By Jeffrey Anderson,
Common Sense Media Reviewer
Common Sense Media Reviewers
Forgettable thriller about psychics and serial killers.
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Poses the question of whether people have the right to end lives to prevent suffering but doesn't explore the issue very deeply. Also raises questions about grief over lost loved ones and the options of shutting down or continuing to live your life.
Positive Role Models
An FBI agent is a strong female character, and a psychic chooses to come out of his shell and do the right thing, but neither character is very deeply or sharply drawn; viewers will need to fill in the blanks.
Violence & Scariness
Dead bodies, bloody wounds. Bloody faces. Ice-pick stabbing. Gruesome crime scene, bloody montage. Gory crime photos. Guns and shooting. Characters are shot through the head and hit with blunt objects; blood spurts. Car chases/crashes. Wrist-slicing.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Naked woman in bathtub; her bare bottom shown, as are parts of her breasts. Brief sex scene includes thrusting. Another brief sex scene in a car. Mentions of sexually transmitted diseases (HIV).
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Multiple uses of "f--k," "s--t," "a--hole," "hell," "goddamn," and "shut up," plus "Jesus Christ" and "God" (as exclamations).
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Smoking. Social drinking by adults.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Solace is a thriller with supernatural elements; Anthony Hopkins and Colin Farrell co-star. Expect brief but gory sequences (including crime scenes), flashes (visions) of blood and gore, dead bodies, car chases/crashes, guns and shooting, stabbing and slicing, and more. Sex (between both opposite-sex and same-sex pairs) is also shown briefly but pretty graphically, with heavy thrusting and partial nudity: A woman's bottom is shown, as are parts of her breasts. A sexually transmitted disease (HIV) is mentioned. Language includes many uses of "f--k," "s--t," and "a--hole," and there's some drinking and smoking, mostly in a social context. The movie covers deals with some interesting ideas/concepts, but they're blandly executed.
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What's the Story?
In SOLACE, while faced with an unsolvable series of murders, FBI Special Agent Joe Merriwether (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) and his partner, Katherine Cowles (Abbie Cornish), decide to call upon Joe's old friend/former colleague, Dr. John Clancy (Anthony Hopkins), who has psychic powers. Clancy is reluctant to go back to work after his daughter's death, but he nonetheless is immediately able to detect certain clues unseen by the FBI. They lead him to the potential killer, Charles Ambrose (Colin Farrell), a man with even more powerful psychic abilities, who may be doing what he's doing for what he considers the right reasons. Will the good guys be able to stop Ambrose -- and, more importantly, should they?
Is It Any Good?
Though it has a decent premise and a great cast, this supernatural thriller can't seem to overcome its crushingly mediocre screenwriting and filmmaking techniques. It's highly forgettable. It seems to want to raise questions about the quality of life; if one were able to predict a long period of pointless suffering in a human life, would it be humane to end that life before the suffering began? But the discussion never probes very deep, partly because the question isn't very realistic.
Hopkins seems content performing his character with his familiar, mesmerizing monotone, which, even though he's still great, will no doubt remind many viewers of Hannibal Lecter. The other actors, while trying their best, seem only to function as pawns of the plot, rather than as characters whose decisions drive the plot. The dumb action/chase scenes that eventually occur are only the final proof of Solace's vague, dissatisfying lethargy.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about Solace's violence. Even though the strongest violence is only briefly shown, what affect does it have? Do different types of media violence have different impact?
The sex scenes are graphic but brief -- does that affect their impact? Do they seem to represent loving, consensual sex? Parents, talk to your teens about your own values regarding sex and relationships.
How does the movie view serial killer Charles Ambrose? Is it wrong to take a life in order to prevent suffering?
John Clancy is suffering from a tragic personal loss and doesn't want to go back to living his life. Have you ever felt that way? What choice did you make? What was the result?
- In theaters: December 16, 2016
- On DVD or streaming: March 14, 2017
- Cast: Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Abbie Cornish, Anthony Hopkins
- Director: Afonso Poyart
- Studios: Lionsgate Premiere, Grindstone Entertainment
- Genre: Thriller
- Run time: 101 minutes
- MPAA rating: R
- MPAA explanation: violence and bloody images throughout, sexuality, nudity and language
- Last updated: February 18, 2023
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