A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
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.
- Parents say
- Kids say
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?
- In theaters: March 31, 1999
- On DVD or streaming: September 21, 1999
- Cast: Carrie-Anne Moss, Keanu Reeves, Laurence Fishburne
- Directors: Lilly Wachowski, Lana Wachowski
- Studio: Warner Bros.
- Genre: Science Fiction
- Topics: Magic and Fantasy, Adventures, Misfits and Underdogs, Robots, Science and Nature, Space and Aliens
- Run time: 136 minutes
- MPAA rating: R
- MPAA explanation: sci-fi violence and brief language.
- Last updated: February 25, 2020
Our editors recommend
For kids who love sci-fi
Themes & Topics
Browse titles with similar subject matter.
Top advice and articles
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.
Streaming options powered by JustWatch