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Parents' Guide to

Man in Red Bandana

By Jeffrey Anderson, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 10+

Imperfect 9/11 documentary tells a truly inspiring story.

Movie PG-13 2017 76 minutes
Man in Red Bandana Poster Image

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Though Matthew J. Weiss' documentary looks and sounds pretty low-budget, is simplistic in structure, and struggles to fill out its 76 minutes, it's blessed with an amazingly powerful, moving story. The tale is told via clips of news footage interspersed with interviews, all accompanied by Gwyneth Paltrow's narration.

You may notice that the sound is uneven (sudden increases in volume are startling) and that the composition of the interviews is largely artless. In truth, Man in Red Bandana isn't a particularly polished movie. Plus, it presents Welles almost as a saint; no one says anything but good things about him. As a person who actually lived, he's still a mystery -- but as a hero, he's most inspiring. Diagrams of his progress within the tower help to underline his feats, and seeing footage of the people he saved, and of his mother and President Obama, makes you realize the impact he actually had. By the movie's end, there will be both tears and applause. (Watch the credits to hear a new song by Lyle Lovett.)

Movie Details

  • In theaters: September 8, 2017
  • On DVD or streaming: September 8, 2017
  • Cast: Gwyneth Paltrow
  • Director: Matthew J. Weiss
  • Studio: Verdi Productions
  • Genre: Documentary
  • Topics: History
  • Character Strengths: Courage
  • Run time: 76 minutes
  • MPAA rating: PG-13
  • MPAA explanation: thematic material involving disaster-related images and descriptions
  • Last updated: June 20, 2023

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