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Unbreakable

Movie review by
Nell Minow, Common Sense Media
Unbreakable Movie Poster Image
Interesting premise, but ultimately disappointing.
  • PG-13
  • 2000
  • 106 minutes

Parents say

age 13+
Based on 7 reviews

Kids say

age 13+
Based on 26 reviews

A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

No positive messages. Explores the duality of good and evil as conveyed through comic books. 

Positive Role Models & Representations

No positive role models. 

Violence

After a home invasion, a family is held hostage, wrists tied up and looking extremely traumatized. Brief shots of the father dead in the stairwell. The son of one of the lead characters pulls a gun on his father, believing that if he shoots him, the lead character won't be hurt. Strongly implied date rape of a young woman passed out in a bed at a party. A man in a moving car hits an African-American standing on a street corner with a bottle and yells, "Go back to Africa!" Talk of several disasters in which there were no survivors. Footage of a derailed train in which nearly everyone was killed. Son of one of the lead characters shown scratched up after trying to stand up to bullies in school. 

Sex

When one of the lead characters does not respond to a comic book store clerk's announcement that they are closing and that he needs to leave, the comic book store clerk tells one of the lead characters that he "better not be jacking off to Japanese comics." 

Language

Infrequent profanity: "S--t," "ass," "goddamn," "Jesus," "Jesus Christ." Man in a car shouts a racist comment at African-Americans on a street corner. Reference made to masturbation. 

Consumerism

Tropicana orange juice carton prominently featured in one scene. 

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Characters have drinks at dinner in one scene--no intoxication. Antagonist drinks from a bottle of beer, spits some of it on his victim. 

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Unbreakable is a 2000 M. Night Shyamalan movie in which Bruce Willis plays a security guard who begins to understand that he has special powers. Although most of the violence is either brief or offscreen, there are some disturbing scenes. A family is held hostage by a home invader--the father is briefly shown dead in the stairwell while the rest of the family is tied up to radiators looking traumatized. An African-American standing on a street corner is hit in the head with a bottle by a man in a moving car who yells "Go back to Africa!" Strongly implied date rape (not shown) of a young woman passed out in a bed at a party. The son of the lead character pulls a gun on him and threatens to shoot him as a way to prove that the lead character is impervious to injury. News footage and discussion of various disasters--natural and manmade. News footage of a train derailment in which nearly everyone is killed. One reference made to masturbation. Infrequent profanity. 

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byAshnak April 9, 2008

Cult Classic

One of the best movies I have ever seen
Adult Written byMovie Man July 27, 2009

Brilliant Thriller!

This is one of teh best thrillers to date and it holds one of the best endings/twists ever. It blew me away!
Teen, 14 years old Written byluna2211 March 15, 2015

Spoilers

This is one of M. Night's best movies (the best movies include this one, Sixth Sense, and Signs). This movie is a superhero movie that isn't based on... Continue reading
Teen, 14 years old Written byJadenp March 12, 2011

Great movie, with a twist.

Suggested MPAA Rating: PG-13 for mature thematic elements. There's nearly nothing actually 'inappropriate', just one or two mild swear words.... Continue reading

What's the story?

UNBREAKABLE stars Bruce Willis as David Dunn, a security guard who seems disconnected from his own life, unable to remember very much about his past and unwilling to connect to his wife and child. When he is the only survivor of a train crash, walking away without a single injury, bruise, or scratch, he is contacted by Elijah Price (Samuel L. Jackson), a comic art dealer who has a congenital bone disease. Price has bones that break easily; Dunn has bones that never break. Price believes there must be a connection, and that he must help Dunn find his destiny. Themes of good and evil, hero and enemy, strength and vulnerability, thesis and antithesis, and destiny and choice appear throughout the movie. Several times, characters see something upside down at first, and then have to turn it around to see it clearly. Price helps Dunn realize that he is more than a security guard. He is a protector. When Dunn begins to use his gifts, he begins to lose the sadness that has always engulfed him. When he tells his wife he had a nightmare, he is not referring to the murderer he has just battled but to a past in which he was able to sense tragedy around him but was not aware that he had the ability to protect people from it.

Is it any good?

The big surprise ending of Unbreakable is what a disappointment it is. The writer/director of The Sixth Sense begins with many of the same elements -- Bruce Willis, a Philadelphia setting, a strained marriage, a child who is grappling with some big issues, elements of the supernatural, and a twist at the end. Once again, he creates a haunting and portentous mood with subdued performances, somber hues, and fluid camera movements. But unlike The Sixth Sense. in which a surprise at the end kicked the entire movie into a higher gear (and inspired audiences to go see it again to help them unravel it), this one has an ending that inspired hoots and boos at the screening I attended. In particular, the "what happens after the movie ends" description that appears onscreen just before the credits is the worst I have ever seen.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about pop culture conceptions of "good versus evil." What are some of the ways in which this movie plays with themes often explored in comic books--the "reluctant hero" for instance, or the hero who doesn't realize they have the abilities of a superhero? 

  • What are some other indirect ways in which the movie references the comic book aesthetic--the clothing colors of the lead characters, for instance? 

  • M. Night Shyamalan has a distinctive style to his movies. What are some of the features of that style? Who are some other film directors with a distinct style? 

Movie details

Themes & Topics

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For kids who love fantasy and thrills

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