The Monuments Men

Movie review by
S. Jhoanna Robledo, Common Sense Media
The Monuments Men Movie Poster Image
Fact-based adventure with a few bloody battle scenes.
  • PG-13
  • 2014
  • 118 minutes

Parents say

age 13+
Based on 5 reviews

Kids say

age 11+
Based on 13 reviews

A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

Is a painting or statue worth a human life? Stokes and his men set off on an important mission to find and protect the artifacts that define Western culture, items that would be a terrible blow to humanity if they were lost or destroyed during war, and some circumstances force them to address this thorny question. 

 

 

Positive Role Models & Representations

Stokes and the rest of the Monuments Men enter World War II, assigned not to kill or destroy, but to protect invaluable objects of art. It's a noble task, made more difficult by the death and destruction that surrounds them. 

Violence

Several scenes feature wartime violence, including explosions and gunfights. One scene takes place in a battlefield hospital filled with bloody and dying soldiers. A few characters are shot, sometimes at close range. 

Sex

Very tame flirting between two people who are thrown together during wartime, though the man chooses to be faithful to his wife. 

Language

Occasional swearing, including "sh-t," "hell," "Jesus Christ," and "goddamn." 

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Many people smoke cigarettes, which was typical at the time. Some scenes feature people drinking wine, champagne, cognac and other beverages in social situations.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that The Monuments Men is a fact-based war drama that feels like a cross between Ocean's Eleven and Saving Private Ryan and features some of the same actors. Expect some wartime violence, including some close-range shooting, and scenes with bloody and injured soldiers. Characters smoke frequently and drink occasionally, and there are a few swear words sprinkled throughout the high-stakes action.

User Reviews

Parent of a 15 and 16 year old Written bySierraMom February 8, 2014

Monumental Movie

This is one of the most entertaining movies I've seen in a while. The movie itself is a great balance of funny, exciting, thought-provoking, and sad. The... Continue reading
Adult Written byboy goy February 16, 2014

Cheap Shot

The subject of the movie is and was a serious matter. The director choose to mix the story line with some aspects of the Jewish slaughter that may or may not... Continue reading
Kid, 11 years old March 16, 2014

A Bit Disappointing, Good History Lesson

I thought that this would be better, as the topic is something I am interested in. There is some swearing, but only occasionally. The violence includes a distur... Continue reading
Kid, 11 years old February 8, 2014

15????????????

There is swearing, blood, and a little gore but the only thing that might make it 15 is a scene where there is a barrel or two with golden teeth from jews.

What's the story?

As World War II raged in Europe, Hitler and his generals systematically plundered the greatest artworks of Western civilization, sending millions of paintings, statues, and other valuable pieces back to Germany. Based on a true story, MONUMENTS MEN stars (and is directed by) George Clooney as Frank Stokes, a historian who leads his team (dubbed the Monuments Men), a special unit assigned to find and protect the stolen art. The all-star cast includes Matt Damon, Cate Blanchett, John Goodman, and Bill Murray as scholars-turned-soldiers who brave the battlefields in search of lost treasure.

Is it any good?

The Monuments Men is jaunty, lively and yes, entertaining, and will appeal to teens who are fans of the big-name actors and enjoy an exciting mix of peril and adventure. Bill Murray and John Balaban might have smaller parts, but they're fantastic as treasure hunters, and deserve their own spin-off.

Nonetheless, the movie subverts its mission of convincing the audience that saving art is a big enough story to keep them engaged. Its tone is dissonant -- irreverent, yet serious. Perhaps it's not serious enough, because this mix almost makes it seem as if the filmmakers had doubts about convincing the audience about the seriousness of their endeavor -- Clooney's character, Stokes, makes speeches directly addressing this -- and hedged their bets by trying to be both tongue-in-cheek and earnest. The denouement feels flimsy, the big quest doesn't feel as weighty as it should. Plus, the film lacks a strong narrative arc, moving the action by following the unit from one point to the other while failing to build up any serious stakes.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the moral issue that comes up in the movie. Do you think it's worth sacrificing a your life to protect a piece of art? What value does art bring to society and culture?

  • What do you think the world would be life if the Monuments Men had failed, and so much irreplaceable art was lost forever?

  • What's the tone of the movie? Are we supposed to take the men seriously? What would have made this movie better?

Movie details

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