The Da Vinci Code

Movie review by
Cynthia Fuchs, Common Sense Media
The Da Vinci Code Movie Poster Image
Slow-moving, talky translation of popular novel.
  • PG-13
  • 2006
  • 147 minutes

Parents say

age 15+
Based on 19 reviews

Kids say

age 14+
Based on 32 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

To protect a secret, characters kill, lie, rob, and injure -- while others are determined to uncover the truth. The movie's plot presumes upon long-standing, deep-seated cover ups among very important people.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Langdon is resourceful and very intelligent; his determination to uncover the truth never flags. But other characters are far less worth emulating, whether because they lie and betray others or because they purposely harm themselves.

Violence

Shooting murder opens the film; Silas whips and cuts himself, showing blood and cringing/grimacing in pain; grainy flashback scenes repeatedly show violence (Crusades/knights, battles/armies, witch hunts/burnings, visualizing various narrations of "history"); personal flashbacks include Silas' abuse as a child, young Robert trapped in a well, and young Sophie crying/afraid in the harrowing car accident that killed her parents. General action includes shootings, fisticuffs, poisoning, kicks/slaps; Silas kills a nun by smashing her head; blood on shirts and faces.

Sex

Some famous paintings show women's naked body parts; Silas appears naked as he performs self-flagellation (you see only his backside and close-ups of limbs); discussion of gender roles includes mention of penises (emblem of "male aggression").

Language

Some swearing, including French with subtitles ("s--t," "bastard") and English ("Jesus," "hell").

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that The Da Vinci Code opens with a brutal murder and includes several other bloody scenes, including a naked man beating himself. The subject matter is too convoluted to interest young kids, so unless you want to shush them, leave them home. A couple of characters use mild profanity, although most of the cursing shows up in French and in subtitles. Spoiler alert: The film's plot, based on Dan Brown's best-selling novel, suggests that the Catholic Church has for centuries repressed the "truth" that Jesus was human, married Mary Magdalene, and fathered a daughter. Some viewers may find the issues raised -- Jesus' divinity and the Church's cover-up -- upsetting.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent of a 8, 10, 12, 14, and 16 year old Written bySuburban Mom of Five February 3, 2015

Movie Did Not Do Book Justice

I loved this book and hated the movie version. I let me kids watch this because the book was an intelligent mystery and regretted my decision that it would be... Continue reading
Adult Written byquicksilver369 April 9, 2008

Adults Only Please

The violence is really disturbing in this film even for adults. It is not suitable for kids. My husband and I thought if you read the book then you will know... Continue reading
Teen, 16 years old Written bymoviemogul April 9, 2008

Go Read the Book... It's So Much Better

This movie adaption is only alright, as it moves at a much slower pace and can drag alon g sometimes, unlike tht book's much better pacing. It feels more l... Continue reading
Teen, 16 years old Written bymovieman09 April 9, 2008

What's the story?

In THE DA VINCI CODE, world-renowned symbologist Dr. Robert Langdon (Tom Hanks) is called by Parisian policeman Capt. Fache (Jean Reno) to consult on a murder case, the scholar is briefly flattered, then daunted when he learns he is a suspect, owing to a note left by the victim. Along with the victim's granddaughter, cryptologist Sophie (Audrey Tautou), Langdon tries to decipher the message, which begins with the victim's arranging of his own body to approximate Da Vinci's Vitruvian Man. "Symbols," says the doctor early on, "are a language that can help us understand our past." The film reveals various characters' pasts, including the murderer's (a self-flagellating albino Opus Dei monk named Silas [Paul Bettany]), Sophie's, Langdon's, and significant events in history. Robert and Sophie end up on a kind of scavenger hunt from Paris to London, and are tracked by Fache and aided by Robert's colleague, Sir Teabing (Ian McKellen), who claims to be thrilled to be on a "grail quest." The mystery involves a Catholic Church's cover-up -- for thousands of years -- concerning Jesus and Mary Magdalene.

Is it any good?

Based on Dan Brown's bestseller, this movie is surprisingly unwieldy and conventional, despite and because of the controversy surrounding it. While The Da Vinci Code often looks like it's offering subjective views into Robert Langdon's mind, in effect these images are silly and slow. The special effects are unconvincing as paintings and sculptures move, and the explanatory voice-overs tend to repeat what's obvious.

For all the mystical blurring of edges, the film doesn't make smart connections between periods or characters, and it offers too much explanation and tedious literal flashbacks. The untangling of all the plot strands leads not to an interrogation of various institutions (academe, the cops, the Church), but to a pile-on of much less interesting personal pathologies.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about The Da Vinci Code's premise and the controversy it has inspired. How does the controversy help to promote the movie?

  • What's the appeal of conspiracy theories?

  • If you've read the book, how does the movie compare?

Movie details

For kids who love adventure

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