Parents' Guide to

The Zero Theorem

By Jeffrey Anderson, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 17+

Dense, messy, brilliant movie has some sex, language.

Movie R 2014 107 minutes
The Zero Theorem Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

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

Community Reviews

age 14+

Based on 1 parent review

age 14+

Intelligent, futuristic sci-fi with a philosophical angle with sexualised nudity

This is a typical Terry Gilliam film. Set in a dark and trashy future with garish characters popping up every which way it hones in on an obsessive worker who crunches intense volumes of data via what appears to be a games console. He is lonely, joyless and waiting for a call... The most objectionable thing might be the sex references and sex theme built around one female character who exists to antagonise the protagonist. Women are often shown scantily clad and there are several shots of women half naked. Despite the odd scene here and there being a but awkward for younger teen viewing I think suitability really depends on the maturity levels of your child. If you are familiar, as a family, with Gilliam's style and the risqué nature of this Bladerunner-esque corner of the sci - fi world then this film might be suitable for children as young as 12. I would describe the main issues as occasional scenes of a Playboy nature. In and of itself this could be an issue to be discussed as the character is being manipulated by his superiors, emotionally backed into corners. This raises questions about human temptation and basic emotional normatives. There is some swearing and scenes of futuristic partying. It is a dense film, a little muddled in places and trying to reach into an absurdity very typical of the director. Much like every thing he has ever made really. It was enjoyable and gave rise to many thoughtful questions. It certain peels away the perception that consumerism and a heavy work schedule are positives and causes us to consider carefully what constitutes a life worth living and the right we have to privacy and autonomy.

This title has:

Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (1):
Kids say (1):

Terry Gilliam is a visionary director whose huge, personal visions are frequently as fantastic and futuristic as they are unwieldy and difficult to pin down. In short, they aren't for everyone, and THE ZERO THEOREM is perhaps one of his more downbeat films, if also one of his most heartfelt. It explores the clash between being solitary and living with humanity, ridiculing both as much as finding beauty in them.

Qohen Leth's living space is vast but in ruins, while the outside world is bright and new but also busy and noisy. Technology usually comes between actual human relationships, but sometimes there are surprises. Gilliam has guided Oscar-nominated performances before, and Waltz's work here is quite powerful and moving, which helps. It's a dense film, layered with ideas and themes, many that require pondering or perhaps a second viewing. Though it comes close in many ways to Gilliam's masterpiece Brazil (1985), ultimately it finds its own path.

Movie Details

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