The Island

Movie review by
Cynthia Fuchs, Common Sense Media
The Island Movie Poster Image
Explosive movie is best for teens and up.
  • PG-13
  • 2005
  • 127 minutes

Parents say

age 13+
Based on 10 reviews

Kids say

age 12+
Based on 15 reviews

Did this review miss something on diversity?

Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive, diverse representations in books, TV shows, and movies. Want to help us help them? Suggest a diversity update

A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

Bad corporate and military figures.


Explosions, shootings, surgery, a mother dies after childbirth.


Barflies make rude comments; protagonists have romantic sex.


Typical "action" language.


Lots of brand names and logos, including MSN, Puma, XBox, Aquafina, Cadillac, Ben and Jerry's.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Some smoking and drinking; drugs used to keep clones placid; Jordan gets drunk in a bar.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that the movie features explosions, fights, and vehicle chases. Characters drink, smoke, fight, and kill one another. Several scenes show clones in various unfinished states (incubating in sacks and on tables); others show organs harvested (surgery) and a baby harvested (the mother is killed after giving birth). While the protagonists' social naiveté and first grade reading skills make them seem childish, they are definitely adult in their sexual interests and fighting abilities. Characters and background images make frequent references to commercial products (including MSN, Puma, XBox, Aquafina, Cadillac, Ben & Jerry's).

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byAmelia P. June 22, 2020

The island

Great movie. I watched it with my 13, and two 10 year olds. There are some disturbing parts. It made my 10 year old cry. But they really, really liked it.
Adult Written byjmo97 June 10, 2016

I actually liked it for what it was.

I want to see this movie again to see how it holds up, but I think this was a fairly tolerable movie from Michael Bay (though I really didn't like the cine... Continue reading
Kid, 11 years old January 23, 2021


This is a good movie! It has an interesting twist, although it can be disturbing. Clones are created as insurance for their sponsor. If the sponsor is ever in... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written byDoctorWhovian October 2, 2018

A movie that raises interesting questions and thoughtful concepts, both of which are unfortunately diluted by senseless action (Mild Spoilers)

The Island is a 2005 film, directed by Michael Bay and starring Ewan McGregor and Scarlet Johansson. Like so many other modern-day action movies, it raises some... Continue reading

What's the story?

It's 2019, and Lincoln Six Echo (Ewan McGregor) is disturbed by nightmares that run counter to his conditioned belief that the "island" is a paradise, the last unscathed location in a post-apocalyptic world. He and his friend Jordan Two Delta (Scarlett Johansson) live at a facility run by Dr. Merrick (Sean Bean), until they are "chosen" to leave for the island. Lincoln learns his dreams are "genetic memories," and that he and his community are all clones, paid for by wealthy people who plan to use the clones' organs, genes, and wombs in order to prolong or enhance their own, "original" lives. Helped by engineering, non-clone friend McCord (Steve Buscemi), Lincoln and Jordan learn the world has not been destroyed, escape the facility, and flee to Los Angeles. Merrick hires a mercenary crew to hunt them down, led by former Special Forces soldier Albert Laurent (Djimon Hounsou), who has a particular, historically motivated understanding of breeding people for money.

Is it any good?

Loud, fast, and fulsome, this action movie actually spends a few minutes pondering ethical questions. But just a few. For the most part, The Island is simplistic science fiction, pitting very athletic, very attractive heroes on the run against plainly despicable corporate villains.

Besides Hounsou's character, the other visible black man is a football star (Michael Clarke Duncan), or rather, his clone, whose vigorous resistance to harvesting surgery initially reveals the truth to an understandably horrified Lincoln. Most of the film, however, is given over to the pretty white clones' multi-faceted education -- in running, spending money, driving, and soft-focus kissing.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the film's important ethical and philosophical questions concerning clones and organ harvesting: When do clones become individuals? Who can afford to purchase clones or organs, and how does this create a hierarchy of health, longevity, and cultural power? Does the fact that technology exists justify or compel its use? Families might also talk about how the film reduces resolutions for such dilemmas by broadly outlining villains and heroes, stereotypical relationships, and high-powered, plainly expensive action sequences.

Movie details

Our editors recommend

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

See how we rate

Streaming options powered by JustWatch

About these links

Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization, earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes when you use our links to make a purchase. Thank you for your support.

Read more

Our ratings are based on child development best practices. We display the minimum age for which content is developmentally appropriate. The star rating reflects overall quality.

Learn how we rate