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Parents' Guide to

The Trial of the Chicago 7

By Jennifer Green, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 16+

Courtroom drama has relevant political messages, violence.

Movie R 2020 129 minutes
The Trial of the Chicago 7 Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

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

Community Reviews

age 13+

Based on 4 parent reviews

age 11+

Great film. Aaron Sorkin usual.

Riveting thanks to great performances and screenplay. Somewhere in between 4 to 5 stars. Violence: Nothing way too graphic, but scenes of protest show people getting seriously injured. Punching, kicking, chaos. Tear gas. People are hit upside the heat with batons. Blood is shown occasionally. Someone has his head bashed and he is shown gushing blood and looking pretty injured. A character dies. Referenced later. Pretty sad. Lots and lots of verbal arguments. Language; The F bomb is used probably 40 times. Several with mother. Other profanities are used very often as well. Consumption and sex are basically not here. Extra things include heavy political subjects. And good messages and role models are In full display.

This title has:

Great messages
Great role models
Too much violence
Too much swearing
age 15+

Must watch historical drama, outstanding performances.

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (4 ):
Kids say (11 ):

THis is a suspenseful and sometimes eloquent film with inspired casting that paints '60s-era anti-war activists as flawed heroes up against a corrupt bureaucracy. You'd expect nothing less from the creator of that beacon of principled progressive politics, The West Wing. Writer-director Sorkin's focus on the trial rather than the bloody riots of 1968, which we don't glimpse until more than 45 minutes into The Trial of the Chicago 7, allows the actors to shine with Sorkin standards like fast-paced intellectual sparring and moving displays of courage and righteousness. Baron Cohen, Redmayne, and Rylance were particularly inspired choices in an entirely male-centric cast (and story). They embody their characters' demeanors and accents as well as their passion and intelligence.

The world could use more Hoffmans and Haydens, as they're depicted by Sorkin: whip-smart, committed social critics with, in Hoffman's case, a razor-sharp wit and no fear of authority. In one of the film's best lines, Hoffman sneers at the prosecutor's questioning: "Give me a moment, would you, friend? I've never been on trial for my thoughts before." Some historical knowledge is helpful but not essential, and also not a spoiler here. A 7-minute introduction confuses as much as it contextualizes, giving too much information too fast. The film's relevance to contemporary social upheaval could not be clearer, particularly in the subtexts of racial injustice and excessive use of police force. It's hard to imagine this wasn't fully intentional. At one point, for example, the camera closes in on a protestor's sign reading "Lock them up!" A later scene closes to voiceover chants that "the whole world is watching."

Movie Details

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