A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that if they're looking for the usual bright-faced, charming Sandra Bullock, this dark thriller will be disappointing and potentially confusing. As a new widow reliving the week of her husband's death out of sequence, it's unclear whether Bullock's character is insane, in a drug-induced hallucination, or living in a parallel universe. Several disturbing scenes include seeing a car that has just been crushed, a bloody electrocuted bird, a severed head tumbling out of a casket, a woman being committed to a psychiatric hospital, and a child's wounded face after an accident. The film never reaches a "horror" level of graphic images, but it's certainly too creepy for tweens.
What's the story?
Sandra Bullock plays Linda Hanson, a newly widowed stay-at-home mom who wakes up the morning after her husband, Jim's (Julian McMahon), fatal car accident to relive the day before his death. The next day, she awakens to find he's dead again. Her jumps continue with each new day for Linda, as she finds herself going back and forth between the days before and after his death, until she pieces together awful truth surrounding Jim's death.
Is it any good?
Even an avid Sandra Bullock fan would have to admit that, while it's slightly original, PREMONITION also exemplifies what's awful about the time-bending thriller subgenre. The problem, of course, is that she's either insane (or, as a priest suggests, a witch with some sort of "shining") or, perhaps, imagining everything in a Lithium-induced dream. Who can be sure? And a halfway through the movie, who even cares any more?
The point is that Linda uses the days on which Jim is alive to show him that she loves him -- even though they weren't really passionate about each other and she eventually discovers that he crashed on his way to cheat on her. Ultimately, she may or may not have a living husband, but she sure-as-Hollywood gets a treacly end to her Groundhog Day spent in emotional hell.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about thrillers with plot twists. What's the appeal of having a big "surprise" at the end of the movie? Are those surprises always satisfying? Why or why not? What do you think really happened at the end of this particular movie? Families can also talk about life and death and second chances. When given the chance to relive otherwise mundane moments with her husband again, how does Linda act differently? What would you do differently if you had a second chance with someone who's gone?
- In theaters: March 15, 2007
- On DVD or streaming: July 17, 2007
- Cast: Julian McMahon, Nia Long, Sandra Bullock
- Director: Mennan Yapo
- Studio: Sony Pictures
- Genre: Thriller
- Run time: 110 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG-13
- MPAA explanation: some violent content, disturbing images, thematic material and brief language.
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