A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that The Irishman is an epic crime drama from director Martin Scorsese. Violence is extremely strong, with many killings, blood spurts, guns, and shooting. There's strangling, fighting, punching, yelling, explosions, and a chicken's neck being sliced. Language is also constant, with countless uses of "f--k," "s--t," "motherf----r," "c--ksucker," "bulls--t," and many more. Characters smoke cigarettes and cigars throughout, and drinking is common, though mostly in a social way. (One character does get a bit tipsy on vodka-soaked watermelon.) Sex isn't really an issue, except for a scene of flirting and mention of a "topless joint." It's a long (3 1/2 hours!) but masterful movie that recalls Scorsese's earlier classics like GoodFellas but is more reflective and melancholy. It's highly recommended for mature viewers.
- Parents say
- Kids say
Scorsese pulls it together for one last go round of his staple brand of gangster films. Lots of language/ violence.
What's the story?
In THE IRISHMAN, Frank Sheeran (Robert De Niro) tells the story of his life and how he came to be associated with Jimmy Hoffa (Al Pacino). Frank starts out as a union driver, transporting meat in refrigerated trucks, but soon realizes he can make extra money on the side delivering to local gangsters. He meets crime boss Russell Bufalino (Joe Pesci) and becomes a hit man. After the union helps Frank avoid a criminal charge, he's introduced to Hoffa, and the two become close friends. Frank rises through the ranks, becoming president of his own chapter. But things start to crumble when Hoffa goes to jail and later tries to regain control of the unions. It becomes clear that his time has come, and it's Frank's job to take care of it.
Is it any good?
A magisterial entry in his long and masterful career, Martin Scorsese's crime epic is no mere nostalgia trip; reflective and melancholy rather than kinetic, it's touched by both greatness and loss. The Irishman assembles actors who appeared in Scorsese's classics Mean Streets, Taxi Driver, Raging Bull, GoodFellas, and Casino (plus Pacino, who's working with Scorsese for the first time -- and delivers a sucker-punch, scene-stealing performance as Hoffa). While Scorsese's gritty, energetic, often intoxicating filmmaking punctuated those earlier films, The Irishman is more carefully observed, more bittersweet. It actually has more in common with Scorsese's faith-based trilogy, The Last Temptation of Christ, Kundun, and Silence.
In telling Frank Sheeran's long life story, the movie creates a tragic, passive character who comes close to greatness without ever achieving it and whose penchant for following orders and remaining loyal allows him to overlook any moral quandaries. Even the scenes of violence and suspense are deliberately dispassionate, as if to confess that these things should not be spectacles. Yet it's an exquisite-looking movie, with nary an unnecessary move. And it's even surprisingly, frequently touching and funny. In the end, The Irishman leaves off with many questions -- about legacy, regret, and more. It's a great movie from a director in his autumn years who's looking back more than forward but is still in awe of the mysteries of life.
Talk to your kids about ...
How are drinking and smoking depicted? Are they glamorized? Why was smoking more accepted during the time this movie takes place?
How familiar were you with Jimmy Hoffa? Why does it matter to Frank that people remember his legacy?
Did Frank seem to have any regrets at the end of his life? Did he have any remorse for all the things he had done? Do you have regrets or remorse for anything in life?
What makes stories about gangsters and criminals interesting? Does this movie glamorize these men and their lives? How does it compare to Scorsese's other films in that regard?
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