A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Predestination is a mind-bending time-travel movie that's more about ideas than action. There are a few somewhat intense, violent moments, including an explosion, a burned face, shootings, a killing, fighting, and some blood. A sex scene includes thrusting and a naked female breast; there are fairly mature sexual themes throughout the movie. Language includes more than one use of "f--k," "s--t," "son of a bitch," and "goddamn," with other words scattered throughout. Characters are seen rolling cigarettes and smoking, but only in a background way. A large part of the story takes place in a bar, and characters are shown drinking (whisky), but not to excess. Hardcore sci-fi fans will be excited to see it, though it's probably not for all tastes; casual viewers may find it confusing.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
A mad villain known as the "Fizzle Bomber" is on the loose. A time-traveling Temporal Agent gets close to stopping him but is injured in the explosion. With some restorative surgery and a new face, he travels back to the 1970s, where he begins his search anew. Working undercover as a bartender, the agent (Ethan Hawke) meets a young man and hears an astounding story: The young man was born as a female (Sarah Snook) and was once trained to be a special agent for the Space Corps but was suddenly forced to leave. She met a man, became pregnant, and then both the man and the baby disappeared. Back in the bar, the bartender offers the young man a chance to gain his revenge. But how does it all connect to the Fizzle Bomber?
Is it any good?
This is a mind-bending time-travel story that uses its sci-fi gimmick less for comedy or action than to explore concepts of identity. Twin filmmakers Michael and Peter Spierig, born in Germany and based in Australia, have made lightly entertaining zombie and vampire films (Undead and Daybreakers), but PREDESTINATION is something else. It will have many viewers pondering and asking existential questions for some time, though discussing things further would risk giving away the movie's secrets.
Borrowing the 1959 story "All You Zombies" by Robert A. Heinlein (also the author of Starship Troopers), the Spierig brothers fleshed out the original idea to make it more cinematic and visual -- remarkably without dumbing it down. Their direction offers plenty of atmosphere and thoughtful exchanges while still keeping cards up sleeves. The only other thing that can be said is how brilliant newcomer Snook is in her complex role, with veteran Hawke equaling her.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about Predestination's violence. How necessary is it to the story? Does it seem excessive or gratuitous?
Are the sex scenes and references to sex necessary to the story? Why or why not?
What does the movie have to say about the concept of identity? Why do we do the things we do? Can we change our destiny? In what ways? Is anything in life really inevitable?
How does the movie view male and female gender?
- In theaters: January 9, 2015
- On DVD or streaming: February 10, 2015
- Cast: Sarah Snook, Ethan Hawke, Noah Taylor
- Directors: Michael Spierig, Peter Spierig
- Studio: Vertical Entertainment
- Genre: Science Fiction
- Run time: 97 minutes
- MPAA rating: R
- MPAA explanation: violence, some sexuality, nudity and language
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.