Parents' Guide to

The Next Three Days

By Jeffrey Anderson, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 15+

Mature prison escape drama is tense, but also slow.

Movie PG-13 2010 122 minutes
The Next Three Days Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

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

Community Reviews

age 12+

Based on 5 parent reviews

age 12+


Loved passionate acting.. enjoyed Liam token role as escape planner.. as usual great story teller.. It was a bit unreal. Hollywood stepped in to show male violence against a female and attempted abandonment of a child. All unhealthy and as a mother unreal. That awful music chosen as he begins his flight plan is horrible. Then the chase as they escape also sooo overdone including the jittery music. I think every agency joined in and completely over the top chase at the end. Usually reserved for some type of serial killer or gang members. Helicopters and all.
age 15+


I thought this was a great movie...not a typical shoot 'em up for revenge, but more realistic. The main character is motivated by love (he is trying to save his wife's life), though he breaks the law and even kills. It isn't ideal, but he doesn't set out to kill (a drug dealer) and clearly isn't comfortable with the idea. I like that he tries what seems to be impossible; struggles and fails. He gets back up,; then becomes determined and just does what he has to do to try to save his wife, setting aside his fears. The focus here is on using the brain, rather than intending violence, and the main character is very clever. Though the main character breaks the law, I like it that he is the hero of his family without being overly violent or even having any prior experience trying to be the hero. He adapts and is determined to do what must be done. Very suspenseful, and the acting is really great. I also think it's refreshing that there isn't a big focus on sex or language. See common sense's review. There is violence, but there isn't a ton, and not much gore is shown (also refreshing).

Is It Any Good?

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

While it does manage a few neat ideas and twists, the movie never quite balances thought and action. Director Paul Haggis has built his reputation on soapbox movies like Crash and In the Valley of Elah, so it's surprising that, once The Next Three Days finishes speaking about the female power dynamic and the broken justice system, it simply turns into a straight-ahead thriller packed with intricate details and gripping suspense.

It mostly works, but Haggis is more a director of ideas than instinct, and he's simply not skilled at this kind of pure suspense. The movie isn't tightly paced and often moves too slowly or takes too long. It also has no idea what to do with John and Lara's son, Luke (Ty Simpkins), who gets shuttled around from place to place with no voice or opinion of his own; he's like a prop, and when he's in danger of being left behind, it doesn't feel like there's anything at stake.

Movie Details

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