Parents' Guide to

Turning Point: 9/11 and the War on Terror

By Melissa Camacho, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 15+

9/11 docu is thoughtful, disturbing, and violent.

Turning Point: 9/11 and the War on Terror Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this TV show.

Community Reviews

age 17+

Based on 2 parent reviews

age 15+

A Painful but Important Part of Our History

This series may be difficult for some to watch, both because of the sensitive subject matter, as well as the uncomfortable realities that it asks us to face about our own country's actions surrounding the 9/11 attacks. The series is about 5 hours total, and it covers everything from the origins of the attack dating back as far as the 1980s, to the US' response and subsequent 'War on Terror', all the way the way up to 2021, just prior to the US withdrawal from Afghanistan. It offers viewers a comprehensive understanding of the context, historical analysis, and first-hand experience of these events as they unfolded, including testimony from key figures who were involved at every level and from all different sides/ organizations. I had gone into this series thinking that I understood a fair amount about this topic, as I lived in a neighboring state when the attacks occurred and have been following the aftermath/military action in the news for the past two decades. I was shocked by how little I actually knew, and how surface-level my understanding was. I believe this docu-series' greatest strength is the depth of analysis that it offers and its use of multiple perspectives in recounting the events that unfolded. Rather than relying on one person's viewpoint or description of events, the series blends together a variety of different testimonies, which helps to provide a more nuanced, well-rounded understanding of the situation. I believe this helped to mitigate the subjectivity of any one person's recollection of events, allowing viewers to be aware of points where perspectives slightly differed, or where certain narrators/interviewees may have a more biased viewpoint. This is different from most documentaries, which tend to rely on a singular description of events and thus can be heavily swayed by the opinions and biases of whoever is telling the story. I think it really strengthened the story and allowed for a greater depth of nuance. On that point, I would tend to disagree with the two other reviews here, which have said that this docu-series is 'politically slanted' or 'agenda driven'. I found quite the opposite to be true; despite how complex and contentious some of these events were considered to be, there was clearly a concerted effort by the directors to tell this story as authentically as possible by integrating the testimonies of a broad range of key figures involved with varying experiences and perspectives. I believe in the aftermath of 9/11, there was a really strong push for national unity and a strong desire to rally around the US military as the 'heros/good guys' getting revenge on the evil bad guys. That influenced how these events were portrayed to us by politicians and the media at the time, and it kept us in the dark about many of the policies, programs, military actions, and decisions that were implemented. As a result, we lost a lot of the accuracy, nuance, and historical/political context of how these events actually played out. I think this series offers a greater historical depiction of 9/11 and its aftermath than any other film or series that I have seen before. It is the sort of critical lens that can only be achieved well with the benefit of hindsight, and I would really recommend watching the series for yourself.

This title has:

Educational value
Great messages
Too much violence
age 18+

Sad, Please Don't Waste Your Time

Yet again more partisan slant. Please don't waste your precious time with this sad excuse for a documentary series . We need to work together for a better future not engag e with this type of nonsense.

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (2 ):
Kids say (3 ):

The thought-provoking but disturbing series breaks down the the geopolitical events that eventually led to the 9/11 attacks, and the complicated events that followed. It underscores the fact that the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan was a pivotal moment in history that fueled a rise of Muslim fundamentalism and led to the birth of a small multinational group of Islamic extremists known as al-Qaeda. It also explains how the Reagan Administration's Cold War strategy against the U.S.S.R., and the following 20 years of U.S. political, economic, and military activity in the Middle East, also contributed to the global expansion and terrorist activities of al-Qaeda under Osama Bin Laden, which was severely underestimated by the U.S. government.

Turning Point: 9/11 and the War on Terror offers lots of particulars about what the United States failed to do before and after September 11. But as it details the problems and failures associated with the gathering of U.S. intelligence, the inability to come up with cohesive military strategies to combat terrorism, and fighting a 20-year war in Afghanistan with no real success, it also reminds us of the horrors that transpired on that fateful day. The recordings of people asking for help are hard to listen to, and the images of human suffering in the U.S. and Afghanistan are difficult to watch, especially when the argument is being made about how all of it was preventable. Nonetheless, the series successfully deconstructs the complicated events leading up to what happened on 9/11, and how it irrevocably changed the way we saw the world at the beginning of a new century.

TV Details

  • Premiere date: September 1, 2021
  • Network: Netflix
  • Genre: Reality TV
  • Topics: History
  • TV rating: TV-14
  • Last updated: February 18, 2023

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