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Parents' Guide to

The Darkest Minds

By Sandie Angulo Chen, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 13+

Skilled actors can't save derivative, violent YA thriller.

Movie PG-13 2018 105 minutes
The Darkest Minds Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

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

Community Reviews

age 12+

Based on 19 parent reviews

age 12+

A great movie!

I really enjoyed this movie! Maybe it's because this came out when I was 14, but I could really relate to these characters. I just watched it for the second time (ever) today, I'm 18 now, and it still made me cry. I would definitely recommend this movie to people. Even if you've read the books and notice the changes, it still doesn't change the fact that they did the best they could. No movie is exactly like the book. As for "violence," they're in the middle of a war so of course there's fighting. It's really really great though :)

This title has:

Educational value
Great messages
Great role models
age 9+

The best movie

Such a great movie

This title has:

Great messages
Great role models

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (19 ):
Kids say (85 ):

Despite starring a YA-film veteran (Stenberg) and coming from page-turning source material, this adaptation suffers from a lackluster script and derivative dystopian themes. On paper, the 2012 story was impossible to put down, but on screen, the movie is predictable and unevenly paced. Worse, Chad Hodge's script is clunky and results in unintentional laughter. Director Jennifer Yuh Nelson did a wonderful job with the two Kung Fu Panda movies she helmed, but here there's so much left to be desired; from the dialogue to the editing to the various plot holes that aren't remotely answered, there's not much to support this film being worth the price of admission (much less warranting the sequels to complete Ruby's story).

Stenberg is a talented actress, and she's more than up to carrying a movie. Unfortunately, Ruby's character in this fim is reduced to "chosen one" stereotypes, and the romance, which is so heartfelt in the book, is cute but also a little too inevitable. Dickinson's Liam is handsome and earnest enough, but the movie's love story doesn't offer viewers the high-stakes build-up of Tris and Four in Divergent or Katniss and Peeta in The Hunger Games. There's a minor (and short-lived) love triangle, but most viewers will see right through the other character's intentions. Hollywood should perhaps leave the big-concept YA sci-fi/dystopian/fantasy series to television and concentrate on realistic contemporary and period movies that are harder to get wrong. Bracken's books are quite entertaining, but this adaptation is far from compelling.

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