Panic Room

Movie review by
Nell Minow, Common Sense Media
Panic Room Movie Poster Image
Popular with kidsParents recommend
Extreme suspense, graphic violence; not for kids.
  • R
  • 2002
  • 112 minutes

Parents say

age 15+
Based on 11 reviews

Kids say

age 13+
Based on 32 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.


Constant peril and suspense.




Very strong language.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Character drinks to excess.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this movie has extreme suspense and some graphic violence. A child is in peril. Characters use strong language.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written bythe.misanthropist April 18, 2015

Phenomenal performances from Jodie Foster and Forrest Whitaker

Panic Room is a nail-bitting, edge-of-your-seat psychological thriller. Here's the thing: If your child(ren) who is/are under 14 years old wants to watch t... Continue reading
Adult Written bySpencer H. March 19, 2021

Excellent thriller but way too much strong language

The R rating was definitely deserved for the language alone. Some of the violence is intense but not terrible. However there is constant use of strong language... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written byEmzygirl May 17, 2016

Panic room - fine for mature 12 year olds

I think panic room, in the adult reviews, is made out to be SUPER SCARY. Let me tell you - in my opinion, it's really not. And i am a WIMP. Yes, there is s... Continue reading
Teen, 14 years old Written bylimes and goldfish June 25, 2020

Panic Room

Not quite deserving of a 16+. A heavy amount of profanity is used, mostly by the thieves, but a responsible 13 year old should recognize that these words should... Continue reading

What's the story?

This thriller, in the claustrophobic mode of Rear Window, finds Meg (Jodie Foster), a recent divorcee, and her combative daughter Sarah (Kristen Stewart), trapped in the secret vault/bomb shelter/safe room set up by their apartment's previous owner, a paranoid millionaire with a squabbling family. The least favorite cousin, Junior (Jared Leto), has broken into the apartment with the help of security expert Burnham (Forest Whitaker) and tag-along psycho Raoul (Dwight Yoakam). The bad guys want in to the vault, where the old millionaire hid his millions. The girls just want to get out, but the protected phone line inside the room hasn't been activated yet (they just moved in). Meg's inner mama tiger takes over escalates as the burglars take more and more drastic steps to try and enter the impregnable vault, and Sarah moves from being a tough, sullen teen to a tough, sullen, wily teen.

Is it any good?

PANIC ROOM is not a movie about insight into the human condition or subtle, complex characters; this is just a movie about scaring the heck out of you, and it does that very expertly. On the outside, Forest Whitaker gets to play the good bad guy, while Mr. Leto and Mr. Yoakam act progressively more evil.

For a story which should have been a claustrophobic battle of wits, too often it's simply a battle of violence, although there are some riveting action sequences. And while the family dynamics are underdeveloped, the film does show how divorced parents and their children can remain a family even after separation.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about what the characters do to escalate the level of violence, and how acting from emotions as opposed to reason can aggravate problems, no matter how satisfying it may seem at the time. Divorced families will be especially interested in Sarah's father, who has in no way abandoned his daughter.

Movie details

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