A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that The Revenant is a revenge Western that's full of brutal, punishing violence. The main character (played by Leonardo DiCaprio) overcomes crippling wounds, hunger, cold, and pain to find the man who killed his son; he's often shown in great agony. Characters are also shot with arrows and guns, mauled by bears, and fall over cliffs. Blood, gore, and wounds are shown, as are dead bodies (both human and animal). A woman is raped. Language is also very strong, with uses of "f--k," "s--t," and more. There's a brief moment of full-frontal male nudity, and some whisky drinking is shown.
What's the story?
In the early 1800s, a fur-trapping expedition is brutally attacked by American Indians, and leader Henry (Domhnall Gleeson) decides to ditch their haul and return home. The group's survival depends heavily on Hugh Glass (Leonardo DiCaprio), an experienced explorer who was once married to a Pawnee woman and had a son, Hawk (Forrest Goodluck), with her. When Glass is brutally mauled by a bear, the greedy, cowardly John Fitzgerald (Tom Hardy) and young Jim Bridger (Will Poulter) are left behind with Hawk to look after Glass -- and, if he dies, to give him a decent burial. Unfortunately, Fitzgerald kills Hawk and hits the road with Bridger. Against all odds, Glass fights for life until he's able to travel, find Fitzgerald, and exact his revenge.
Is it any good?
This revenge Western boasts a committed performance by DiCaprio and extraordinary cinematography by Emmanuel Lubezki. Lubezki -- who also shot The Tree of Life, Gravity, and Birdman -- gives THE REVENANT a fully immersive, dimensional look, with jaw-dropping long takes and strikingly physical realism. And for his part, DiCaprio does punishing work, truly putting himself through the ringer for his art.
For a while, it's easy to be carried away by all of this -- until we realize that Oscar-winning director Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu doesn't quite have enough to say and that the movie, at 2 hours and 36 minutes, is an long attempt to add weight and profundity to a pulp Western. Some of the story turns are overly familiar, and the supporting characters are thin. Add to that a high level of sheer brutality, and The Revenant, while well made, certainly isn't for everyone.
Talk to your kids about ...
What's the appeal of revenge stories? What happens when Glass finally reaches the end of his quest? Is it satisfying? What does he accomplish?
What's the appeal of the Western genre? Why do you think it's less popular today than it used to be?
Glass manages to survive against all odds, injured, in the wilderness. Does that make him inspiring? Do his skills make you want to learn more about survival?
- In theaters: December 25, 2015
- On DVD or streaming: April 19, 2016
- Cast: Leonardo DiCaprio, Tom Hardy, Domhnall Gleeson
- Director: Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu
- Studio: Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation
- Genre: Action/Adventure
- Topics: History
- Run time: 156 minutes
- MPAA rating: R
- MPAA explanation: strong frontier combat and violence including gory images, a sexual assault, language and brief nudity
- Awards/Honors: Academy Award, Golden Globe
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.