Parents' Guide to

Men of Honor

By Nell Minow, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 15+

Stirring true story may be appropriate for some teens.

Movie R 2000 129 minutes
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What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 16+

Based on 1 parent review

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (1 ):
Kids say (5 ):

Everyone tries very hard here, but the story is old-fashioned and predictable -- even down to the marriage proposal that melts the girl's heart and the courtroom climax. Carl Brashear, Jr. was the first black man to achieve the rank of Master Diver in the Navy. He was also the first amputee to be returned to active duty in the armed services. In MEN OF HONOR, produced by Bill Cosby, Brashear gets the kind of respectful, go-for-the-Oscar treatment that reached its zenith in the 1960s. The real problem is that the characters are so one-dimensional, the good guys so good and the bad guys so bad, that it has the feel of an after-school special.

I couldn't help thinking about the recent Spike Lee movie, "Bamboozled." The need to make the fictional Brashear so idealized echoes Lee's concerns about the minstrel show aspect of popular culture, making a real story less real to make it more entertaining. It would show more respect for both Brashear and the audience to let us see a character with more depth and complexity. It is especially disappointing that the story is so simplified that it should be suitable for kids, but it has strong profanity, earning it an R rating. I could not help being very curious, too, about Jo Brashear. A black woman doctor in the early 60s must have a story that is at least as interesting as this one. But we get no sense of what went into her life choices or how she handled her challenges. In real life, the marriage did not survive. But in the movie, she shows up at the crucial moment to provide love and support.

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