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Parents' Guide to

The Net

By Barbara Shulgasser-Parker, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 13+

'90s mystery-thriller is still relevant; violence, language.

Movie PG-13 1995 114 minutes
The Net Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

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

Community Reviews

age 14+

Based on 3 parent reviews

age 13+

Lands differently in 2022 than in 1996

I saw this film for the first time when it was first released on video and someone had borrowed it from a Blockbuster and we all sat around to watch it at a friend's apartment on campus (cuz that's how you watched films that you missed during their first run). I do not remember it being great, but I do remember it being entertaining. Recently re-watched it and it lands differently than it did in 1996. Mostly because Winkler's story makes a lot more sense in 2022, a little too much sense. The film is still not that great, especially the tone, the pacing and how some characters are written but Bullock and Northam do their best with their character arcs and they do an admirable job.
age 12+

Average 90’s Mystery Movie

There’s not much violence and when someone’s shot, it’s not on-screen. It’s implied 2 people had sex but is not shown at all. There is a weird moment that depicts smoking cigarettes as adventurous, but other than that, this is just a soft thriller that’s full of cute 90’s outfits and funny technology throw-backs. Any 13+ year old can handle this film.

This title has:

Great messages
Great role models

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say: (3 ):
Kids say: Not yet rated

The Net is an efficient, high-anxiety thriller about people who generally sit at their desks and peck at keyboards -- but who in this case run around evading pistol-packing cyberterrorists. For maximum enjoyment, viewers would do best to give in to the Hollywood glitz and suspend disbelief regarding the massive conspiracy. The filmmakers had a persuasive point to make about the outsized role computers were playing in our lives, so we can forgive the fact that back in 1995 most internet access was gained by agonizingly slow dial-up modem, complete with screechy dial tones, dropped connections, and halting downloads. To keep up with the movie's racing pulse, on-screen doings nevertheless happen remarkably fast here. Plus, it's unclear why the big bad hackers, employees of an evil software mogul, are after Angela. Why do they need a disc containing their own virus? And why, even after she tells them the disc in question was destroyed, do they continue to pursue her? Never mind, it's part of the Hitchcockian randomness and mistaken identity at the heart of this. (Note that as in Hitchcock's Notorious, a handkerchief is used cleverly.)

That said, Bullock brings her low-key, natural believability to a role that requires we accept her as a shy, isolated loner who is also a fiercely determined warrior. Northam's portfolio as sleek killer is less nuanced but equally well executed. Using music and canny editing, director Irwin Winkler deftly renders numbers flashing on a screen into the heart-racing equivalent of a digital car chase.

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