Parents' Guide to

The Last Duel

By Jeffrey M. Anderson, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 17+

Brutal violence in clunky tale of toxic masculinity.

Movie R 2021 152 minutes
The Last Duel Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 17+

Based on 5 parent reviews

age 17+

Great film that probes larger philosophical questions

This film is a long slow burn. It is a strong film with strong character arcs and great performances from Damon, Driver and Comer. The center piece of the film of course is misogyny and patriarchy, which is no short supply. The differences at times are subtle but important and the self-importance in this film abounds. Scott certainly knows how to put a film together and ultimately the film is satisfying in its portrayal of our world and all of the metaphors it offers. It is a shame that there are not more films probing these larger philosophical questions.
age 15+

Extraordinary period piece. Damon, Comer, Driver & Affleck are all brilliant in their performances.

Extraordinarily well made. Real period piece with some sharp cultural and historic insights (France, ruling class, court processes & ajudication, etc.). Masterpiece w/r to Scott's artistic risks and use of state-of-art filming fact action motion-picture photography. Damon, Comer, Driver & Affleck are all brilliant in their performances. Highly recommend for history buffs. The final duel sequence between Damon and Driver is heart pounding and tense. Very realistic.

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (5 ):
Kids say (6 ):

This bloody medieval sword fight movie's three-chapter structure is both an asset and a hindrance. At times, it seems to deepen the story, but it also feels repetitive and moves in graceless, blocky chunks. Directed by Ridley Scott, The Last Duel resembles some of his other ancient-times battle movies in that it's serious and clunky, with action that's more forceful and clumsy than exciting. The first chapter, which lays the groundwork for the story, is nearly unendurable, providing curt details and jumping ahead years at a time, without building the characters. The second chapter brings fresh hope, not only because it starts to smooth out the story, layering in emotions and nuance, but also because of Affleck's delightful performance as the rascally count. His character is the only one having fun, sidling about his palace full of drinks and women and savoring his loquacious, soft-leather dialogue. (It's also fun to watch him pick on his buddy Damon in their few scenes together.)

The third chapter is troublesome, since it tends to repeat whole scenes from earlier in the movie with only the slightest variations, as if alternate takes were accidentally added in. Only one sequence, in which de Carrouges and Le Gris shake hands at the party -- seen three different ways -- holds any deeper meaning. If only the movie had been tighter than its 152 minutes allows (like the 88-minute Rashomon), it might have made its point more concisely. But the final third also develops the movie's true themes on toxic masculinity and the power of women. With a screenplay by Affleck, Damon, and filmmaker Nicole Holofcener, it's easy to guess that Holofcener added these touches, and they hit hard. But we leave The Last Duel with the discouraging feeling that all the male characters are horrible and unredeemable and that women have a long, long way to go. (Guess what? They still do.)

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