A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
The movie emphasizes family and comradeship, with people working together and caring about one another and putting a high price on death. The movie doesn't make war look good, but it does make the bonding of soldiers look appealing.
Positive Role Models
Soldiers are shown to be protectors and helpers (swooping in to rescue an injured child, etc.). Mike and Carlos Boettcher are shown to be courageous journalists, dedicated to finding the truth in spite of great personal danger. They're awarded Emmys for their work.
Violence & Scariness
No blood or gore is shown, but many real-life soldiers die in battle, though never actually on camera. Weapons and explosives are everywhere, and there's frequent shooting, plus some explosions. In one scene, viewers learn about a suicide bomber who killed several children.
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Language is very strong, with frequent uses of "f--k," "s--t," "bitch," and "hell," plus "damn," "a--hole," "balls," "bastard," and one use of "Jesus" (as an exclamation).
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Father and son are shown smoking in one scene (the father a cigar, the son a cigarette). The son, Carlos, admits that he smokes too much.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that The Hornet's Nest is a documentary about the war in Afghanistan. It centers on a veteran embedded journalist and his son and follows several soldiers into dangerous situations. No real blood or death is shown on camera, but there's frequent shooting and several explosions, and several real-life soldiers die. Language is an issue, with frequent use of strong words like "f--k," "s--t," and "bitch." Though the movie is powerful, it's not outraged or political. It's very emotional, focusing on the father-son relationship and soldiers' reactions to situations they've been in. The movie doesn't make war look good, but it does make the bonding of soldiers look appealing. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
Documentary filmmakers David Salzberg and Christian Tureaud take raw war footage, combine it with newer sit-down interviews, and turn it into something quite powerful and emotional. The Boettcher footage feels extremely close to actual combat, with bullets nearly hitting the lens. (Carlos learns that a bullet, zooming by at close range, sounds like a buzzing bee.)
Though the movie includes facts and figures about numbers of people killed in the war and addresses the fact that it's now the longest war in U.S. history, it's more focused on the emotional side. Soldiers are interviewed about how they felt about a certain rescue or casualty. Mike suddenly feels a father's protective urge when his son goes out alone to film. But perhaps most powerfully, after the conclusion of a dangerous mission with heavy losses, a commanding officer who's unaware of being on camera breaks down and cries at the loss of so many young men.
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.