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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Somewhat grim circumstances, but the movie highlights the way that humans manage to survive under the most difficult circumstances. Challenges people to listen to their instincts, to question following instructions and commands blindly, and to pay attention to their dreams. Also promotes the idea of taking care of the resources that we have -- and to not take them for granted.
Positive Role Models
Jack is curious and questions the motives of mission control. He's willing to think beyond authoritative directives and do what's best for humanity, even though it's against his orders. He's willing to save someone even after he discovers that she's not who he thought she was. Victoria is dedicated to her work, but she's unwilling to second guess any of her instructions, and she allows jealousy to cloud her instincts. Julia is patient and courageous. Beech is self sacrificing.
Violence & Scariness
The drones kill -- instantly incinerating anyone or anything they're programmed to terminate. Several characters die or are injured (including some major characters), but it's not a bloodbath like War of the Worlds. Explosions, hand-to-hand fights, and lots of danger/peril.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Jack is "assigned" to Victoria both romantically and professionally. They shower together, sleep together, kiss several times, and, in one scene, Victoria seduces Jack by undressing (she's shown nude from the back), jumping into a pool and suggestively inviting him to join her. They're shown kissing passionately (he with his shirt off, she naked, with back and legs visible) underwater. Later, another couple kisses; it's implied that they make love, but nothing is shown.
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For most of the movie, language isn't very frequent (though what is heard includes "s--t," "damn," "hell," "goddamn," "oh my God," and "bitch"), but at the very end, there's one memorable use of "f--k."
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Products & Purchases
Despite the future setting, there are references to the New York Yankees and bands/songs such as Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, and Procol Harum's "Whiter Shade of Pale."
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Jack and Victoria drink with dinner. A character smokes a cigar.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Oblivion is a post-apocalyptic sci-fi thriller that deals with the survival of humanity and a mysterious, violent alien threat. There are drones that kill instantly and turn their victims into ashes; several people die, including a few major characters. The language is pretty tame except for an occasional "s--t" and "damn" -- and one particularly memorable "f--k you." Sexuality includes a few passionate kisses and one seduction scene in which a woman is shown naked from the back. Oblivion is likely to appeal most to families with older teens who are either Tom Cruise fans or partial to futuristic action flicks. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
Director Joseph Kosinski does a better job with OBLIVION than he did with his debut film, Tron: Legacy, but it's clear he's a filmmaker whose strength is stylized, visually arresting storytelling. The cinematography is terrific, with sweeping landscapes of post-apocalyptic New York, and the action sequences are pulse-pounding thanks to Cruise's mastery of the genre. Cruise manages to have decent chemistry with not one but two women -- the prim rules-follower played by Riseborough and the enigmatic woman of Jack's dreams, Kurylenko. It takes an extraordinary leading man to pull that kind of emotional connection off, and Cruise is up to the task.
One of the best moments in Oblivion is when viewers first hear co-star Morgan Freeman's powerful voice before the lights turn on and his face is revealed. Few actors can exude Freeman's gravitas with such few words. Game of Thrones fans will also be pleased to see Nikolaj Coster-Waldau make an appearance. But in the end, this is a Cruise film all the way. How entertaining you consider the movie depends greatly on how good of an action star you consider him, because the third act does border on the overlong and unsatisfying. Still, despite its subpar story resolution, Oblivion is good enough to remember.
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.