Movie review by
Jeffrey M. Anderson, Common Sense Media
Paranoia Movie Poster Image
Incredibly dumb corporate espionage thriller.
  • PG-13
  • 2013
  • 115 minutes

Parents say

age 9+
Based on 9 reviews

Kids say

age 11+
Based on 5 reviews

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A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages
The movie is a basic "selling your soul to the devil" story -- i.e. a cautionary tale about taking the easy road to untold riches and glory. The main character suffers and eventually learns his lesson. The movie preaches hard work over backstabbing to get ahead in the world. It also advocates for privacy.
Positive Role Models & Representations
The main character isn't much of a role model. While he accepts a "deal with the devil" and eventually learns his lesson, the things he does while working for the devil are pretty much unforgivable: He says horrible things to his loved ones and betrays them many times. He also isn't very smart and seems to get by mostly on luck and on his looks.
Some tense chases and threats, but little actual violent contact, and no blood. A couple of characters crash into cars while crossing the street, but they get up again. A secondary character is deliberately hit by a car and is later shown wearing a leg brace and with a scratch on his face. The main character trashes his apartment looking for surveillance cameras.
The main character is shown shirtless at every conceivable opportunity. He sleeps with a woman he meets in a bar, though nothing graphic is shown. (The scene goes from dancing and brief kissing to him waking up in her bed.) Later, they fall in love and sleep together again, with kissing and naked shoulders/backs shown. The main character's father is shown ogling his nurse, and there's crude innuendo that he's sleeping with her.
One "f--k," plus a few uses of "s--t," "ass," "damn," and "goddamn."
Apple products (phones, laptops, etc.) are displayed throughout. A Pepsi bottle is on display in one shot.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Characters drink wine, vodka, and other alcohol throughout the movie, in social situations. No one is ever shown excessively drunk. The main character's father smokes cigars, although it's shown that he has a medical condition from smoking and should be quitting.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Paranoia is a corporate espionage thriller. There are no fights or blood, but characters are involved in plenty of tense chases and threats. One character is deliberately run over by a car, but he survives and is shown later with only a leg brace and a scratch on his cheek. The main character is shown shirtless as often as possible and has implied sex with a female character, but there's no actual nudity. As for language, "f--k" is said once, and "s--t" is used a couple of times. Characters are shown drinking socially throughout the movie, though they're rarely drunk. One character smokes a cigar. Some teen girls may want to ogle Hunger Games co-star Liam Hemsworth, but otherwise there's not much worth seeing here.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent of an infant, infant, infant, 10, 10, and 18+-year-old Written byParentofwisdom August 26, 2013

Violent, Some Suggested Sexual Content, and language

Took my 2 10 year old's too see it. they said it was a just fine movie. they said 5/10. same as me. some language that they cant use. a little too violent... Continue reading
Adult Written bym1671 August 17, 2013


exiting and fun movie
Kid, 12 years old October 12, 2014

Some inapropriate things

in the first scene the main character and his friend are not being allowed into a club, and the guy running the club says no virgins allowed, and the main chara... Continue reading
Teen, 14 years old Written bySomeoneYouDon'tKnow November 30, 2013

A slick, stylish, and star-studded techno thriller

Let's start out by saying that I have been hyped to see Paranoia for a good long while. Why? Because I loved the book from which it is based. Yes, I'm... Continue reading

What's the story?

Working in a high-tech company, Adam Cassidy (Liam Hemsworth) and his friends bank their entire futures on a presentation to their boss, Nicolas Wyatt (Gary Oldman) ... and wind up losing their jobs. This is doubly hard for Adam, who's taking care of his sick father (Richard Dreyfuss). After a night partying with the company credit card, Adam is given two choices: go to jail, or go to work for Wyatt's competitor (and former mentor) Jock Goddard (Harrison Ford) as a corporate spy. Adam is charged with stealing some important new technology, and the only way to do that is to snatch the ID of a co-worker, Emma Jennings (Amber Heard). The trouble is that he and Emma have fallen in love. Can Adam stop all the backstabbing and clear his good name?

Is it any good?

The plot of this film isn't just routine but also totally nonsensical and illogical. PARANOIA director Robert Luketic also made the somewhat similar card-counting thriller 21, which also centered on the "selling your soul to the devil" theme. But while 21 had an interesting team dynamic and some fun characters, Paranoia isn't so blessed.
To start, it's difficult to believe Hemsworth as a guy who might work in the technology business; he just doesn't sell the part. And, worse, the character is so poorly written that he comes across as flat-out dumb in scene after scene (such as searching for a hidden camera in his silverware drawer). Clearly Luketic is more interested in showing the actor shirtless. The rest of the great cast (Ford, Oldman, Dreyfuss, and Heard) is somehow completely lifeless, perhaps because they're all asked to play opposite Hemsworth, rather than each other. No amount of "suspension of disbelief" can save this movie.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the "selling your soul to the devil" theme. How classic is this story? What does it really mean? What other ways can it be applied? 
  • How relevant is Paranoia's concept about getting a job and becoming successful? Does hard work pay off? Or are stealing and backstabbing required?
  • Why is drinking such a part of this corporate world?

  • Why does the movie show the main character shirtless so often? What does this say about male body image?

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love thrills

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