The Divergent Series: Insurgent

Movie review by
Sandie Angulo Chen, Common Sense Media
The Divergent Series: Insurgent Movie Poster Image
Popular with kids
Dystopian sequel ups romance factor; still very violent.
  • PG-13
  • 2015
  • 119 minutes

Parents say

age 12+
Based on 14 reviews

Kids say

age 12+
Based on 64 reviews

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We think this movie stands out for:

A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

Tris deals with important issues about identity and figuring out what it means to be selfless, courageous, smart, and kind as she makes decisions she thinks will help others.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Tris is a smart, courageous heroine, but she's also occasionally stubborn and hot-headed and can't see the big picture. Four can't help but want to protect Tris, even though he knows she can fight her own battles. Tris and Four offer a positive example of a teen relationship; they treat each other as equals, defend and protect each other.


Characters die from execution-style murders, committing suicide under mind control, being tortured/forced to do something dangerous, and from being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Lots of weapons and arrests and tank-like vehicles. Some blood, and a pervasive sense of peril/danger.


Tris and Four embrace and kiss several times. In one scene, kissing turns into more, and she takes off her top and then his shirt. The scene fades to black, but the next shot is of them in bed, bare shouldered under the sheets. It's implied they had sex and slept in the same bed.


One quickly uttered "f--k," plus a couple of uses of "bitch," "s--t," and "a--hole." Other insults include "stiff," "coward," "psychopath," "loser," and "stupid."

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Insurgent is the second installment in the Divergent trilogy. Based on the best-selling dystopian books by Veronica Roth, Insurgent continues the story of heroine Tris (Shailene Woodley) and her love, Four (Theo James). Like the first movie, Insurgent is less violent than the book, but there's still mass shootings of mind-control trackers, execution-style murders, torture, and a fake death. Language includes one quickly uttered "f--k" and a couple uses of "s--t," "bulls--t," and "bitch," but it's not frequent. Tris and Four's romance heats up in this installment -- far beyond what's described in the source book. One scene suggests that they've slept together, but nothing is visible beyond bare backs, shoulders, and kissing. The movie stays true to portraying Tris as a brave, headstrong, selfless protagonist who doesn't just let her boyfriend fight her battles.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent Written byEllybelly246 June 12, 2018

Could be better.

This movie was more related to the book than Divergent was I only found three differences between the book and the movie .
Parent of a 9 and 15-year-old Written byMeowstiic T. October 23, 2017

Still Tells Great Story but More Romance/Violence

There is more sex and violence in this adaption for the Divergent series. It isn't quite as good but stays fine.
Teen, 17 years old Written byBookNerd1 March 19, 2015

Better than the first!

I went into this movie with kinda low expectations because I had read some negative reviews about the movie but honestly I was pleasantly surprised!
The special... Continue reading
Teen, 14 years old Written byBookAddict78 November 1, 2015

Did I read the wrong book?

Okay...for starters, I HATED this movie. It was nothing like the book. There was some language (muttered f***, b****, sh**, da**...).
One of the worst parts for... Continue reading

What's the story?

INSURGENT picks up a little bit after Divergent left off, with Tris (Shailene Woodley) and Four (Theo James) hiding out in the Amity Faction with Tris' brother, Caleb (Ansel Elgort); Four's father, Marcus (Ray Stevenson); and Peter (Miles Teller). Meanwhile, council leader Jeanine Matthews (Kate Winslet) has pinned the Abnegation massacre on Tris, Four, and a rogue band of Divergents, so she orders all Divergents rounded up and brought in to Erudite headquarters. What she really wants is to find a Divergent who can survive the simulations of all five Factions and open a mysterious box left by the Factions' founders, but her subjects keep dying -- until she discovers that it's Tris she needs to open the message. On the run again, Tris and Four need to find the remaining Dauntless members and make an uneasy alliance with the Factionless, who are led by Evelyn (Naomi Watts), someone from Four's past.

Is it any good?

Book purists will certainly have a lot of material to bemoan about this sequel. For every positive element that's true to the story (we finally meet Uriah, played by Aussie hunk Keiynan Lonsdale; Winslet and Watts are fabulous as leaders with very different views of the Factions; and Teller steals his scenes as opportunistic, sarcastic Peter), there too many underwhelming, underplayed, and divergent (pardon the pun) bits from the original story. Even given the expectation that an adaptation will sometimes dramatically change the elements that jump from page to screen, the Insurgent filmmakers made some head-scratching choices that don't bode well for the future of the franchise.

What is still engaging about the series is the strength of Woodley's acting, the intense appeal of James as Four (their chemistry is debatable, but it's still more believable than Jennifer Lawrence and Josh Hutcherson's in the Hunger Games films), and the veteran actors all doing their best with a series that isn't connecting as seamlessly on the screen as it did on the page. During a few scenes, Woodley fans may marvel (and laugh) at seeing her interact with James, Teller, and Elgort -- all of whom she's had romantic relationships with in movies. The visuals and simulations in this film are also even more dazzling than the ones in Divergent. It will be interesting to see how the screenwriter and director handle the plot and perspective changes of Roth's highly divisive final book, Allegiant, for the last two movies.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the popularity of movies based on dark, violent dystopian/futuristic fantasy books. What purpose does the violence serve in Insurgent? Is it different to see violence rather than to read about it?

  • Discuss  Tris and Four's romance. How do they compare to other couples in young adult literature? How does their relationship develop on screen versus in the book?

  • Woodley has starred in several page-to-screen adaptations, three of them with co-stars in this film. How did you feel about her interacting with three actors who've played her love interests in other movies?

  • Fans of the book: Is the movie a faithful adaptation? What differences did you like, and which scenes or lines from the book did you miss?

Movie details

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