A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Confronting fear. Examining history and personal accountability. The movie revolves around a wartime massacre and traumatized former soldiers, many of whom struggle to cope with resulting mental health issues.
Positive Role Models
Ari is inquisitive about gaps in his knowledge and makes the documentary to help him recover what he has lost. Soldiers talk frankly about their experiences in some cases, which includes the discussion of wartime violence.
Discussion of post-traumatic stress and mental health. The main participants and crew are all Israeli and male, although there are references to other countries and nationals.
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Violence & Scariness
One interviewee is haunted by nightmare visions of threatening dogs. Wartime combat. Gun shots and death. Discussion of mass death and killing. Bloody injury and death. Interviewees discuss processing fear and trauma during and after wartime. Scenes of a massacre -- both animated and real-life news footage. Dead and decaying bodies in news footage.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Full-frontal nudity. Characters shown in underwear. Animated footage of pornography on TV includes graphic sex in multiple positions. Implied group sex.
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Language used includes "a--hole" and "f--k."
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Adults drink alcohol in moderation. They also smoke what appears to be a cannabis joint.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Waltz with Bashir is an animated documentary with adult themes, wartime violence -- both animated and in news footage -- sex, and nudity. The film is about writer-director Ari Folman's attempt to uncover his repressed memories about serving in the Israeli army during the 1982 war with Lebanon. The movie's mix of real-life interviews and imagined footage of recalled events are all animated. The tone is sometimes detached and journalistic, but other times more emotive when interviewees recall their experiences and traumatizing events. Wartime violence is frequent, with much discussion of killing and death. Toward the end of the movie, there is also upsetting news footage of a massacre. Sex features briefly in one animated, but graphic, pornographic sequence. Nudity also features intermittently, as people recall dreams and historical events. Although infrequent there is some use of "f--k" and "a--hole." Characters are also shown drinking and smoking what appears to be cannabis. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
An unusual mix of journalism, dramatization, and animation, this autobiographical documentary attempts an examination of what war does to its participants, primarily writer and director Folman. Waltz with Bashir's illustrated and animated interviews with fellow veterans of the 1982 Lebanon War give the events and effects discussed a dream-like quality that often represent traumatizing real-life history. It also helps Folman uncover repressed memories of his participation in combat.
With a slow and unwinding pace, this series of conversations sometimes struggles to stay engaging. The animated dream sequences and dramatizations of historical events that intercut many of the interviews become repetitive in places, too, meaning that anyone without a strong interest in this period of history or in psychology might experience diminishing returns. Undoubtedly a labor of love and a painstakingly personal project, Waltz with Bashir does, however, avoid ever feeling self-indulgent on the part of its creator. As its horrifying finale holds the tragic impact of war on ordinary people in the spotlight, it is uncensored and the animation certainly doesn't soften its impact.
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.