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 Ghost Writer

By S. Jhoanna Robledo, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 15+

Intense, masterful political thriller OK for older teens.

Movie PG-13 2010 128 minutes
The Ghost Writer Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

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

Community Reviews

age 15+

Based on 4 parent reviews

age 15+


Unbelievably dull. I'm not even gong to continue writing about it. Parents: There' some sex and violence, plus language. bottom Line: Sorry for the negativity, but this movie is terrible. Not my cup of tea. Thanks for reading! - Movie Man

This title has:

Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
age 12+

Greatest Suspenseful Mystery

Very interesting story. Suspenseful. I loved this movie. There is this whole mystery being solved during this movie. You really have to like this sort of movie unless you can pull out the greatest idea.

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (4 ):
Kids say (10 ):

Despite the length of this unrelenting film, no moment or performance is a waste. THE GHOST WRITER opens with a ferry docking in the gloom of a rainy night. On board, a car is unclaimed, the whereabouts of its driver unknown. And so begins this mind-bending thriller based on a novel by Robert Harris that sheds its skin like the proverbial onion, one engrossing layer at a time. Director Roman Polanski has always been great with atmospherics, and he doesn't disappoint here. For all the complications of his personal life, his filmmaking faculties are clearly intact. He maintains a strong grip on the storytelling, revealing only what's necessary, and exactly at the right time.

MacGregor is superb, a bemused observer who quickly finds himself on shifting earth. Brosnan relishes a role shaded decidedly gray, and Williams is a perfect woman scorned. The supporting cast, crowded with names like Timothy Hutton, Eli Wallach, and Tom Wilkinson, makes the most of their moments. Kim Catrall, almost wholly identified with the Sex and the City franchise, makes you forget she's usually a randy cougar. The ending: Though it may feel too cinematically perfect, it works, and very well.

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