A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that The Accountant is an action movie about Christian Wolff (Ben Affleck), a man with a high-functioning form of autism who uses his math skills for very powerful people -- and his fighting and killing skills when trouble arises. While his character shows that people with autism aren't lesser than others, he's also extremely violent, which makes him an iffy role model at best. Most of the violence is fairly over the top, with lots of fighting (punching, bashing, martial arts) and shooting (lots of blood and point-blank shots to the face). Kids are shown in tense, possibly dangerous situations. Language isn't constant but includes "f--k," "s--t," and more. The main character takes prescription medications.
- Parents say
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What's the story?
Christian Wolff (Ben Affleck), who has a high-functioning form of autism, is a math whiz who works as a humble accountant. Occasionally, he takes side jobs smoothing out the books for shady corporations. He was raised in a military family, and his father made sure he was trained to fight and shoot so he could defend himself against those who might call him "different." When Wolff's latest job puts the life of a mid-level employee (Anna Kendrick) in danger, he springs into action. Meanwhile, the head of the Treasury Department (J.K. Simmons) has recruited a new agent (Cynthia Addai-Robinson) to discover Wolff's true identity.
Is it any good?
The movie's main storyline of an accountant/hit man with autism is somewhat ordinary and predictable, but its fabric is made up of enough good scenes and characters to make it worthwhile. Working from a screenplay by Bill Dubuque (The Judge), director Gavin O'Connor builds worlds for all of his characters to inhabit. It's not a coincidence that the cast includes terrific performers and great character actors; they all bite into these roles with juicy histories.
Wolff in particular comes with all kinds of props, routines, and traits that are endlessly fascinating. He requires a minimalist performance that Affleck handles well. After his many ups and downs in the movie business, the star finally looks like he's lived a life. But The Accountant doesn't short any of the other characters, either; they each get several moments to come alive. It's too bad the overall plot couldn't have come up with something a tad fresher, but at least it gets the job done.
Talk to your kids about ...
How does the movie portray autism? How does that compare to the way you've seen it portrayed in other movies and TV shows? What message does that send?
Are there consequences for the main character's many killings? Why does that matter?
What's the appeal of movies about professional killers/hit men? How is The Accountant similar to or different from others in the genre?
- In theaters: October 14, 2016
- On DVD or streaming: January 10, 2017
- Cast: Ben Affleck, Anna Kendrick, J.K. Simmons
- Director: Gavin O'Connor
- Studio: Warner Bros.
- Genre: Drama
- Run time: 128 minutes
- MPAA rating: R
- MPAA explanation: strong violence and language throughout
- Last updated: September 20, 2019
For kids who love thrills
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.
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