Father and child sit together smiling while looking at a smart phone.

Want more recommendations for your family?

Sign up for our weekly newsletter for entertainment inspiration

Parents' Guide to

The Devil Has a Name

By Jeffrey Anderson, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 15+

Awkward, mature drama about environmental pollution.

Movie R 2020 97 minutes
The Devil Has a Name Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

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

Community Reviews

age 17+

Based on 1 parent review

age 17+

The Devil Has A Name - Net Present Value

Since seeing Edward James Olmos in ‘Stand and Deliver’ way back I was impressed, so looked forward to seeing him in a movie which he co-produced/directed, and performed. To add to the interest it was claimed to be based on an actual event – the contamination of farmland by an Oil giant. Played straight this would have had promise but it seems green activist politics got involved and dragged it down a somewhat over-baked, foolish path. Yes, giant multinationals have been guilty of irresponsible short-cuts, often brought about through greed and they must be held to account ensuring more ecological responsibility. The writer added another downer by including a vicious gangster whose repugnant over-the-top actions are the equivalent of a hideously brutal Gestapo Mafioso type - this pushes the story way out of reasonable acceptability and degrades much of the initial interest being offered. I’m not sure Kate Bosworth was fully convincing as she should have been playing the slimy Oil company representative and the company’s headman was made to look like a caricature. If this was intended as black comedy it did not work whatsoever. As the downtrodden farmer, David Strathairn was good as always, as was Olmos as his co-worker – production values were overall OK but even though the moral situations were well-intended, the overly forced agenda-pushing script weakens any worthwhile message. Pity, as we need movies that bring important messages to the screen but in a more honest manner, this is no ‘Dark Waters’. Parental Note; Heavy vulgar dialogue, violence, and grotty sexual situation. Foxtel Aust ran this American R certificate as an M, when will they get it right?

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (1 ):
Kids say (1 ):

This whistleblower drama, with its odd touches of comedy and noir, certainly has its heart in the right place, but the story is frustratingly, awkwardly told, and it ultimately amounts to very little. Directed by Oscar-nominated actor Olmos, The Devil Has a Name has some very strong performances, notably Strathairn as the salt-of-the-earth farmer, Bosworth as the savvy company woman, Sheen as the lovable liberal lawyer, and Olmos himself as the anarchic, selfie-snapping foreman. But some of the characters are introduced quite confusingly. Bosworth walks into a building and inspires shock and hatred from the people around her. But viewers don't know who she is or what she's done. Do we side with her, or is she a villain?

And supposed good guy Strathairn is shown hitting golf balls in his orchard and injuring people with them. Then there's Schreiber as the psychopath, whose absolute cruelty and tendency to intimidate anyone he's with (even if they work for the same company) make him hard to watch -- or believe. The great Alfred Molina shows up in two scenes as the "Big Boss" for no apparent reason. Moreover, Bosworth has a baffling, frustrating scene in which she spills coffee on her rug and then obsessively tries to clean it while glugging down glasses of whiskey. By the time The Devil Has a Name ends, there's less of a sense of victory and more one of relief that we don't have to spend time with these people anymore.

Movie Details

Inclusion information powered by

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.

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.

See how we rate