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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
The movie argues that war is bad while also objectifying battle. It also neglects a key piece of relevant history -- the Armenian Genocide -- though it does include a brief but potent message about the evils of racism.
Positive Role Models
The characters are generally quite admirable, selflessly giving their time and effort -- and eventually risking their lives -- to help people in another country. A female character insists that women can do more than just raise families.
Violence & Scariness
Very bloody war scenes, with guns and shooting, explosions, and bloody wounds. Brief moments of gore/blood spurts. Stabbing/slicing. Digging bullets out of skin. Characters fight with their fists, and there's a fight/chase on horseback. Disturbing hospital images. Dogs fight over human arms. Children in the war zone. Verbal references to gore.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Characters kiss passionately, undress, and have sex (brief scene, no graphic nudity).
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
A character takes ether when alone.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that The Ottoman Lieutenant is a wartime drama/romance set in Turkey during the early days of World War I. It's a little sappy, but it's heartfelt and good in an old-fashioned way. That said, it's also very violent, with lots of war scenes, guns and shooting, punching and fighting, blood spurts and wounds, stabbing/slicing, explosions, disturbing hospital imagery, and other gory stuff. Characters kiss passionately, undress, and have sex, though it's a fairly brief scene with no graphic nudity. One character takes a hit of ether when he's alone. Viewers should also know that the movie is told from the point of view of the Turks and doesn't address the Armenian Genocide of 1915. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
Unabashedly old-fashioned and romantic, this World War I-era movie fearlessly plucks at the heartstrings while offering glorious, big-screen cinematography ... and a bit of revisionist history. The Ottoman Lieutenant may may lack big-name movie stars. And, because it was funded largely by Turkish financiers, it shines a positive light on the country, largely ignoring the Armenian Genocide of 1915. But if you judge it based on goal of telling a romantic story against an intense wartime backdrop, like a mini-Dr. Zhivago or The English Patient, it succeeds handsomely.
The three characters involved in the love triangle are very appealing, and their human qualities make their relationship all the more complex. Plus, Ben Kingsley is wonderfully hammy as the founder of the Turkish hospital. Veteran director Joseph Ruben, who usually makes low-level thrillers (like the excellent The Stepfather) forgoes any tricks and simply uses a gorgeous widescreen backdrop with spectacular landscapes and plays of light to underline his story. The telling of it is smart but not confusing, tragic but not weepy, and swoon-inducing without being dopey.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.