Parents' Guide to

The Contender

By Nell Minow, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 16+

Thoughtful, enjoyable film for older teens.

Movie R 2000 126 minutes
The Contender Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

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

Community Reviews

age 17+

Based on 2 parent reviews

age 18+

Introspection vs. Action

The Contender highlights the harm done by jumping on the bandwagon against someone said to be corrupt or offensive BEFORE charges are proven. Look first at the accuser!

This title has:

Great messages
Great role models
age 16+

Should be required viewing for every high schooler

Fascinating political drama and a peek into the workings of the White House and Congress. The best part is the message this sends about the damage done by a whisper and smear campaign. These days so many kids seek revenge on their peers by starting rumors that they know to be unfounded, maybe without even realizing the enormous damage it can inflict on a person's life. This movie shows these actions for what they truly are. It also portrays political leaders in a positive (if somewhat glorified) light. I especially love the portrayal of a strong female leader who stays true to her principles, despite overwhelming pressure to yield to political expedience. Great movie for older teens, though some will be more fascinated with the couple of scenes of group sex that flash onscreen very briefly.

This title has:

Great messages
Great role models

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say: (2):
Kids say: Not yet rated

THE CONTENDER isn't authentic, or even credible, and it falls just short of preposterous; now that we have that out of the way, let me say that it is thought-provoking and thoroughly enjoyable. It is a lot of fun to watch the Washington wheels turn and the spinners spin. Writer-director Rod Lurie has been around Washington enough to get the characters and the vocabulary right. Echoes of the Clarence Thomas and Clinton impeachment hearings give the story some sizzle. Director and stars give the story their best shot, and it moves along briskly.

Allen and Bridges give Oscar-quality performances, and supporting players like Sam Elliott, Christian Slater and newcomer Kathryn Morris add depth and sparkle. Oldman, who also co-produced, is almost unrecognizable under a Pappy-Yokum-style hairpiece. He manages the right mix of menace and fervor. If the final turns are a bit Capra-esque, it is still hard to fault the movie for wanting Laine to end up happily, because by then we do, too.

Movie Details

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