Six Minutes to Midnight
Intense thriller set days before WWII has some violence.
Six Minutes to Midnight
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A Lot or a Little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Six Minutes to Midnight is a gripping British thriller about the buildup to World War II, and it includes gun violence, fighting, and occasional discriminatory language. The sense of WWII on the horizon adds a profound yet foreboding element throughout. Thomas Miller (Eddie Izzard), a new teacher at an all-girls boarding school -- whose headmistress is played by Judi Dench -- strives to uncover the truth about a Nazi plot happening at the school. The movie is very much on the side of Miller -- who is portrayed as courageous -- and there is a clear distinction between right and wrong, as Nazi collaboration is taken to be the dangerous endeavor it was. But the merits of Nazism are discussed, though mainly to display the naivety of those who saw it as just a means of feeling proud of where you come from, perhaps misunderstanding the dangers that lay within. The violence is frequent: There are gunshots and murders, and physical fights between characters. But it never becomes too graphic in its depiction. The language is mild, though Jewish people, and Germans, are described and discussed in discriminatory ways. Set in 1939, the film depicts a bygone era. The girls at the boarding school are taught how to walk "properly," and a number of the characters smoke. There is a suicide reference: A character distastefully claims that a man wouldn't be brave enough to kill himself.
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What's the Story?
SIX MINUTES TO MIDNIGHT is set in the weeks leading up to World War II, at a girl's boarding school in an English seaside town where high-ranking Nazi officers have sent their daughters. Thomas Miller (Eddie Izzard) is the new teacher in town, hired by headmistress Miss Rocholl (Judi Dench), though when the man he replaced is found washed up on the beach, he soon learns that all is not as it seems.
Is It Any Good?
This engrossing thriller marks the screenwriting debut for English comedian Izzard, though fans of her work should be ready for a movie that is very low on laughs, and deliberately so. Izzard plays the lead role herself, and she's undoubtedly the best thing about the production, bringing such a wonderful warmth and intensity to a film that thrives in the latter. Given the suspenseful nature of the narrative, this is one of those features that keeps you compelled throughout. You're never quite sure who to trust, or what may be around the corner.
The story itself is somewhat left wanting, perhaps needing a more dramatic and significant finale, as it lacks a sense of closure. But it remains a fascinating look into a time in British history that is seldom seen in film -- as World War II is well documented on-screen, but the time leading up to it is so often ignored.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about the violence in Six Minutes to Midnight. Did the violent scenes help tell the story in an effective way? Was it necessary to the story? Does exposure to violent media desensitize kids to violence?
The movie is set in the buildup to World War II. What do you know about this time period? What can history teach us about today? What's the best way to talk to your kids about war?
The film is incredibly suspenseful at times. Did you enjoy feeling this sense of anxiety watching the film? What is the appeal of thriller movies?
Writer and lead star Eddie Izzard changed her pronouns to "she" and "her." Discuss the idea of gender fluidity in modern society. Why is it important that people can have this freedom of choice?
- In theaters: March 26, 2021
- On DVD or streaming: March 26, 2021
- Cast: Eddie Izzard, Judi Dench, James D'Arcy
- Director: Andy Goddard
- Studio: IFC Films
- Genre: Thriller
- Topics: History
- Run time: 99 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG-13
- MPAA explanation: some violence
- Last updated: January 27, 2023
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