The Missing

Movie review by
Nell Minow, Common Sense Media
The Missing Movie Poster Image
A disappointment; relentlessly bleak and brutal.
  • R
  • 2003
  • 100 minutes

Parents say

age 16+
Based on 2 reviews

Kids say

age 12+
Based on 4 reviews

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A lot or a little?

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


Extreme and very graphic peril and violence, characters killed, suicide. Intense peril.


Sexual references, nude dead body.


Some strong language.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Characters drink and smoke.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this is an extremely violent movie, with frequent and exceptionally graphic brutal images and many injuries and deaths, including death of a child. A character commits suicide. There are sexual references and non-explicit sexual situations. The plot revolves around a plan to sell the girls into prostitution. Characters drink alcohol and use some strong language.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byKen R. March 24, 2020

The Missing - Long and Rugged but Engrossing

Just took another look at this curiosity. The Missing is certainly a compelling and at times confronting watch, it's set in the South/West in a time and p... Continue reading
Adult Written byTheoDoyp January 23, 2016

Review Of The Missing

I don't understand the hate this film is getting. I thought this was a really good western thriller with great acting, likable characters and of course a n... Continue reading
Teen, 14 years old Written bymeleeman243 April 28, 2014

Great movie!

I really liked this movie it has good characters and you can really believe everything they do and say it has a bit of blood and mud but it can be handled... Continue reading
Teen, 14 years old Written bywillowfew October 9, 2011

violence can be distirbing but over all good move

its fine im 14 thers a lot of violence but its ture this all hapined c kides sale this all the time they lived it. its history the nudity is pg13 its a butt the... Continue reading

What's the story?

THE MISSING centers on Maggie (Cate Blanchett), an indomitable frontier woman who can yank an infected tooth, chop the firewood, handle a pouting teenager, and still find time for a romantic interlude with a handsome cowboy. She is known as a healer, and never turns anyone away, even her estranged father (Tommy Lee Jones), who deserted her family when she was a child and has been living with the Indians. She will treat him, but she will not forgive him. But then, when an Indian shaman and his henchmen (some Indian, some white) murder Maggie's lover and kidnap her daughter to sell her into prostitution, Maggie has to ask her father to help her track them so she can bring her daughter home.

Is it any good?

The Missing is a disappointment, relentlessly politically correct and even more relentlessly bleak and brutal. In some ways, it's is a very traditional set-up, with the quintessential movie plot -- two people who do not get along forced to take a physical and psychological journey together in pursuit of a goal. Director Ron Howard sustains the bleak and ominous atmosphere with images like a riderless horse returning home and a wolf on the dining room table. And the story has some resonance, with themes that circle back. One parent left a child and another cannot leave a child, among other themes. Another parent who loses a child cannot continue.

The Missing has strengths, including the willingness to attempt some thematic complexity, reliably solid performances by Blanchett and Jones and the outstanding Jenna Boyd. But it does not address its themes with enough depth to justify its darkness, and thus does not succeed.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the dualities this movie emphasizes.

  • Discuss how the Native Americans and the settlers interact. What does this say about our shared cultural past?

Movie details

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