A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Argues that there's more to life than simply right and wrong, or black and white -- there are sometimes human factors to consider in between. (In other words, people shouldn't be so quickly judged.) Sometimes the heart needs to be used instead of the head. Addresses racism and cultural discrimination in an encouraging way.
Positive Role Models
Hercule Poirot, like Sherlock Holmes, is fascinating and very cool. He's extremely bright, and he grasps everything. But at the same time, he seems like a sad man, suffering from untold losses. He spends most of his time alone, and he seems locked into a very rigid way of thinking. His intelligence and skill are inspiring, but he's probably not someone to emulate in the long run. Most of the other characters aren't on screen long enough to be well-developed, but all have flaws and questionable motivations. Some diversity within the cast.
Violence & Scariness
Guns are shown; fired once. A corpse shown with a blood-covered shirt. Minor bleeding wound. Stabbing. Knife sticking out of a character's back. Flashbacks to a child kidnapping; verbal descriptions of awful deaths. Brief fighting, punching, kicking. Brief chasing, falling. A man crashes into an obstacle and falls.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
A man is with a prostitute; she's referred to by that term. Mild innuendo, flirting.
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"Damn," "hell," "goddamn."
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Characters drink socially on the train. One character's hands shake; the character seems to "need" a drink more than the others. Smoking. A character takes lots of Barbital (a barbiturate) and seems to be an addict. (Later she's shown dumping the bottles down the drain.) Reference to being "slipped a Mickey."
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Murder on the Orient Express is based on Agatha Christie's classic novel. Kenneth Branagh both directs and stars as iconic detective Hercule Poirot; the rest of the star-studded cast includes Judi Dench, Johnny Depp, Daisy Ridley, Josh Gad, Michelle Pfeiffer, Penelope Cruz, Willem Dafoe, and more. It's a murder mystery, so you can expect violence: Guns are shown (and fired once), and there's a little blood (mostly dried, on a corpse), plus a minor stabbing and some fighting and chasing. There's a verbal description of a terrible crime, the kidnapping and death of a child. Language is very minor -- nothing stronger than "damn." A prostitute is shown and referred to in one scene, and there's a bit of flirting and innuendo. Characters drink alcohol socially on the train, and one of them appears to "need" a drink more than the others (his hands shake). Another character takes a barbiturate called Barbital and seems to be addicted. Characters smoke. The film is smart, colorful, and entertaining in a classical way, which means it may feel a little old-fashioned to some. Christie's book was previously adapted into a film in the 1970s. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
Branagh calls on his finest classical directing skills to make this smart, old-fashioned murder mystery into an enjoyable, great-looking entertainment, with an ensemble cast to die for. Based on the novel by Agatha Christie, Branagh's colorful, fluid Murder on the Orient Express is a worthy companion to the book's previous big-screen adaptation, Sidney Lumet's 1974 version. Best of all, Branagh directs himself in the role of the famous detective Poirot, and it's as natural a fit as his outings as Henry V and Hamlet were. Branagh finds a fascinating emotional center to the character, a certain kind of pain that drives him, rather than just being really smart. (Plus he has an amazing mustache.)
The movie takes place in a single location, but Branagh's camera moves gracefully through the narrow corridors; he never constricts or tightens for suspense purposes. He goes outside, or above, or wide, to bring all the characters together on a human level. (He also uses mirrors and windows to fascinating effect.) This isn't a traditional murder mystery, in that it's not particularly suspenseful or thrilling. Rather, it's content and mature enough to explore the reasons behind it all, to find the soul of the thing. This is a movie aimed at viewers who have a little bit of patience and who don't mind a little bit of the way things used to be.
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.