The Matrix



Intense, but many teens will be able to handle it.
Popular with kidsParents recommend
  • Review Date: May 19, 2003
  • Rated: R
  • Genre: Science Fiction
  • Release Year: 1999
  • Running Time: 136 minutes

What parents need to know

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

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.

Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

The Oracle smokes, one character has a drink.

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.

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?


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, which is heavy on special effects and brooding paranoia, light on plot, dialogue, character, and even coherence. In other words, it's the ideal movie for the kind of teen who wishes that video games could come to life. Though 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.

Families can talk 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

Theatrical release date:March 31, 1999
DVD release date:September 21, 1999
Cast:Carrie-Anne Moss, Keanu Reeves, Laurence Fishburne
Directors:Andy 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.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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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, but there's almost no blood and nothing graphic is ever shown. The violence in this film is stylized and intense, but is still easily within PG-13 territory. Moderate coarse language is used throughout the film, including the s-word. The music during the closing credits includes a song with stronger language (though this will go unnoticed by most viewers). There are two drug references and one sexual innuendo, but those are closer to PG than R. The film has positive main characters who are willing to sacrifice themselves to save others (though there is one rotten apple in the bunch), and the film contains a lot of thought-provoking philosophical content that will interest intelligent viewers.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much swearing
Great messages
Great role models
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 sci-fi movies like it. The plot does not falter at any point during the film and the acting is superb. The shootouts are exhilarating and the special effects were ground-breaking. I'd recommend the Matrix to everyone. Action fans will be satisfied by the violence and people looking for something more than just action will also be pleased by the ideas and questions that the Matrix raises. Parents should know that even though the Matrix is rated R, it is on the softer side of the R rating. There are lots of guns and shootouts (although mostly bloodless), a passionate kiss, and a couple of s**ts and damns.
Parent of a 13 year old Written byjimanorris May 21, 2011

Good movie...

A little violent, but most teens should be able to easily tell it's not real.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much swearing


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