmed civilians and not leaving a man behind. In the face of all the violence, there are Afganis willing to risk their lives to help the Americans. The photo montage of the real folks who were lost in the mission is quite moving. I think this is a somber movie that is appropriate for teenagers, namely boys, about the realities of war. What brought me to tears was watching my 14 year old independently introduce himself to a Army vet in the parking lot as we were leaving the movie and thanking the gentlemen for his service.
Parent of a 14 and 16 year old Written byBret Friend January 17, 2014
AGE
14
QUALITY
 

Great movie!

I should start this review by saying that without hesitation I took both my 16 yr old son as well as my 14 yr old daughter. I had read the book, and knew there would be lots of shooting and blood. With that said, I feel that everything was handled appropriately and, honestly, was probably less horrific than what was portrayed in the book. The real positive I believe is the movie's ability to give a real perspective on the costs of keeping America free. My kids really took note of the pictures of the brave young men at the end of the movie. Although I think you have to know your kids and should discuss the emotions this film draws but all in all I highly recommend it for young people.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much swearing
Teen, 13 years old Written byJacob andrew matich December 31, 2013
AGE
10
QUALITY
 

Jacob matich

There is violence in lone survivor and some language
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much swearing

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