A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this TV show.
People act heroically to save themselves and others in the face of a catastrophic storm and the inept government response. Elected officials act to save their political careers instead of the lives of people stuck and suffering in New Orleans.
Violence & Scariness
Considerable graphic imagery of the fatal effects of the hurricane and levee breaks. People talk about watching others drown. There are numerous images of dead, bloated, and discolored corpses. An image of a woman hanging. A man talks about his mother dying waiting for buses to arrive at the Superdome, and images of dead people in wheelchairs. Talk of men who killed themselves in dispair after the hurricane. The documentary shows the funeral of a 5-year-old killed in the floods following the levee break. Aside from actual violence and death, there are numerous pictures of adults and children in dispair, crying and scared, as well as enraged. People attempting to escape the flood waters are prevented from crossing a bridge, using guns. A man describes being shot with buckshot. The New Orleans Police Chief talks about babies being raped during the fall-out of the flood.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Violence & Scariness in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Sex, Romance & Nudity
One woman jokes that she'll have to "give someone a blow job" to get a FEMA trailer.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Sex, Romance & Nudity in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Considerable salty language, including "hell," "s--t," various permutations of "f--k," "ass," "godd-mn," "bulls--t." A man tells Vice President Dick Cheney to "go f--k himself" and a woman says "President Bush can kiss my ass." A t-shirt says, "Run, motherf--er, run."
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Language in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
A woman drinks a beer as she talks about her struggle through the flood and with the flood relief effort.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Drinking, Drugs & Smoking in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that When the Levees Broke: A Requieum in Four Acts is a documentary about Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath that is understandably disturbing. There are multiple images of dead, decaying bodies, descriptions of death and suffering during and after the flood, as well as the deaths of children and the pain and anger at the government's response to the crisis. People are angry, grieving, and shell-shocked as the documentary goes on, and those strong emotions, as well as director Spike Lee's meticulous description of how government officials responded, are likely to be too intense for sensitive viewers.
Is It Any Good?
Lee has created a masterpiece of journalism. When the Levees Broke is an undeniably American story that asks and begs: Why was the response so shamefully slow? At one point, police chief Eddie Compass, struck by the suffering around him days after the flood, says, "I need someone to get me a cruise boat or some type of boat, a cruise ship or some type of ship that I can put my people on, that I can give my people some comfort, so I can help my people."
In answering the question of the year, Lee spares no one, up to and including the president, New Orleans' mayor, and a culture that abandoned the poor, black people of New Orleans long before Katrina hit. This is challenging viewing, but it's also hopeful, and full of the power of the human spirit, laced with some wonderful musical performances and a deep faith in the power of the people of New Orleans to come back.
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.