School Ties Movie Poster Image

School Ties

Stirring movie may be too heavy for some tweens.
  • Rated: PG-13
  • Genre: Drama
  • Release Year: 2001
  • Running Time: 101 minutes

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Characters express anti-Semitism and cheat on a test, but the behavior is portrayed negatively and contributes to the movie's central themes.

Violence

David engages in fistfights, most notably in the opening back-alley brawl.

Sex

Scattered adolescent boy stuff: The prep schoolers talk about someone's sister performing a sexual act, go looking for sexual adventures at a dance, and show their naked backsides in the shower.

Language

Moderate, including "Bastard" and "Jesus."

Consumerism
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that anti-Semitism is expressed by both adults and youngsters -- most older children will understand that the movie aims to communicate how wrong this behavior is, but parents may still want to discuss the topic further after the movie is over.

Kids say

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What's the story?

Set in the 1950s, SCHOOL TIES centers on high school quarterback David Greene (Brendan Fraser), who gets the opportunity to move up from his working class life when he gets a scholarship to an upper-crust prep school. There's just one catch: The school administrators ask David to hide the fact that he's Jewish. David makes a name for himself on the football field, and he makes friends, but everything changes when envious classmate Charlie (Matt Damon) uncovers David's secret.

Is it any good?

QUALITY

School Ties is a stirring movie with an important message about tolerance and fitting in. Bigotry is exposed as a manifestation of ignorance and cowardice. Brendan Fraser leads a superb cast that includes Matt Damon, Chris O'Donnell, and Ben Affleck. If there is a weakness here, it's in the recycling of story elements. The movie feels similar to other prep school dramas (such as Dead Poets Society) in which the worldview of sheltered schoolboys is challenged, but to its credit, it's not a simple good vs. evil story. It tries to balance the anti-racist tag slapped on the prep-school boys with an understanding of the tremendous pressure placed on them (especially in the 1950s) to become carbon copies of their parents.

While it may sympathize, the movie never excuses the boys' racist behavior. One twelve-year-old viewer thought that the "rich kids were just snobs" and that Fraser's character should have been upfront about being Jewish--whether people liked it or not. The youngster picked up on one of the movie's less obvious morals: as abhorrent as anti-Semitism is, hiding who you are because of a desire to fit it isn't wholly admirable either.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the bigotry depicted in this film.

Movie details

Theatrical release date:August 13, 2001
DVD/Streaming release date:August 13, 2001
Cast:Brendan Fraser, Chris O'Donnell, Matt Damon
Director:Robert Mandel
Studio:Paramount Pictures
Genre:Drama
Run time:101 minutes
MPAA rating:PG-13
MPAA explanation:for language

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Adult Written bywonder dove February 1, 2013

Easily watchable.

I thought the film was pretty good, it definitely held my attention. I mainly watched for all of the excellent actors and Matt Damon being one of the main. Brendon Fraser was perfect playing the lead character David, who often gets caught up in street fights mainly due to his religion. He gets a scholarship to an upper class school where he's asked to hide the fact that he's Jewish, which he agrees. Things seem almost perfect with a bunch of new friends and even meeting his love interest until his secret unfolds and all of his "friends" turn on him. I thought it ended a little fast and I hoped for a happier ending. However, it was a good watch and reminded me a little bit of Dead Poets Society (which is 100 times better - check it out!) Violence is mainly a couple scenes of fist fights including a bathroom fight scene. Some arguing. Sexual content is pretty light...brief talk of a sex act, some kissing, boys are half naked in the shower. Language is also mild. Okay for 12 and up!!
What other families should know
Too much violence
Teen, 16 years old Written bymissmissy April 9, 2008
Parent of a 8 and 12 year old Written byTeenagerinthe80s June 11, 2014

Nice movie, good values

What other families should know
Great messages