Parents' Guide to

Roots (2016)

By Kari Croop, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 14+

Reimagined slave epic is violent but stirs worthy questions.

Movie NR 2016 383 minutes
Roots (2016) Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 14+

Based on 4 parent reviews

age 15+

The One True Bum One True Review

Its very grafic
age 15+

Extremely violent, graphic mini-series is way too much for kids.

I saw the original "Roots" mini-series long ago and thought this new version would be an entertaining and educational choice for my mature kids, ages 11 and 13. We didn't even get through the first installment without my younger son bursting into tears. The violence here is up-close, human, bloody, and downright disturbing. The main character vomits on himself and painful childbirth is briefly depicted (though without visible nudity). There is a circumcision ceremony (which we needed to pause the video for to explain), and characters storm a ship with hand-to-hand combat, ending in heads of some characters being placed on spikes. A man's arm is cruelly amputated without anesthesia in a scene during which I needed to cover MY eyes! And all this happened within the first installment! Perhaps the violence is reduced in the later installments, but we couldn't make it through this one to find out. I wish the producers had found a way to tell this compelling story in a less-violent manner that would have been more appropriate for kids.

This title has:

Too much violence

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (4):
Kids say (5):

If you still haven't seen the groundbreaking TV miniseries that inspired this four-part History Channel reboot, add it to your watch list yesterday. That said, we can tell you that this deeply moving remake is equally excellent. The story is just as powerful, the acting is equally affecting, and the message it imparts is still important -- in some ways, even more so -- nearly 40 years later.

A word of caution: Though it's rated TV-14, the level of violence here is truly graphic, and even adults will have trouble getting through some of the series' toughest moments. But Roots' realistic depictions of what enslaved Africans endured over several generations is essential to understanding the black experience, and older teens who watch will gain critical insight into America's complicated racial history.

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