Want more recommendations for your family?
Sign up for our weekly newsletter for entertainment inspiration
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Strangers are either awkwardly supportive or derisive of soldiers' experiences in Iraq. In one scene, women make fun of a character who has a limp because she's been shot during combat. A wife isn't interested in letting her deployed husband rejoin her life now that he's back -- for no apparent reason, it seems, other than that she liked being alone. Characters are clearly affected by their time served in Iraq -- they're besieged by nightmares, fears, and insecurities. But they also display empathy for one another's experiences and are generous with their time and help even though they don't know one another that well.
Violence & Scariness
A soldier has a quick trigger finger -- she talks about missing her weapon and gets into fights quickly (no guns are drawn, though a bar fight almost turns into a melee). A husband and wife have a big argument in front of guests. Soldiers are injured on the battlefield; close up of a bullet wound in a thigh.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Violence & Scariness in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Sex, Romance & Nudity
A married woman propositions a virtual stranger; later, they're shown having sex (though there's no nudity), and her husband walks in on them; two characters listen as a couple engages in sex; conversations about how a man can get an erection and please a woman without one. A character is on a mission to find prostitutes who can help him with his sexual problem.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Sex, Romance & Nudity in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Regular use of words like "p---y," "s--t," and "f--k."
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Language in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Products & Purchases
Nothing excessive. Signs for Dollar car rental, McDonald's, etc. Mentions of Porta-Johns.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Soldiers drink and carouse while on leave. One of them pops pills.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Drinking, Drugs & Smoking in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this fairly unsentimental dramedy about what life is like for soldiers on leave from war deals with themes and subjects that may be overwhelming for younger teens. It doesn't pull any punches, depicting civilian life as being just as fraught as fighting in Iraq. Some scenes show the soldiers in battle and getting injured, and there are frank discussions about the aftereffects of war. There's also a fair amount of strong language, some drinking, liberal use of sexual innuendoes, and a moment in which a couple is caught in the middle of having sex (though not too much skin is shown). To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
THE LUCKY ONES has lots of flaws, including artificial twists, cliched setups, and all-too-familiar road-trip snafus (keys left in a locked car, bickering travelers, etc.). The story opens up like a highway with uninteresting pit stops. But the movie has heart, and that's what saves it. It plays on a low register, smartly aware that its basic premise -- veterans who are hobbled physically must endure emotional warfare, too -- is already intense. Given the heavy subject matter, director Neil Burger smartly realizes that it's better to keep a light touch and deftly mixes humor with drama.
The Lucky Ones is also fortunate to have a great cast. Robbins is sympathetic yet subtle, McAdams balances fear and awkwardness with optimism and spirituality (she really is lovely, even in a role this gritty), and Pena is surprising in a role that's hard to pin down because it's refreshingly complex.
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.
Suggest an Update
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