Parents' Guide to

Only the Brave

By Michael Ordona, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 13+

Language, firefighting peril in true story of heroism.

Movie PG-13 2017 133 minutes
Only the Brave Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

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

Community Reviews

age 16+

Based on 11 parent reviews

age 18+

Great movie but more sex stuff that in reviews

I thought it was a great movie but when I looked for the parent guide on sex stuff it was underrated and not complete. On top of what is mentioned, one of the characters solicits a sexual picture from his girlfriend then displays his girlfriend in a sexual pose wearing sexy lingerie on screen. There is also a lot of talk about “closing the deal” meaning finding a way to get sex from a particular woman. The characters describe the sexual physique of women with hand gestures. At the bar women are wearing scantily clad outfits. Men describe their sexual encounters. As you will see, A LOT more than described. I would not have watched it if I knew about all this.

This title has:

Too much sex
1 person found this helpful.
age 14+

A Must Watch Movie

This movie is about wildfire firefighters. There are great messages including sacrifice and the value of family. The negative content includes some sexual references and brief male rear nudity. There is also frequent swearing. The wildfire scenes can be very stressful and intense. This movie is really great for older teens, the language is the only thing that really conflicts with the great story. The story might overpower the swearing though.

This title has:

Great messages
Great role models
Too much swearing

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (11):
Kids say (5):

There's a lot to like here: the dialogue, the relationships, the technical expertise; but there's also a lot to not like here: the dialogue, the relationships, the technical expertise. Only the Brave is at its strongest in the easy camaraderie of the elite firefighters, with their goofing around and male bonding. But the film clearly treats its real-life subjects with kid gloves. McDonough has a pretty easy time of it, going from unbelievably stupid crackhead to dedicated family man and reliable wildlands firefighter with surprisingly little on-screen struggle. Luckily, Teller is a skilled actor who more or less sells it. More punches are obviously pulled with team supervisor Marsh (played by the at-home-in-his-own-skin Brolin), whom, we're told, has made enemies with his attitude. On-screen, his greatest sin is that (predictably) he cares too damn much. The relationships built within the crew, particularly between McDonough and initial nemesis Chris "Mac" MacKenzie (a likeable Kitsch), provide some human ballast. But the domestic drama either doesn't fly -- as with Marsh and his wife -- or does, as with McDonough's fumblings toward fatherhood. The dialogue is similarly uneven, reeling from the guys' amusing banter to heavy-handed clichés that can tip toward the laughable: "It's not easy ... sharing your man with the fire" And "I went in with my eyes wide open," bravely asserts one long-suffering wife. "That doesn't mean you can see everything coming," comes another's wise response.

The storytelling also leans toward heavy-handed and clichéd: A lingering look at a character getting into a truck means ... well, you can guess. A character talks about retiring, so the next time out ... well, you can guess. Brave's worst cinematic sin, though, is its failure to convey the logistics of the action. While it can be fascinating to watch the characters' technical expertise, their physical feats, and their strategy and skill, the film doesn't bother to fill in knowledge gaps for regular viewers. We're simply intended to accept that every strategic call one of the characters makes is right, even though other experts vehemently disagree. This is crucial in the film's climax, when it's difficult to understand why certain decisions are made. That lack of clarity may open cans of worms the filmmakers don't intend, as viewers may wonder why certain horrible events had to occur. Only the Brave serves as a fond tribute to real-life heroes, but as a work of art, it's uneven.

Movie Details

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