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Parents' Guide to

News of the World

By Jeffrey Anderson, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 13+

Stirring, lyrical Western has peril, some harsh violence.

Movie PG-13 2020 118 minutes
News of the World Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 12+

Based on 9 parent reviews

age 13+

A crowd pleasing film. Great to watch with your family.

It’s Tom Hanks first western. It’s bound to have certain charms. It has those, and the production value is fantastic, but it personally let me down a little bit, but kids will have a lot of fun. Violence: Western violence. Some people are shot, with a puff of blood. There are fistfights. Not very graphic. There’s menace, and obstacles our characters have to get past. Nothing super violent here, some graphic images as well. (Such as partially skinned cows littering the background.) Language: D**n is used consistently. Probably about 5 times with God before it. It’s not super common, but something to remember. Sex and consumption are very mild. There is a minor sexual reference, dodging any graphic talk, but due to the circumstances it’s used more as a taunt. Some minor alcohol consumption and some cigarettes may have been smoked. Extra: Role models and messages are here. Messages are particularly positive, and our main character evolves quite a bit from the start.

This title has:

Great messages
Great role models
Too much violence
Too much swearing
1 person found this helpful.
age 12+

A new different look at the old west.

A freshly different route traveling through Western country, focusing on two strangers to meet by chance, and how they get to know and trust each other as they go through various experiences. Captivating and mysterious but realistic, too.

This title has:

Great messages
Great role models

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (9 ):
Kids say (9 ):

Director Paul Greengrass slows down his usual frenetic handheld camerawork for this stirring, lyrical Western, which captures a deeply divided nation, as well as the humanity that keeps it going. At its essence, News of the World is an old-fashioned Western drama, including a deeply humanistic performance by one of our great current movie stars. Hanks' work here stems from pain as well as kindness. And Zengel is amazing as Johanna, wild and cunning; she suggests both Mattie Ross from True Grit and Grogu from The Mandalorian. These two characters are the movie's center, and, as they travel along the road, others move in and out of the periphery.

The most striking and terrifying person they encounter is Farley (Thomas Francis Murphy), a would-be authoritarian leader who offers grim parallels to modern times. He asks Kidd to read from his self-published newspaper, which has stories about made-up versions of his exploits. (Kidd reads the real news instead and gets into trouble for it.) Greengrass, who also directed Hanks in the powerful Captain Phillips, lets the story of News of the World unfold as it should, with Kidd and Johanna forming a bond, but expertly views it through a grittier lens. This old West isn't romanticized. The landscape is sometimes harsh and sometimes helpful, but it always feels honest.

Movie Details

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