Uncertainty

Movie review by
S. Jhoanna Robledo, Common Sense Media
Uncertainty Movie Poster Image
Indie drama asks -- but doesn’t answer -- big questions.
  • NR
  • 2009
  • 105 minutes

Parents say

age 11+
Based on 1 review

Kids say

age 15+
Based on 2 reviews

A lot or a little?

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

Positive messages

The film asks “what if” and explores the results of different choices, large and small, but it doesn't really offer any clear answers to the questions it poses.

Positive role models & representations

The couple at the center of the film has a warm and tender relationship, and they support each other through difficult and turbulent events.

Violence

One sudden assault, and several intense chase scenes (on foot) through the streets of New York, with occasional gunshots.

Sex

One sex scene with brief flashes of partial nudity.

Language

Regular but not constant swearing, including “s--t” and “f--k" and "damn."

Consumerism

A Chase bank and a Palm Treo both play important roles and are mentioned by name several times.

Drinking, drugs & smoking

Social drinking at parties by characters who are of age.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this indie movie -- part thriller, part drama -- may prove too offbeat and experimental for teens, even though it stars (500) Days of Summer's Joseph Gordon-Levitt. It asks some big questions about family and relationships but doesn't really answer them, and there's not a lot to take away from watching. Expect a fair amount of profanity (including "f--k" and "s--t", a brief sexual interlude with no outright nudity, and some gunfire that results in death (though it's not particularly graphic).

User Reviews

Adult Written byDave S. March 6, 2017
Teen, 15 years old Written byDziko January 9, 2011

I love you, JGL, but...

Oh, geez. As much as I'm in love with Joseph Gordon-Levitt and his acting skills, I hated this movie. The thing that annoyed me most was probably the sex.... Continue reading
Kid, 12 years old March 19, 2010

What's the story?

Bobby (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) and Kate (Lynn Collins) have been together only 10 months, but they’re at a critical juncture: They’re expecting a baby. But what to do about it? Within the first 15 minutes of UNCERTAINTY, the story splinters into two vastly different directions: One’s a thriller involving a stranger’s cell phone that leads to gunfire and mayhem; the other’s a slow Fourth of July filled with big questions about family and relationships.

Is it any good?

Certainly, Uncertainty is creative. The twin storylines appear to reference a major decision that Bobby and Kate face in their relationship -- to keep or not to keep something -- and the two scenarios unfold simultaneously in a conceptually intriguing way. But while the exceedingly gifted Gordon-Levitt and the able Collins make for a watchable pair, the setup is gimmicky and the resolution unsatisfying.

It’s as if we’re watching two different films, one a thriller, the other a drama. And when the two finally meet in the end, we’re more perplexed than satisfied. But New York City is beautiful here, grit and all. In either storyline, it, more than anything, holds the audience’s gaze.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about what theme binds the two storylines together. What are the similarities? Does the film’s structure enhance or detract from the story?

  • Do Bobby and Kate seem like a loving couple? Troubled? Both? How realistic is their relationship?

  • What feeling does the film end with, and why? What are the little-spoken conflicts that loom over Bobby and Kate?

Movie details

For kids who love quirky movies

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