A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Teamwork leads to success: "All for one, and one for all." Themes of honor, brotherhood, and friendship. And as the main character says, "Money serves well but rules badly."
Positive Role Models
Charles D'Artagnan and the Three Musketeers are a part of the military unit that protects the king; they demonstrate courage, perseverance, and integrity, and they abide by their own code of honor. That said, the musketeers also engage in iffy behavior like torture and womanizing. Constance, the queen's maid and confidant, is loyal, decisive, strategic, capable, and self-possessed.
Cast is entirely White and European, and the central male characters display arrogant machismo over petty grievances. But one of the musketeers is bisexual. And the female characters are given more dimension here than in the book the movie is based on: They're less submissive and more in control and independent, including the female villain. A grave digger who has a wooden leg is threatened into doing the villains' dirty work and then abused by the heroes.
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Violence & Scariness
Mass shooting by a sniper within a safe, sacred environment. Death by suicide is portrayed as a noble act. Hanging. A female murder victim's breasts are exposed and bloody in a post-sex position in bed. Frequent gunfire and swordplay from muskets and pistols, killing and injuring. First-person point-of-view during surprise attacks and other battles, which makes the character's peril more intense. Use of a red-hot branding iron. Torture. Domestic abuse. Character is buried alive. Severed finger. Close-up of open wound being sewn up. Explosion. Issuing, accepting, and showing up for duels is seen as a sign of masculinity. Dead bodies.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Aramis is a womanizer who's said to be torn between God and women; several allusions to his interludes with married women. Brief discussion of Porthos' sexual desires; he's shown in a "morning after" moment after a threesome that includes another man and a woman. A torrid love affair causes a near-international incident but is conveyed only in an embrace. A courtship with flirting; completing a difficult and dangerous task is viewed as a gesture of love. A man is shown waking up in bed next to a dead naked woman (see Violence & Scariness for more).
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Drinking scene at a pub; the cut to the morning after suggests that drunken debauchery took place. A character smokes an elegant pipe.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that The Three Musketeers - Part I: D'Artagnan is a swashbuckling French action drama that takes a mature approach to Alexandre Dumas' classic novel. Rather than treating the musketeers as silly adventurers, it centers its "historical epic" approach on the deadly serious moment in which France enters a religious civil war. Sword-fighting and gunplay are realistically violent. There's torture, a mass shooting by a sniper, death by suicide (portrayed as a noble act), hanging, and more. The camera is often located just behind the character who's fighting off attackers, offering an intense, first-person approach that conveys what it might feel like to have enemies coming from all directions with sharp blades and smoking pistols. The musketeers have integrity and a sense of brotherhood, but they also have outdated attitudes. Duels are viewed as demonstrations of masculinity, one musketeer mentions how he could have "forced" a woman to comply with his sexual desires as if that was an acceptable option, and another seems to delight in torturing a man who has a disability. Although women are shown being abused, branded, hung, and brutally stabbed to death, female characters are also given more strength and control than in Dumas' book. There's drinking and smoking, but no swearing. Know that, as a Part I, the film ends on a cliffhanger. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
Director Martin Bourboulon takes viewers to the early 17th century and inserts them into Alexandre Dumas' classic novel like no one has before. The Three Musketeers - Part I: D'Artagnan has sweeping cinematography that captures the beauty of the French countryside and the elaborate architecture of French palaces, incredible first-person perspectives on what it's like to be in battle, and costumes that feel so accurate you can almost feel the fabric. Plus, well-respected French actors play these very French characters, who are experiencing French history.
It may make you wonder why it's taken so long for a mainstream movie to depict these characters with such gravity (including much more realistic portrayals of Cardinal de Richelieu and King Louis XIII than in previous iterations). Just know that the film's more realistic approach also includes callous behavior and portrayals of arrogant masculinity. Still, it's thoroughly stimulating -- and it may even make some viewers seek out Dumas' novel and research the history of France.
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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.