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Parents' Guide to

The Hurt Locker

By James Rocchi, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 17+

Violent, complex Iraq war drama is rough, tough, thrilling.

Movie R 2009 131 minutes
The Hurt Locker Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

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

Community Reviews

age 14+

Based on 14 parent reviews

age 17+

Difficult to watch...more difficult to look away.

Renner's inner struggles are complicated and spill all over this film and we applaud him for it on the field and then are forced to reckon with how much "the regular world" no longer makes sense for him. It is a harrowing film that makes my palms sweat, but is a fraction of the stress that these bomb units experience. Bigelow captures the tension and an essence of the absurdity of life during wartime in the desert that is hard to squint away from.
age 2+

Good for learning about war

This title has:

Too much violence

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (14 ):
Kids say (34 ):

Combining intellectual and philosophical ambition with gut-wrenching, visceral action, The Hurt Locker is unquestionably one of the best films of 2009. It's also a great movie, period, full of excitement, action, graveyard comedy, and brilliant filmmaking technique.

Director Kathyn Bigelow (Point Break, Strange Days) co-scripted The Hurt Locker with journalist Mark Boal, who was embedded with Army EOD soldiers in 2004; the realism of the script and staging doesn't impede the movie's excitement and dramatic satisfaction but rather makes it all the more rewarding. The characters are real and their situation is real -- and that matter-of-fact approach to the material makes it even more excruciating as James and his men try to figure out how to dismantle bombs in circumstances where failure means death for dozens of people. Yes, The Hurt Locker is violent and tense and bloody, but so is war. Gripping, exciting, and matching brains with brawn, The Hurt Locker's shattering explosions and quieter questions will both echo in your head long after it's done.

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