The Matrix

Movie review by
Nell Minow, Common Sense Media
The Matrix Movie Poster Image
Popular with kidsParents recommend
Intense, but many teens will be able to handle it.
  • R
  • 1999
  • 136 minutes

Parents say

age 12+
Based on 84 reviews

Kids say

age 12+
Based on 374 reviews

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A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

"Reality" may no be what you think it is. If you are called to save others, you have a choice to accept or reject a destiny others tell you that you have. Never give up, even against great odds in an ever-changing reality.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Morpheus tells Neo is told he's "the One" who was prophesied to end the war between machines and humans. Neo accepts his destiny, trains hard and makes tough, brave choices. Morpheus looks out for Neo and at one point sacrifices himself to protect him.


Many fight sequences involving knives, guns, kicks, punches. Deaths during battle scenes. An icky bug enters the hero's body through his belly button.


Brief scene with scantily clad characters, cleavage, passionate kissing.


"S--t" and "goddamn," numerous times, also "ass," a--hole," "hell," "crap" and "Jesus" and "Jesus Christ" used as excalmations.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

The Oracle smokes, one character has a drink.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that although The Matrix is an exciting, sometimes confusing, sci-fi adventure with a brooding Keanu Reeves and a mysterious Laurence Fishburne at it center. It's heavy on special effects and rated R for violence (some pretty gross, including an icky bug that enters the hero's body through his belly button) and language ("s--t," "goddamn," "crap," etc.). Most teens 14 and up who are begging to see it should be able to handle it without a problem, though the plot can be confusing as it unfolds.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byJakk May 19, 2011

Exciting, fun, and fine for teens - doesn't deserve the R rating

The Matrix is a classic action film that's great for teens, and in no way does it deserve an R rating. There are a lot of fist fights and shootouts here, b... Continue reading
Adult Written byCastellanos June 21, 2009

Classic Sci-Fi is a step above the average movie

The Matrix is one of the few films that you'll find in almost anyones movie library. This is no surprise however, because the Matrix is a step above many s... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written byMovieGoer08 August 2, 2019

I can't speak

BEST MOVIE EVER!!! I don't want to sound like an immature child, but if you have not seen this movie, what are you reading this review for? Go watch it! I... Continue reading
Teen, 15 years old Written byOneeyedeagle September 30, 2019

Ignore the “R” rating

This is an amazing sci-fy movie that is violent, but very tame in comparison to your recent marvel and Jason Bourne movies, both being PG-13. According to a fri... Continue reading

What's the story?

In THE MATRIX, Keanu Reeves stars as Neo, a computer programmer with a sideline as a hacker, who gets mysterious messages that lead him to Morpheus (Laurence Fishburne), leader of a ragtag group that lives aboard a rocket-style craft. It turns out that it's not 1999 but about 100 years into the future. All of humanity has been turned into a source of energy to keep machines "alive." The Matrix is a massive computer program that has the humans believing that they are still living in a world that has actually been destroyed. Special agents, led by Smith (Hugo Weaving), seek out Morpheus and his followers to destroy them.

Is it any good?

This film is heavy on special effects and brooding paranoia, light on plot, dialogue, character, and even coherence. THE MATRIX challenges what's real and what's part of an elaborate, fake cyber-reality, so it can be confusing for both the audience and the characters in the movie. But it's certainly an ideal pick for the kind of teen who wishes that video games could come to life. Though it's rated R for violence (some pretty gross, including an icky bug that enters the hero's body through his belly button) and language, most teens 14 and up who are begging to see it should be able to handle it without a problem.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the relationship between humans and machines. Why was the first Matrix program, creating the perception of a utopia-like society, unacceptable to the humans?

  • What do you think of the violence in The Matrix? Is it too much, or approrpriate to the story?

  • How well do you think The Matrix deals with the philosophical issues it raises, such as destiny vs. free will and loyalty vs. self-interest?

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love sci-fi

Themes & Topics

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