Parents' Guide to

Tesla

By Tara McNamara, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 13+

Experimental film about electricity giant sparks curiosity.

Movie PG-13 2020 102 minutes
Tesla Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 11+

Based on 1 parent review

age 11+

A Disappointing Movie About An Interesting Person

It is a bit of a bore to be completely honest. It is confusing and hard to follow and enjoy. A very quiet Ethan Hawke performance. All in all not great.

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (1 ):
Kids say (1 ):

Writer-director Michael Almereyda's unconventional approach to telling Tesla's life story isn't so much electric as shockingly disappointing. An eccentric take on the revolutionary inventor is perhaps an appropriate tribute. Certainly, as the film points out, Tesla didn't always know how to communicate his ideas compared to his more marketing-savvy competitors. And maybe it's also appropriate that the film ends with Tesla remaining as much of a mystery as he's always been.

That doesn't mean information on the electrical systems designer isn't provided. It is -- so much so, in fact, that it's nearly impossible to retain it all. In an approach that's hard to understand, 19th century Anne Morgan (Eve Hewson) breaks the fourth wall to talk directly to viewers to instruct, analyze, and sometimes opine on Tesla. It's a little like Drunk History, but boring. The longer the movie goes, it begins to feel like they ran out of money, shooting against a green screen canvas or photograph. And -- spoiler alert? -- the penultimate moment, when Tesla reflects on his life's challenges through song, will go down as one of cinema's most "what the heck?" endings. You may not be able to make head or tails of it. But, then again, the same could be said for Nikola Tesla himself.

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