A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Compassion and self-control are key to the story. Clear message that, even when there's a victory, no one wins in war. On the other hand, implies that infidelity is a method of moving forward out of emotional pain.
Positive Role Models
Characters aren't clearly all good or bad; they're very complex. Col. Morgan is a war hero, a British officer who helped bring an end to World War II and who demonstrates compassion to the German people as he helps rebuild their lives. But he's haunted by the terrible wartime actions he participated in, even though he believes they were necessary.
Violence & Scariness
Close-ups of men being shot, their wounds graphic and gushing in blood. Bloodied, dead bodies lie on the ground, sometimes in burned skeletal form. A chaotic protest shows rough shoving; one character receives a head wound. Images of concentration victims during WWII, both alive and emaciated and lying dead in heaps. Conversations about acts of violence during the war. A gun is pointed at a Nazi perpetrator.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Several intense, passionate sex scenes with nudity (both from afar and close up) between a couple, one of whom is married to someone else. A woman frequently wears negligees. A married couple flirts and makes plans to have sex. A teen girl is aroused when she sees a teen boy shirtless; later, they kiss, and it's implied they've had sex.
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One use of "f--k."
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Products & Purchases
A Steinway piano is depicted as aspirational/the best brand of piano.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Lots of smoking; one character says her doctor advised her to start to help calm her nerves. A teen begins smoking to make a romantic connection with a boy. A cigarette case is a plot point. Drinking among adults is consistent but not excessive; it's used to socialize, to celebrate, and to anesthetize.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that The Aftermath is a historical drama based on a novel by Rhidian Brook about a time shortly after World War II when British troops moved into Hamburg to rebuild it after bombing it into total destruction. Whether you consider the story a romance depends on your perspective, but it's definitely provocative, both in generating moral questions and in displaying lots of sexuality. At times, the sex and sensual nudity feel particularly in your face, as does some of the film's violence (often involving former Nazis) in moments that are designed to be shocking. There are close-ups of men being shot, bloody wounds, concentration camp images, and more. Drinking and historically accurate smoking are a constant in the background. Have your hankies ready: All of the central characters are grieving over the loss of loved ones due to the war. Characters aren't clearly all good or bad; they're very complex, and the film is an example of the truly catastrophic effects of war -- as well as of the importance of compassion and self-control. Kiera Knightley, Jason Clarke, and Alexander Skarsgård star. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
Heart-wrenching performances punctuate this sophisticated, literary film about the messy aftermath of war. The film's title is a broad blanket that addresses the toll a war exacts on a city, a people, and families. Based on the novel by Rhidian Brook, it's a subtle emotional journey played to perfection by a cast who bring their A-game to complicated characters. Clarke's Col. Morgan is a stiff-upper-lip war hero who compartmentalizes the horrors he's seen and the loss he's experienced -- but can rip someone's heart out in the blink of an eye. Knightley is devastating as a woman who's struggling with her grief and loneliness so acutely that you might wish you could give her a hug (and an acting award). The script plays out like a psychology textbook in its most captivating form: Given human need and nature, it seems there was no other way for the dominoes to fall.
With impressive production design, director James Kent re-creates 1945 Hamburg and a situation few have likely considered: What was it like following the end of World War II, when the very people who razed a city to the ground had to live among the survivors to give them aid? Which of course, isn't the same thing as comfort -- and that's part of the complexity the viewer is forced to contemplate. What was the right thing to do? Could someone trust their former enemy? Is an entire nation responsible for the actions of its government? Can a person be complicit to evil and still be "good"? While parents may want to steer younger teens away from the film because of its mature visuals, The Aftermath concretely portrays the idea that, no matter which side claims victory, there's no winner in war.
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.