A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Women are strong, and they're even stronger together.
Positive Role Models
Main characters are working for their government with the intent of serving the greater good, putting their own lives at risk so that others can go about their lives without worry. These women are shown to be tough, brave, intelligent, savvy, perseverant, and skilled at combat, and they work well as a team.
Powerful, physically fierce, skilled women from different countries/backgrounds (played by actresses who are White, Black, Spanish, and Chinese) work together to tackle a problem. They do work that's most often credited to men in the movies while, for those who have them, male domestic partners tend to the home front. The women are in control of their image and aren't sexualized. Casting defies Hollywood ageism with regard to women as action stars.
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Violence & Scariness
Long, intense action sequences involving guns, knives, sticks, punches, kicks, etc. Large-scale shoot-outs with machine guns. A woman leaps across a platform right in front of a moving train. Emotionally tense hostage situation. Assassination. Explosions. Beatings. Lots of shootings, but nothing graphic or particularly bloody.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Kissing. Woman unbuttons her blouse as a sexual invitation, which leads to making out on a bed and the implication of sex.
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A few instances of words including "a--hole," "sons of bitches," "shite," and one use of "f--k you." Uses of "G-damn," "My God" and "Oh my God."
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Drinking throughout. Wealthy drug kingpin makes references to his previous activity of selling cocaine.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that The 355 is an action thriller centered on a formidable, diverse team of international female spies played by Jessica Chastain, Penelope Cruz, Lupita Nyong'o, Diane Kruger, and Bingbing Fan. They're physically skilled, shrewd, brave, and untiring in their pursuit to do what's necessary to save the world from extreme danger. While each is tough and capable as a solo agent, the clear message is that women are stronger together. Each reflects the culture of her country of origin to some degree, and many languages are spoken. Frequent action violence includes highly choreographed combat moves, gunfire, punches, kicks, explosions, and stabbings. These scenes aren't graphic and don't have a huge amount of emotional impact -- but a hostage situation is far tenser and may be too much for sensitive viewers. A long-term friendship gets romantic, with kissing on a bed and the implication of sex. There's drinking throughout and reference to selling cocaine. Strong language includes "a--hole" and one use of "f--k." To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
This twisty, suspenseful actioner is remarkably strong, kicking over stereotypes with its team of international secret agents who are powerful and smart and could go toe to toe with James Bond. And their gender here is no big deal -- they just happen to be women, as cinematic spies like Ethan Hunt and Jason Bourne just happen to be men. They're not "sexy spies" or "glamorous government assets"; they're individuals with independent strengths (technology, psychology, force, analysis) who come from different parts of the world and approach life differently. This is much more than Charlie's Angels: It's an invigorating thriller that doesn't undermine or exploit women's femininity. While the script never really gets into the rarity of an all-female spy team, the characters themselves begin to realize that their gender has made them loners in a man's world and that there's comfort in finding a community of people who've walked a similar path.
This isn't a pat, predictable journey; it has many twists and turns. But the story isn't without its holes, either. Graciela (Cruz) is a Colombian psychologist who's pulled into the retrieval despite not being trained to be in the field at any level -- something she keeps vocalizing, and asking whether she can return home. It seems like there's an obvious solution to let her be excused, and, as you might expect, civilian involvement does ultimately create a vulnerability that any of these trained operatives should have recognized. But films often ask us to overlook little common sense details so that we can enjoy a bigger story. Graciela is ultimately the fish out of water who reacts as the average viewer might, helping us appreciate the danger and gravity of the situation the team faces. As Graciela realizes that she possesses the grit and capability to take down international villains while making her own unique contribution to the team, the intent is clearly to be empowering. There's a strong message here for women: Alone, they may make headway when they fight "bad guys," but when they band together, they're unstoppable.
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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.
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Our Editors Recommend
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