A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Shows sacrifice and selflessness involved with wartime military service. Values act of going above and beyond to help those who need it. Depicts veterans as worthy of respect and accolades -- as well as compassion and empathy, since they can be misunderstood and suffer from PTSD. Duty to country, family, fellow soldiers is a major theme.
Positive Role Models
Pits knew he was risking his life but stayed to help the infantry company, even though it wasn't his mission to do so. Mr. and Mrs. Pitsenbarger are a kind, patient, loving couple who want to honor their fallen son. The Vietnam veterans are all focused on making sure Pits is awarded the Medal of Honor for his bravery. Huffman changes throughout the movie from being a smug, ambitious political appointee to a thoughtful, generous person.
Violence & Scariness
Vietnam War scenes include many deaths by bullet spray/explosion. Several close-ups of bloody mortal wounds and severe injuries, including multiple gunshots, compacted fractures, visible intestines. Bloody skirmish shows NVA soldiers shooting even dead-looking soldiers, stealing their weapons. A vet with PTSD shoots his rifle at the sky, points it in direction of a civilian Pentagon official. Another vet stares at his gun as if he's pondering self-harm.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Married couple occasionally embraces and kisses.
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Frequent use of "f--k," "Jesus" (as an exclamation), "bulls--t," "s--t," "s--tter," "a--holes," "what the hell," "goddamn," "grease your d--k," and more.
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Products & Purchases
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Adults smoke cigarettes and drink regularly.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that The Last Full Measure is based on the true story of Air Force Pararescueman William H. Pitsenbarger (Jeremy Irvine). His incredible sacrifice during a Vietnam War mission took 32 years to acknowledge with a Medal of Honor, the highest military decoration awarded for an act of valor. The Vietnam sequences feature bloody war violence, including gunfire, explosions, close-ups of dire/fatal injuries, and dozens of dead soldiers on both sides. Adults smoke and drink, and strong language is fairly frequent, particularly "f--k," "s--t," "bulls--t," and the occasional "a--hole," "goddamn," and "Jesus." The movie explores mature themes related to war, military service, how veterans are treated when they return from active duty, and the politicized nature of medals/war decorations. Sebastian Stan stars as a (fictional) Pentagon official tasked in the 1990s with investigating the late Pitsenbarger's acts. 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 well-intentioned, well-acted biographical drama tells a worthy story but suffers from formulaic dialogue and a surprisingly preachy script. Writer-director Todd Robinson's version of the events also includes inaccuracies about the reasons it took more than three decades for Pitsenbarger to receive his due. Stan's character is made up, too, but at least he serves the purpose of introducing the case and its merits. The movie's biggest problems stem from the overly didactic scripting. The acting is fine: William Hurt plays the older version of the helicopter pilot who agrees to leave Pits behind; Samuel L. Jackson is the infantry officer who blames himself for the ambush; Ed Harris is one of the Army soldiers Pits saves; and, in his final role, the late Peter Fonda plays a survivor suffering from lifelong PTSD. Unfortunately, what this esteemed group of older actors has to say doesn't always ring true: Everything feels like a poetic soliloquy on war and its traumatic impact on veterans.
This is inarguably an important story that deserves to be told. But it might better lend itself to feature-length documentary, because in The Last Full Measure it's hard to tell what really happened and what's creative license. Even real-life Medal of Honor winners have said there was much more to the story (but also that they're happy the movie had been made). There's no need for the flourishes of melodrama -- the telling of Pitsenbarger's incredible sacrifice is compelling enough. It's simply a shame the movie's good intentions and important source material aren't matched by the execution of the filmmaking.
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.