Panic Room



Extreme suspense, graphic violence; not for kids.
Popular with kidsParents recommend
  • Review Date: May 19, 2003
  • Rated: R
  • Genre: Thriller
  • Release Year: 2002
  • Running Time: 112 minutes

What parents need to know


Constant peril and suspense.




Very strong language.

Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Character drinks to excess.

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.

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.

Families can talk 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

Theatrical release date:March 29, 2002
DVD release date:September 17, 2002
Cast:Forest Whitaker, Jodie Foster, Kristen Stewart
Director:David Fincher
Studio:Artisan Entertainment
Run time:112 minutes
MPAA rating:R
MPAA explanation:violence and language

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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What parents and kids say

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Kid, 10 years old January 5, 2010

This movie isn't scary, but not appropriate for 11-

I'm a 10 year old girl, I went to my 11 year old friends house for a sleepover and wanted to watch a horror, her mum gave us Panic Room to watch, at first I was paranoid about the rating (R 18+) but I sat down and watched, best movie ever, next to Twilight of course! It wasn't scary, a little gory, but not scary, I loved it, it had me cracking up!
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much swearing
Great messages
Adult Written byAshnak April 9, 2008

Good Psychological Thriller

This movie was nothing like what I expected. It will keep you on the edge of your seat.
Teen, 13 years old Written byModa October 12, 2010

I loved it :)

I really loved this movie! The number one thing that i liked about it was the fact that it wasn't too scary. Some of my friedns really dont like scary movies and they were fine with this one. But having said that it was very violent! It was actaully really gross, some violence included: two people being shot in the head, someone brutally beaten, a man atacking a women, and a child repeatedly stabing a man with a handfull of needles. Another issue was also the language, the robbers spent most of thier time swearing , mostly the use of the F word .
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much swearing
Great role models


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