The Revenant

Movie review by
Jeffrey M. Anderson, Common Sense Media
The Revenant Movie Poster Image
Heavy, punishing violence in DiCaprio's revenge Western.
  • R
  • 2015
  • 156 minutes
Parents recommendPopular with kids

Parents say

age 16+
Based on 22 reviews

Kids say

age 15+
Based on 49 reviews

A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

This is a revenge movie, with no other character traits in evidence other than the hero's dogged pursuit and the villain's greed and cowardice. In the end, the need to see that revenge through to the end personally is questioned.

Positive Role Models & Representations

While Hugh Glass is sympathetic for the way he appreciates nature and doesn't judge people by race -- and his skills as a frontiersman are undoubtedly impressive -- his main role in the film is seeking vengeance.

Violence

Men are shot through with arrows, and various body parts are hit (faces, limbs, etc.). Bloody wounds and gory corpses. A brutal bear attack includes with slamming and biting. Guns and shooting; stabbing. Burning homestead. A woman is killed while her son watches. A woman is raped. Characters are scalped. A character suffers great agony -- cauterizing wounds, starving, etc. Wolves attack a buffalo. Characters eat raw, bloody meat. Characters are hung in nooses from trees. A horse and rider fall over a cliff; a smashed, broken horse corpse is sliced open. Avalanche.

Sex

Brief full-frontal male nudity. Brief innuendo.

Language

"F--k" and "s--t" are used many times, plus "Jesus Christ," the "N" word (in reference to American Indians), "t-ts," "son of a bitch," "piss," "ass," and "balls."

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Whisky drinking in a background way.

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.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent of a 12, 14, and 17 year old Written bymovielovinmother45 January 2, 2016

Great Film for Teens

I was given tickets to this film from a co-worker and decided to bring my three children along also (Age 17, 14, and 12) and they absolutely loved this movie! I... Continue reading
Adult Written byjacklee January 9, 2016

Amazing Film

This film was actually amazing. It is a bit slow and is extremely brutal with its realism, but it is definitely worth a watch for adults only. I mainly liked th... Continue reading
Teen, 14 years old Written byrebo344 December 25, 2015

Just give the man an Oscar.

The Revenant is one of the best of 2015. Leonardo Dicaprio is outstanding and I hope he gets the Oscar. Tom Hardy is great. The beautiful cinematography, the po... Continue reading
Kid, 11 years old May 17, 2016

Amazing story of survival and revenge, is very violent and not for kids

The film the Revenant is about a hunting party, that get attacked by Indians and flee with no supplies, and while scouting in the woods there guide Hugh Glass i... Continue reading

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 ...

  • Families can talk about The Revenant's violence. What effect does the brutal, punishing violence have? In what ways is it necessary to the story? What's the impact of media violence on kids?

  • 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?

Movie details

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