A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
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.
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- Kids say
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.
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