A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Explores the relationship between the media and politics. Argues that reporting the truth matters, even if there are unpleasant personal consequences.
Positive Role Models
The main characters all make morally ambiguous choices, and it's hard to tell who's "good" and who's "bad." Protagonists cheat on partners, keep evidence from the police, lie, and are involved in illegal, violent acts. On the other hand, a journalist is willing to report the truth even if it means alienating a close friend.
Violence & Scariness
An ex-military assassin executes a string of people involved in a central intrigue -- some of whom are innocent bystanders.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Discussion of sexual improprieties, including adultery, menage a trois, and a highly publicized political sexual scandal.
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Language includes words like "s--t," "ass," "bitch," "screwing," "dick," "oh my God," and a couple of exclamations of "Christ!" and "f--k."
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Products & Purchases
Featured products include Saab and Cadillac.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Adults drink (in bars, at home, and at work) and smoke cigarettes on several occasions.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this Russell Crowe/Ben Affleck thriller is a mix of violence, political intrigue, and sexual innuendo -- all mature themes that are unlikely to appeal to young viewers. Characters steal, drink, smoke, and lie to the point where it's unclear who's the victim and who's the victimizer. There's some strong language (including a couple exclamations of "f--k"), drinking, and smoking as well. Sexuality is more discussed (including conversations about adultery and three-ways) than shown, except for some flirting between a couple of characters. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
Director Kevin Macdonald draws heavily from testosetrone-driven '70s political dramas like All the President's Men to frame his big-screen adaptation of the award-winning BBC series. Even the idea of a newspaper breaking important news is pretty '70s, since at this point we'd all find out via Twitter or Facebook whether a politician's girlfriend was murdered. Still, Crowe -- all slobbified with oily long hair, an extra 15 pounds of flab, and a cluttered old Saab -- is game for the throwback action. Unfortunately, Affleck is no Redford to Crowe's Hoffman. Sure, he's perfect for the part of a pretty-boy politician who somehow looks 10 years younger than his former college roommate, but he's no acting match for Crowe.
But you can thank the casting gods for the wonderful trifecta of supporting actresses -- Helen Mirren (as the paper's top editor), McAdams, and Robin Wright Penn (as Collins' betrayed wife, who once had an affair with Cal) -- each of whom goes toe to toe with Crowe. Jason Bateman is also brilliant as a flashy public relations hack, and Jeff Daniels is all political smarm as a corrupt senior congressman. Besides Affleck's underwhelming portrayal, there's one too many holes in the twisty plot. But even as an old-school thriller that falls short, STATE OF PLAY is still better than many of its peers.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.