Parents' Guide to

The Mauritanian

By Jeffrey M. Anderson, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 16+

Effective, horrifying drama about Guantanamo Bay prison.

Movie R 2021 129 minutes
The Mauritanian Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 16+

Based on 5 parent reviews

age 15+

Deep, stressful and hurtful, best for adults

A good thing to show how inmates are treated and be aware of others' journeys and how they survived. A bit swearing but no clear sex scenes, some blurry ones but it's clear it's abuse.
age 15+

Worth watching!

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (5 ):
Kids say (1 ):

Based on harrowing true events, this drama has too many moving parts that don't really move much, and it never feels very important or very emotional, but the fine cast at least makes it watchable. Directed by Oscar-winning documentarian Kevin Macdonald (One Day in September), The Mauritanian feels somewhat similar to Macdonald's other based-on-a-true-story drama, The Last King of Scotland. It's professional and well acted, if rather blandly serious and without much personality. At least it makes Salahi something of a major character, with his own agenda, rather than someone who appears only through the eyes of White characters. And Rahim (best known for the Oscar-nominated French movie A Prophet) is strikingly good.

Foster plays Hollander with no-nonsense energy, having a little fun shooting wry grins at the other characters, who can't believe that she can pull this off. Cumberbatch shows up with a surprising Southern accent, projecting decency and goodness even though he starts the story from a place of revenge and on the "wrong" side. Indeed, The Mauritanian seems to assume that Salahi is innocent -- or at least, even if he's not, that the U.S. government is also guilty. The movie offers some information about the horrific conditions at Gitmo and references to how Hollander and Duncan's work would have made them look like traitors. More of these kinds of elements might have elevated the drama, but as it stands, the movie does just what it needs to do to get its point across.

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