What Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this mature drama (which stars Natalie Portman, Tobey Maguire, and Jake Gyllenhaal) about how the horrors of war affect both a soldier and his grieving family has several disturbing scenes of war, torture, and even domestic disputes -- making it far too intense for tweens and even younger teens. The war sequences involve atrocities, near-suicide, and two startling killings that are chillingly realistic; strong language includes frequent use of words like "f--k," "s--t," "a--hole," and the like. Sexuality isn't too graphic, but there are a few passionate kisses and one shot of an obviously undressed, quilt-covered couple in bed.
- Families can talk about how war (both the Vietnam war and the war in Afghanistan) affects the Cahills. Did Sam really have a choice in what he did? The movie doesn't judge him, but what do you think?
- How is grief portrayed in the movie?
- Discuss how both brothers deal with their actions. How do their decisions and approaches differ?