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The Brave One Review Critics


Dave White Profile

… actually completely brainless … Read full review

Other Critics provided by

Critics scores range from 0 to 100, with higher scores indicating more favorable reviews.

  • 3.0

    out of 100

    Mixed or average reviews
    based on a weighted average of all
    critic review scores.

  • 30

    out of 100

    Wall Street Journal Joe Morgenstern

    The drama is repetitive rather than resonant, an over-calculated, under-ventilated studio production -- even paranoid thrillers need to breathe -- whose plot machinery grinds grim and coarse.

    Read Full Review

  • 58

    out of 100

    Entertainment Weekly Lisa Schwarzbaum

    Everything about Foster's ocular intensity is riveting, but little in this hushed vigilante drama makes sense.

    Read Full Review

  • 63

    out of 100

    USA Today Claudia Puig

    If only The Brave One had captured more of the complex nature of the fear and paranoia plaguing society since 9/11. Instead, it is a well-made but predictable take on the revenge fantasy thriller, with a female twist.

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  • 70

    out of 100

    The Hollywood Reporter Michael Rechtshaffen

    A vigilante drama boasting a powerful Jodie Foster performance and carefully weighted direction by Neil Jordan.

    Read Full Review

  • 88

    out of 100

    Chicago Sun-Times Roger Ebert

    Where did Hollywood get the conviction that audiences demand an ending that lets them off the hook? Foster doesn't let herself off the hook in The Brave One, and we should be as brave as she is.

    Read Full Review

  • See all The Brave One reviews at

For Families provided by Common Sense Media

not for kids

Foster only good thing in violent revenge fantasy.

What Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this dark, mature revenge drama uses brutal violence and subjective images to play up its dire emotions. Within the first few minutes, a young couple is horribly attacked by a gang in a scene featuring hard hits and kicks, blood, and screaming. Subsequent violence includes loud and ferocious shooting, stabbing, beating, cars crashing, and a body that's been thrown from a high parking garage floor (viewers don't see the throw, but they see the body). Hospital scenes feature close-ups of bloody bodies and faces. There's some kissing, plus a sex scene (intercut with the violent attack) that shows bare breasts/nipples. Language is fierce, including multiple uses of "f--k."

  • Families can talk about the concept of revenge, which the movie revolves around. Does it make you feel better to "get back" at someone who has wronged you? Is violent vengeance ever justified? Parents, talk with your kids about the difference between real life and fantasy -- even teens. Point out that consequences exist -- even if it makes you feel humorless. The fact that violent movies stimulate parts of the brain is worth a reminder. Also, how do Erica's efforts to "clean up" the city streets challenge gender expectations? Why do so many people assume the killer is a man?

The good stuff
  • message true0

    Messages: Criminals and thugs are everywhere, committing violent acts with guns, knives, and heavy boots. The hero is a vigilante, which raises lots of questions about justice and morality. A good cop pursues a wife-abuser who eludes legal punishment.

What to watch for
  • violence false5

    Violence: Brutal tunnel attack features fast editing and disturbing camerawork (sometimes using cell-phone video footage). The attack itself includes hitting, kicking, bodies being thrown against the tunnel wall, and bloody faces, limbs, and torsos. The subsequent hospital scenes feature frantic ER rushing, bloody clothes being cut off, and images of horrific injuries (including visuals of a woman shot in the head). Erica's post-attack face is a darkly bloody pulp. A cop asks a young girl if her stepfather "hurt" her mommy. Erica enters a gun shop, then buys a handgun illegally. Other very loud, bloody scenes include a man shooting a woman in the chest and Erica shooting him in neck (bottles smash, blood on the floor); Erica shooting two thieves on a subway; and Erica holding gun to pimp's head, then shooting him as he tries to run her over.

  • sex false5

    Sex: Flirty talk between loving couple ("What are you wearing?"); tender, passionate kiss. A brutal attack is intercut with a flashback to a sex scene -- which focuses on faces and close-ups of body parts, including nipples and hands on torsos. Slangy references to people and body parts ("dick," "that little whore," "t--ties").

  • language false5

    Language: Frequent uses of "f--k," plus "bitch," "s--t," "ass," "a--hole," and "hell." Erica calls herself a "super c--t." Other salty phrases ("rap sheet longer than my dick," "Christ on a cracker," "the show sucked," "prick").

  • consumerism false3

    Consumerism: In a convenience store scene, the majority of visibly labeled products are Coca-Cola brands (Sprite, Fanta, 7-Up, Dasani). Images of an iPod, with artists listed (Dixie Chicks, Radiohead, U2).

  • drugsalcoholtobacco false3

    Drinking, drugs and smoking: Erica takes prescription pills; Mercer also takes pills (could be off-the-shelf painkillers -- hard to tell). Erica smokes cigarettes repeatedly. Mercer drinks in a bar. Erica tosses her cigarette and pills in the toilet. Reference to "crackheads."