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Parents' Guide to

Official Secrets

By Jeffrey M. Anderson, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 15+

True whistleblower story is flawed but effective; swearing.

Movie R 2019 112 minutes
Official Secrets Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

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

Community Reviews

age 14+

Based on 2 parent reviews

age 15+
age 12+
The movie is absolutely appropriate for young people wanting to believe in humanity, honesty, perseverance and doing the right thing. The over-riding message of this movie exponentially outweighs any cuss-words that may have been included, portraying characters' passion in the real world. The movie and history show us that Bush Republicans have Nancy Pelosi to thank for not showing the courage that Katherine Gun showed by not impeaching Cheney and Bush for war crimes. Sadly, even now she's lacking courage to impeach our current Republican president for his crimes. Sorry, kids. We're not very good adult examples, but we have this movie that might help a little.

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say: (2 ):
Kids say: Not yet rated

Wordy, disjointed, and not exactly dynamic or visual, this fact-based political drama nonetheless gets by on sheer righteous anger, painful relevance, and a few stand-up-and-cheer moments. Official Secrets gets a large portion of its strength from Knightley, whose Katharine is seen early on during her free time shouting at Tony Blair on TV. She must sell a character who's beholden to her better instincts, and suffers to the point that she would put herself and her husband in danger to set things right; Knightley does this admirably.

Directed by Gavin Hood (who doesn't quite reach the highs of his Eye in the Sky), the movie does spend long chunks away from Katharine. But fortunately, it sometimes turns into a crackling newspaper movie, with Matthew Goode, Rhys Ifans, and Matt Smith filling out the requisite colorful journalist roles. While the film struggles to make memos and meetings and editing decisions into cinema -- and struggles equally with half-baked, ill-placed attempts at suspense -- Official Secrets regularly rediscovers threads of tension and keeps things moving, and Fiennes' late-entry performance helps carry the story ably toward the finale.

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