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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
It's lonely at the top. Make sure to take advice from those who have your best interests at heart -- it's important to have good friends who will speak truth to power. It can be hard to stay true to yourself and your values when you take on big responsibility. War has a high human cost that even surviving soldiers must pay.
Positive Role Models
Prince Henry starts out as a boozy party boy who disapproves of his father and rejects his place in the royal house. But when it appears to him that he's the best and only choice to succeed his father as king, he steps up to lead. He strives to demonstrate integrity; make wise decisions in difficult, complicated situations; and put his men and his country before himself, but he can also be ruthless and cruel. And once he becomes king, he doesn't always behave ideally. Women are depicted as smart, insightful, capable and are treated with respect.
Violence & Scariness
Close-up of execution via beheading. Battle scenes feature stabbing, strangling, fistfights, being shot by longbows; a horse falls and rolls over. Children are murdered by the enemy; one child is forced to carry another child's head. Thousands are ordered to be killed. Detailed description of an anticipated murder and a threat of disembowelment. Character who poses no physical threat is stabbed to death. Much violence is depicted as being justified in the moment.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Character described as "a whoring fool" passionately kisses a woman whose breast can be seen through her nightgown.
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"Balls," "c--k," and two uses of "f--king."
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Wine is consumed to ward off pain during a procedure. Characters drink at a tavern. Mentions of characters being "drunks."
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that The King is a historical epic starring Timothée Chalamet as wild, rebellious young Prince Hal, who's suddenly thrust into ruling England as King Henry V. It's based both on history and on Shakespeare's "Henriad" plays (Henry V, Henry IV Part I, and Henry IV Part II), but much is imagined and changed. Henry's astonishing strategic Battle of Agincourt victory did happen, and, while it's certainly brutal, the violence is not without purpose. War isn't glamorized here: Through two key characters' eyes, the film shows the terror and chaos of soldiers in hand-to-hand combat in a sloppy, savage melee while wearing chain mail and armor. The movie hammers home a strong message of war's high human cost that even surviving soldiers must pay; there are also themes of courage and integrity. Other violent scenes include graphic on-screen beheadings and children dying and being forced to carry body parts. Expect a brief scene of sensuality and a couple of instances of strong language ("f--king"), including an insult to the king's manhood ("c--k," "balls"). To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
This outstanding historical epic boasts beautiful cinematography, strong performances, and a phenomenal battle scene. The luxe production design exists in a palette of gray, which implies that trouble is constantly brewing. The art design of each scene creates an authenticity that makes it feel like you're there -- particularly during the epic Battle of Agincourt. That attack sequence plays like Saving Private Ryan: Medieval Times. This isn't about elegant swordsmanship and proud, victorious cheers; rather, it's down and dirty, with punching, suffocating, drowning, and whatever-it-takes fighting, with bodies mashing up against each other like a murderous mosh pit. It's brutal, but it ultimately delivers understanding: You realize that this must be what it was truly like to fight in the 15th century.
The Shakespeare plays The King is based on aren't the ones usually assigned as required reading, so it may be difficult to get teens to watch -- but do try. While running a country at a young age isn't likely to happen to any viewers, by the movie's end, Hal learns a significant life lesson that today's kids can apply as they step into the workplace. Chalamet and co-star Joel Edgerton (who also co-wrote and produced) put in fantastic, believable performances, and those who grew up with Twilight will get a kick out of Robert Pattinson, who surprises with an unexpected twist on a French prince who delights at riling the young king into war.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.