Source Code

  • Review Date: March 9, 2011
  • Rated: PG-13
  • Genre: Thriller
  • Release Year: 2011
  • Running Time: 93 minutes

Common Sense Media says

Taut thriller delivers explosive images, sci-fi twists.
  • Review Date: March 9, 2011
  • Rated: PG-13
  • Genre: Thriller
  • Release Year: 2011
  • Running Time: 93 minutes





What parents need to know

Positive messages

There's an emphasis on kindness in the movie, as well as on the idea that life should be lived rather than observed.

Positive role models

Colter is an admirable guy -- committed, brave, and intent on doing what's right, no matter what the stakes. Goodwin also ultimately takes a stance that values the dignity of human life.


Lots of fiery explosions as the train blows up over and over, plus brawls and gunfights. Also, the gory sight of a soldier post-injury.


Some innuendo; a sweet kiss.


Swearing includes one use of "f--k," plus “s--t,” “goddamn,” "d--k," "damn," "hell," and "ass."


A few labels/brands are seen, including Victorinox and Dunkin’ Donuts.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this mind-bending sci-fi thriller deals with some pretty heavy stuff -- including death, mourning, and terrorism -- amid the big special effects and go-for-broke action. The main character (played by Jake Gyllenhaal) experiences the explosion of a passenger train over and over as he attempts to find out who's behind the bombing. In addition to the peril and fiery blow-up scenes, there's some swearing (including "s--t" and one "f--k") and scenes that show grave injuries.

Parents say

Kids say

What's the story?

Captain Colter Stevens (Jake Gyllenhaal) wakes up with a start on a train barreling toward Chicago, sitting across from a beautiful stranger (Michelle Monaghan) who thinks he’s her friend. Turns out he’s no longer a soldier in Afghanistan; somehow, he’s been transported inside the body of a teacher named Sean who’s stuck on a train that's about to explode, killing everyone. Eight minutes later, Colter is back in his own body -- which is in a space capsule of sorts run aground in an unspecified location -- and taking orders via computer camera from a fellow soldier, Colleen Goodwin (Vera Farmiga). She reveals that Colter is part of a highly classified military project known as Source Code. He will be thrown back on the train time and again until he finds the bomb and the person who planted it -- and stops another, bigger catastrophe from destroying the city.

Is it any good?


When a movie is branded and marketed as an action thriller, it had better be transportive. That’s exactly what SOURCE CODE is. Disorienting at first, but in a way that's compelling, the movie changes things up just when you start getting comfortable with what you think the storyline is. Director Duncan Jones keeps things quick and breezy, but he sometimes seems to be ambivalent about how to paint a scene (is it funny? is it brawny?). Nevertheless, this is one movie that will definitely keep eyes glued to the screen.

As appealing as the film’s intriguing (as well as vexing and, it has to be said, sometimes nonsensical) premise is, the human interest story at its heart -- the meditation on mortality -- is even more gripping. Farmiga makes true any role she’s given, and Monaghan and Gyllenhaal make sparks when they share the frame. Though Gyllenhaal isn’t completely believable as a soldier unspooling from the inside as the world around him unravels -- his edges need to be rougher, his desperation more intense -- he grounds his portrayal in pathos and compassion.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the film's violence. Do the explosions and peril featured in this movie have as much impact on you as other kinds of violence?

  • Which of the movie's characters do you consider to be role models? How do they change/what do they learn over the course of the story?

  • How does the film address the ideas of death and what we leave behind? What would you want your legacy to be?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:April 1, 2011
DVD release date:July 26, 2011
Cast:Jake Gyllenhaal, Michelle Monaghan, Vera Farmiga
Director:Duncan Jones
Studio:Summit Entertainment
Run time:93 minutes
MPAA rating:PG-13
MPAA explanation:some violence including disturbing images, and for language

This review of Source Code was written by

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  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Written byAnonymous July 16, 2011

Loved this movie!

This movie was really good. My 9 year old sister watched this movie, and although she was a little confused, the content was fine. The sexual content was just one really sweet kiss, and the language wasn't bad either. Nothing a 9 year old hasn't heard before. There was one F word, but it was more funny than anything. The violence was nothing but a few punches, and a train blowing up, but there was no gore or blood. I think that's it. Oh wait, one more thing... I LOVE JAKE GYLLENHAAL!!! okay that's it. The violence
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much swearing
Kid, 11 years old April 22, 2011

Loved it.

I was a Jake Gyllenhaal fan since I watched Bubbleboy a couple years back, and this move was so....COOL!!!! My dad aaaannnddd my best friend loved it. I thought it was funny when he suddenly screamed," FIRETRUCK(f--k) YOU!!!!". I didn't expect that language in a pg-13 movie, but it was pretty funny to me.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much swearing
Great messages
Great role models
Kid, 11 years old May 1, 2011

Reminds me a little of inception

This was a really good movie. It's one of those how-did-they-come-up-with-that-plot movie. It really makes you think!
What other families should know
Too much violence
Parent of a 11 year old Written bybenito jug March 28, 2011


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