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Brothers Review Critics


Dave White Profile

Sad sibling screaming match. Read full review


Jen Yamato Profile

Actually, nothing's fair in love and war. 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.

  • 58

    out of 100

    Entertainment Weekly Owen Gleiberman

    Brothers isn't badly acted, but as directed by the increasingly impersonal Jim Sheridan, it's lumbering and heavy-handed, a film that piles on overwrought dramatic twists until it begins to creak under the weight of its presumed significance.

    Read Full Review

  • 60

    out of 100

    The Hollywood Reporter Kirk Honeycutt

    Irish director Jim Sheridan, who has made his films in America in recent years, now delivers an American remake that hues closely to the original but loses some of its true grit.

    Read Full Review

  • 75

    out of 100

    USA Today Claudia Puig

    In exploring the complicated nature of family bonds, Brothers is thought-provoking. The wounds inflicted by the cruelty of a troubled parent can prove as painful as battle scars.

    Read Full Review

  • 88

    out of 100

    ReelViews James Berardinelli

    Brothers is arguably the most successful remake of a foreign film since Martin Scorsese reworked "Infernal Affairs" into "The Departed" and won the Oscar.

    Read Full Review

  • 88

    out of 100

    Chicago Sun-Times Roger Ebert

    This becomes Tobey Maguire's film to dominate, and I've never seen these dark depths in him before. Actors possess a great gift to surprise us, if they find the right material in their hands.

    Read Full Review

  • 88

    out of 100

    Chicago Tribune Michael Phillips

    The film is gripping---an honorable and beautifully acted addition to the tradition of homefront war stories.

    Read Full Review

  • See all Brothers reviews at

For Families provided by Common Sense Media

Pause for kids 16 & under

Well-acted war drama is too intense for kids.

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?

The good stuff
  • message true1

    Messages: Despite the devastating effects that war has on Sam and his family, his family remains supportive and loving. The movie explores how war and violence change soldiers and their ability to return to their lives as fathers and husbands.

  • rolemodels true0

    Role models: Grace, Sam, and Tommy are all realistically flawed characters. Sam commits an unthinkable act in a life-and-death situation, but he does so because he'd die otherwise and wants to return to his family. Grace and Tommy, in a moment of grief, reconnect by kissing, but they realize their error and focus on Sam when he returns. On the definite plus side, all of the characters are devoted to their family.

What to watch for
  • violence false4

    Violence: Quite a bit of violence, especially in the war scenes thattake place in Afghanistan. A helicopter crashes; two American soldiersare taken hostage, held starving and captive, andthen tortured. A man is shot in the head; a man is forced to killanother man or be killed himself; many men are shot at and killed, etc. In a moment of fury, a character destroys his kitchen and scares hisfamily. A man points a gun at himself and looks like he's about tocommit suicide.

  • sex false2

    Sex: A married couple kisses passionately and is shown in bed after having had sex. They exchange a few more kisses and embraces. A widow kisses her brother-in-law once. A man discusses whether his brother "f--ked" his wife, and a young girl lies that her mother and uncle "have sex all the time."

  • language false4

    Language: Frequent strong language: many uses of the words "f--k" and "s--t," as well as "damn," "hell," "a--hole," "goddamn," "ass," "oh my God," "dick," and more.

  • consumerism false0

    Consumerism: Not applicable

  • drugsalcoholtobacco false3

    Drinking, drugs and smoking: Tommy gets drunk on a several occasions, and his father is shown drinking liquor a few times. Tommy smokes cigarettes; in one scene, he and Grace share a joint.