The Missing

Movie review by Nell Minow, Common Sense Media
The Missing Poster Image

Common Sense says

age 18+

A disappointment; relentlessly bleak and brutal.

R 2003 100 minutes

Parents say

age 15+

Based on 3 reviews

Kids say

age 12+

Based on 4 reviews

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Community Reviews

age 13+

Far better than review suggests & really no nudity or sex

I’ve seen this movie several times and I’m still not sure what caused it to have an “R” rating. The single instance of nudity is a man laying face down, seen at a distance for maybe 1 second. There was far more nudity in “Dances With Wolves”. There is almost no profanity. There is some dialogue suggesting the main character was assaulted as a child, but nothing specific or obvious & it’s very doubtful a child would pick up on it. There is the sort of violence you might expect with a western, but nothing graphic. I can’t fathom why this movie is described as being “unrelentingly bleak”. It’s a good, fairly accurate depiction of Ranch life in late-1800s New Mexico, and there are even some mildly humorous moments. It had great depictions of Native Americans & includes a lot of Chiricahua language, and Native American groups have praised the film for its accurate portrayals. There are good role models: a mother reconciles with the father who abandoned her as a child & together they rescue her older daughter who has been abducted. Has strong female characters and fairly honest portrayals of Apache people. It’s directed by Ron Howard & stars Cate Blanchett and Tommy Lee Jones. If you’re comfortable with your kids seeing films like “3:10 to Yuma”, “Dances With Wolves”, or any Clint Eastwood westerns this film should be ok for them to watch.

This title has:

Educational value
Great role models
1 person found this helpful.
age 16+

The Missing - Long and Rugged but Engrossing

Just took another look at this curiosity. The Missing is certainly a compelling and at times confronting watch, it's set in the South/West in a time and place where such evil practices took place and does not attempt to ‘romanticise’ it’s realistic characters. Ron Howard’s direction is accomplished, giving us both gruelling and challenging entertainment - filled with exciting authenticity and suspense – unfortunately, being a western, it was difficult to sell to the average movie-going public of its day. The story by Thomas Eidson has a committed authenticity for the pioneering days of the American West and Ken Kaufman’s screenplay adaption keeps it bristling with tough situations and colourful characterisations. One problem could be that somewhere, someone allowed it to go on a bit too long--even though it always remains watchable. There’s a particularly exciting sequence that I can understand could end up being rather difficult for some to accept, this involves an ageing Tommy Lee Jones’s character enduring considerable punishment at the hands of his enemies - then mustering up the energy to confront them with some demanding activities. Failing this, the story has enough elements and twists to intrigue and leave us wondering how the tense situations will play out in the finale. The widescreen cinematography is impressive and there’s a complex James Horner score to add interest. Performances are convincing, with Jones being perfect as the mysterious Indian outsider (or is he??) and for those who understand near-lost languages, there’s authentic Native American dialogue being used to fine effect. It’s quite an epic and more suited to mature audiences or to lovers of historical character studies.
1 person found this helpful.

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