The Ides of March

Movie review by
S. Jhoanna Robledo, Common Sense Media
The Ides of March Movie Poster Image
Smart, cynical thriller deals in political excesses.
  • R
  • 2011
  • 102 minutes

Parents say

age 18+
Based on 2 reviews

Kids say

age 15+
Based on 7 reviews

A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

The movie is a pretty jaded look at the political and electoral process. If there's any positive message, it's that if you sacrifice your principles, you lose a piece of yourself.

Positive Role Models & Representations

One of the main characters is a politician who says what he thinks and does what he says. It's inspiring to hear him speak (even if he's just a movie character) because he's candid and devoted to the idea of social justice and service. His assistant also believes in him for this reason.

Violence

Verbal clashes are so stinging that they stun. A woman commits suicide.

Sex

Two colleagues sleep together; the audience sees close-up camera shots that hint at nudity, but no sensitive body parts are shown. Sexual banter. A liaison between a married man and a woman who works for him is discussed, and its unintended consequence has to be undone.

Language

Frequent use of strong words such as "f--k," "d--k," "a--hole," "s--t," "prick," "c--k," "t-ts," "hell," "crap," "damn," "goddamn," and more.

Consumerism

Logos for Nokia and GMC are visible.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Social drinking by adults in bars; references to drugs, being drunk, and overdosing.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this engrossing, well-acted thriller paints an ugly picture of the political landscape; prepare to be disenchanted (if you aren't already). Teens drawn to the movie by co-star Ryan Gosling's presence may find it very cynical, insidery, and heavy-handed, unless they're students of election cycles. Expect frequent swearing ("d--k," "f--k," and more), heated verbal exchanges, a suicide (not graphic), and sexual content (including some suggested steaminess and references to affairs and their aftermath).

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byConcerned Parent 101 February 3, 2012

Great excuse to go out on your own

I knew this was going to be very explicit with loads of bad language so it gave me an excuse to go watch something by myself for once, whilst not feeling bad fo... Continue reading
Adult Written byjwade123 October 18, 2011

Great political thriller

Since the other two reviews are both by teens younger than the age that they recommended I figured that I would post one that actually might help. The only rea... Continue reading
Teen, 15 years old Written bymariaf April 16, 2012

Know if you are interested to watch it

In my opinion it's a great and educating film but i'm 15 and it was a little hard to understand the plot but then i was ok. If your kids are not inter... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written byMovieReviewGuy October 10, 2011

Good for 17+, "Pause" for 16, and "OFF" for 15 under

This is a very intense, complex political drama; I'm sure lots of kids who aren't very aware of politics/don't care wouldn't appreciate this... Continue reading

What's the story?

At 30, Stephen Myers (Ryan Gosling) is at the top of his game, handling media strategy for Pennsylvania Governor Mike Morris (George Clooney), who's the Democratic presidential candidate. Myers thinks that Morris is the real McCoy, a veteran who's mindful of the devastation that war brings; speaks his mind even on controversial, unpopular matters; and is so principled that he won't play political ball, even to garner crucial votes. Under the mentorship of Morris' campaign manager (Phillip Seymour Hoffman), Myers is allowed to flex his considerable mental muscles. He even gets to flirt with a promising intern (Evan Rachel Wood). But then he gets a surprise call from the opponent's camp. Their lead strategist (Paul Giamatti) wants to poach Myers from Morris' side, telling him that they have a number of political tricks up their sleeve that could crush the governor, so why not move to the winning side? The call leaves Myers reeling -- and sets in motion a chain of events that keeps him on shifting ground.

Is it any good?

This movie's a piece of work, really -- in a good way. There's so much that's so good about THE IDES OF MARCH: some genius mood-setting, compelling acting (especially from Gosling, Giamatti, and Hoffman, and, to a lesser extent, Clooney -- who also directed and co-wrote the script), and dialogue that rings so true that it both stings and depresses.

But while there isn't a lot that's wrong with the movie, the disappointments weigh heavily. The heavy-handed noirish-ness of it all, for starters, which tamps down the power of the Beau Willimon play that inspired it. Dress it up in Hollywood lighting and off-kilter, purposefully tense camera angles, and it wilts. The machinations are meant to shock -- and they do, but not as much as the filmmakers seem to expect. At a time when the real-life political buffet serves up all sorts of scandals, is the one that pops up in the movie all that surprising? Or even damaging? Perhaps that's the salient question.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how the movie portrays politics. Do you think it's accurate? Do you think there's room for idealism in the political world?

  • What role does the media have in the political process? How would you describe the relationship between media and politics?

  • Are political scandals all that surprising in this day and age? Why or why not? Do you think there are more scandals now than there used to be, or is it just a case of more media coverage/awareness?

Movie details

For kids who love thrills and politics

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