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Parents' Guide to


By Brian Costello, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 14+

Some violence and language in compelling true story.

Movie NR 2021 118 minutes
Oslo Poster Image

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This is a fascinating look at a unique moment in history, showing how empathy and face-to-face discussion between even the bitterest of rivals can reveal shared humanity. Oslo, based on the play of the same name, looks at what led to the historic Oslo Accords, how they achieved what they achieved, and the tremendous challenges faced by all participants. Based on the play of the same name, this true story has obvious relevance to today, where actual in-person talking and the desire to see what unites rather than divides us is so often replaced by the toxic ranting of talk radio, infotainment, and social media. The movie doesn't sugarcoat the decades-long hatred and disagreements between the Israelis and Palestinians, but it does show what progress can be made when two sides truly want to change and move on from what isn't working in the hopes of trying to create peace, however fragile.

There are moments of humor throughout that counterbalance the anger and frustration all sides feel to varying degrees throughout the movie. The sense that all of this could end at any moment, by saying or doing the wrong thing during the negotiations or while eating and drinking together afterward, or by saying or making the wrong demand in the peace process, adds a level of suspense that keeps this story of international diplomacy from becoming too dry and academic. For students of history, and for those kids (and adults) interested in the Middle East and trying to gain a better understanding of the region, Oslo sheds light on historic back-channel negotiations that accomplished so much, even as later events showed that there's still so much work to be done. Beyond the politics, Oslo shows that it's possible for even the most bitter of rivals to find ways towards getting past ugly pre- and misconceptions about "the other" if we're willing to make the effort.

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