A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Behind-the-scenes White House intrigue shows how fragile the international political climate can be. By the film's end, the audience fully recognizes the importance of having men of goodwill and superior leadership in positions of power. Clearly it's easy to destabilize a world with such different ideologies, voices, and motives. It takes bravery, intelligence, and the support of other leaders to keep the world safe. Themes include communication, courage, and teamwork.
Positive Role Models
Though President Kennedy and his closest aides stumble a bit, in this crisis they prove to be open-minded, earnest, and brave as they try to live up to the enormous responsibility they've been charged with. Military officials are, for the most part, characterized as eager to go to war and unwilling to reveal any weakness, no matter what the consequences. The events took place in 1962; no women or men of color are involved in a significant way.
Violence & Scariness
Cuban soldiers fire at U.S. planes, some of which are slightly damaged. There are some tense moments as enemy ships engage in a standoff. A plane is shot down and we learn that the pilot has been killed.
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Frequent swearing: "balls," "s--t," "hell," "bastard," "crap," "ass," "goddamn," "Jesus Christ," one use of "f--k" and one ethnic slur "Jap carrier."
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Men consume alcoholic beverages in moderation during some meetings and private conversations. Smoking is seen in the background of many of the White House discussions. President Kennedy swallows some pills in one scene.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Thirteen Days, a docudrama about the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis, is exciting and suspenseful, even though the actual outcome is well known. The film is a recreation of a crucial incident in American history that's suitable for teens and mature tweens, as well as adults. There's frequent swearing used to heighten the emotional impact (i.e., "bastard," "asshole," "s--t," "Jesus Christ," one use of "f--k"). Because the film is set in the 1960s, smoking is a casual part of many of the meetings in the White House. Alcoholic beverages are consumed in several scenes, never to excess. President John F. Kennedy is seen taking a prescription drug on one occasion. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
This gripping film will leave audiences reminding themselves that we are still here, and for once, the tag line has it just right: "You'll never know how close we came." Thirteen Days may seem like a movie script, but it really happened.
Producer Kevin Costner plays a real person, Kennedy staffer Kenny O'Donnell, but the character combines the roles and actions of several people and essentially exists to help tell the story as efficiently as possible. Most of the time, he blends in with a large, capable cast of character actors (though he seems to make himself too important in a pep-talk scene and at the end there is a sort of "Three Musketeers" shot that seems inappropriate).
Did we miss something on diversity?
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.