Uncertainty

  • Review Date: November 12, 2009
  • Rated: NR
  • Genre: Drama
  • Release Year: 2009
  • Running Time: 105 minutes

Common Sense Media says

Indie drama asks -- but doesn’t answer -- big questions.
  • Review Date: November 12, 2009
  • Rated: NR
  • Genre: Drama
  • Release Year: 2009
  • Running Time: 105 minutes

Age(i)

2
3
4
5
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7
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9
10
11
12
13
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15
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17

Quality(i)

 

What parents need to know

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

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.

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).

Parents say

Kids say

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?

QUALITY
 

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.

Families can talk 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

Theatrical release date:November 13, 2009
DVD release date:April 20, 2010
Cast:Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Lynn Collins, Olivia Thirlby
Director:David Siegel
Studio:IFC Entertainment
Genre:Drama
Run time:105 minutes
MPAA rating:NR

This review of Uncertainty was written by

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are conducted by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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What parents and kids say

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Teen, 15 years old Written byDziko January 9, 2011
AGE
15
QUALITY
 

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. It was as if the movie was saying, "No matter what the situation is, whether you're on the roof of a building or otherwise, you can always get naked!" Apart from that, the movie was just plain boring. It might be my taste in genres, but the "drama" part of the film almost put me to sleep, and the "thriller" part was too interrupted to really be appreciated. Acting-wise, though, Joseph Gordon-Levitt rocked, and from what I remember, Lynn Collins wasn't too bad, either.
Kid, 12 years old March 19, 2010
AGE
15
QUALITY
 
hehe
What other families should know
Too much sex

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