A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
The Watergate story always offers a fascinating look at right vs. wrong. Certain characters seem to be legally correct, but doing wrong, while other characters break the rules to do what they think is right. Should you follow authority when it's wrong? Break the rules to do the right thing?
Positive Role Models
Mark Felt is presented as an extremely honorable man -- a rule-follower and team player who's loyal to his co-workers and to the FBI -- and as a loving husband. When he begins breaking rules, it's because his conscience tells him it's the right thing to do.
Violence & Scariness
Discussion of a man who died. Discussions of violent acts by a radical group.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Spouses are affectionate with each other -- dancing, hugging, kissing, etc.
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A couple uses of "f--k" (heard during a war protest), plus "bulls--t," "goddamn," "balls."
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Characters smoke cigarettes regularly. Social drinking.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Mark Felt: The Man Who Brought Down the White House is a drama about real-life former associate director of the FBI Mark Felt, who, after missing out on promotions and coming under pressure from an unfriendly new director, decides to leak information about the Watergate break-in to the press. Expect strong language, including a couple uses of "f--k" (said during an anti-war chant), plus "bulls--t" and other words. A married couple is affectionate; they dance, snuggle, and kiss. Characters smoke cigarettes frequently; there's also some social drinking. Violence isn't an issue, but there are discussions about the death of the former FBI director. It's a fascinating story, but it's unfortunately undone by lackluster filmmaking that focuses more on explaining than storytelling. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
Though Neeson is commanding in his role, and though Felt's story is a powerful one, this political drama eventually fails to rise above an overly explanatory, visually static storytelling style. Writer/director Peter Landesman previously made two other movies based on real-life political situations, Parkland and Concussion, and both were similarly shortchanged, more dedicated to explaining their messages than telling stories or conveying emotions.
The Watergate story has been told so well several times already, from All the President's Men (1976), Nixon (1995), and Frost/Nixon (2008), to the comedy Dick (1999), and it certainly could have been done again. But Mark Felt: The Man Who Brought Down the White House can't seem to avoid endless scenes of men in rooms talking in tense tones -- or, worse, poor Lane's Audrey Felt doing nothing but getting aggravated with her husband. As the movie plods toward its history-changing conclusion, Landesman seems less and less certain of where to put the camera or how to lift up the story and get it moving.
Did we miss something on diversity?
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