Third Person

Movie review by
Jeffrey M. Anderson, Common Sense Media
Third Person Movie Poster Image
Good actors wasted in muddled mess with sex, language.
  • R
  • 2014
  • 137 minutes

Parents say

age 17+
Based on 1 review

Kids say

age 17+
Based on 1 review

Did this review miss something on diversity?

Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive, diverse representations in books, TV shows, and movies. Want to help us help them? Suggest a diversity update

A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

Two vague messages might be extracted: Always watch your kids, and never trust a writer.

Positive Role Models & Representations

One character tries to help another with some money, but it's not very clear whether what he's done is a good thing or a bad thing. Other characters aren't very nice to one another.


A man punches another man, who draws a gun. The gun is pointed at several people but never fired. Other guns are produced but not fired. In another scene, a man forcibly removes a woman from his apartment, dragging her across the floor. There's a strange, not very well explained subplot about a man who has sex with and/or sexually abuses his grown daughter. Also quite a bit of yelling, plus talk of a child who drowned in a swimming pool (nothing is shown).


A female character is shown naked and topless in more than one scene. She drops her robe and must run through a hotel hallway to get back to her room. She's also shown kissing and having sex with a main male character, as well as a secondary male character. It's suggested after the fact that the second man is her father. (She goes to see him willingly, though she appears uncomfortable.) In another storyline, another couple has sex one time, with no nudity shown.


"F--k" is used several times. "S--t," "hell," "Jesus Christ" (as an exclamation), and "a--hole" are all heard at least once.


Apple iPhones are prominent, as is an Apple MacBook. Budweiser beer is mentioned by name.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Some characters are seen drinking and smoking cigarettes in a background way. A writer has a glass of wine at his desk, and a character orders several strong drinks in a bar, but apparently because he's mainly looking for something cold. No one appears to be drunk.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Third Person is multiple-storyline drama from Paul Haggis, who also made the Oscar-winning Crash. (It's highly unlikely that this movie will elicit the same reaction; it's a mess.) There's some fighting, and guns are produced but never fired. In one scene, a man forcibly removes a woman from his apartment by dragging her, kicking and screaming, across the floor. In another scene, it's suggested that a grown woman has had sex with her father. (The man in question urges her to come to his hotel, and she does what he says, but she appears uncomfortable.) There's some female nudity (toplessness, not full frontal), two sex scenes, and some kissing. Language includes several uses of "f--k," plus "s--t," "a--hole," etc. Characters occasionally drink and smoke, and Apple products are on display in several scenes.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byjohnswanson November 4, 2014

This confusing movie has a lot of sex/nudity.

I'm not sure most teens will want to watch his film, and that's good because they probably shouldn't. Paul Haggis, who directed Crash, tries to... Continue reading
Teen, 16 years old Written byLadyBess15 May 26, 2020
I think this movie is very compelling and masterfully tragic. Almost everyone in this movie has felt pain and sorrow, and even continue to do so. This is a very... Continue reading

What's the story?

In Paris, an aging, Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist (Liam Neeson) taps away on his computer, working on his latest novel. He's sleeping with his beautiful young protégée (Olivia Wilde), while his wife (Kim Basinger) waits at home. Meanwhile, a young mother (Mila Kunis) is fighting to see her son again; her ex-husband (James Franco) has taken the boy away after the mother allowed him to play with dry cleaning bags in the closet. And in Italy, a man who steals fashion ideas for cheap knock-offs (Adrien Brody) becomes fascinated by a beautiful gypsy woman (Moran Atias) who's lost her daughter to child trafficking. These three storylines continue to unwind until, at last, it appears that there's a connection among them.

Is it any good?

Despite the presence of fine actors doing fine work -- especially Wilde, bringing intelligence and playfulness to her role -- THIRD PERSON is an absolute mess. The gypsy/child-trafficking plot is the weakest; despite the early reveal that it's a scam, the story somehow keeps going, with characters conveniently overlooking crucial events. Coincidences, such as a lost piece of paper or surprise revelations about someone's identity, feel like total writer's inventions rather than anything arising naturally out of the story.

Writer/director Paul Haggis, whose Best Picture winner Crash is as criticized as it is admired, seems to have banked on the idea that the mystery of the stories' connections would keep audiences invested for 137 long minutes. But the characters make this difficult, continually distancing themselves with their dumb behavior. The final reveal is more infuriating and frustrating than it is thoughtful. It's a dirty trick that may have viewers calling for that Oscar back.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about Third Person's sexual content. Did any of it seem unnecessary? Was the scene with the woman and the man implied to be her father sex, or abuse? What do you think the intent of that storyline is?

  • How did you feel about the movie's ending? Did it wrap up the storylines effectively? What new information did it provide? Was it satisfying?

  • Are there any characters you'd consider to be positive role models? Is there any admirable behavior in the movie?

  • What other movies have you seen with multiple storylines? How did they compare to this one?

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love drama

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.

See how we rate

Streaming options powered by JustWatch

About these links

Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization, earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes when you use our links to make a purchase. Thank you for your support.

Read more

Our ratings are based on child development best practices. We display the minimum age for which content is developmentally appropriate. The star rating reflects overall quality.

Learn how we rate