Parents' Guide to

The Insult

By Barbara Shulgasser-Parker, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 16+

Complicated courtroom drama has mature themes, language.

Movie R 2017 118 minutes
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This film is smart and blunt as it goes about trying to prove how very personal politics can be. The Insult works to underscore the ridiculousness of stereotypes while acknowledging the real experiences that can spawn them. The Christian Lebanese here offer their justifications for denigrating Palestinians as a group, and Palestinians are given equal time to enumerate the offenses committed by the Lebanese. At times Lebanese complaints about Palestinians are so vicious and ugly as to echo the irrational blame heaped on Jews by Germans of the Nazi era.

As the film repeats arguments over and over, viewers may feel bludgeoned, but it becomes clear that the insult that began the movie's central saga is trivial compared to the larger resentments harbored by both sides in response to decades of bloodletting and oppression at the heart of the court case. Teens old enough to follow the arguments may be swayed one way and then swayed the other when rebuttals are presented, underscoring the notion that even terrible wrongdoing can be justified by fancy-talking advocates. In the end, the movie suggests that there are no good reasons to hate, and that we can just as easily choose to reject bias in the effort to achieve peace.

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