Iffy for 13+
Nail-biting story of ship hijacking is fabulous but intense.
What Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Captain Phillips is an intense drama based on the true story of an American cargo ship that's hijacked by Somali pirates. Director Paul Greengrass (United 93, the Bourne films) is known for his visceral depictions of action-packed violence, and Captain Phillips is a real nailbiter with extended scenes of suspense, menace, and violence. There is lots of blood, but just a few casualties -- none of them civilians -- but the camerawork makes the danger -- usually death threats facing a machine gun -- feel personal. Language includes a few uses of "s--t"; the Somalis often chew khat, a plant that's a stimulant; and characters smoke cigarettes as well.
- Families can talk about the movie's use of violence. Is the violence necessary to depict the true story? Could it have been less violent and still evoked the same intensity?
- How does the filmmaker's use of camerawork and editing emphasize the sense of danger and violence?
- What is the movie's message about the Somali pirates? Are they depicted purely as villains or as more complicated characters? Why do you think they do what they do?
The good stuff
Messages: The movie has a global message about how terrorists aren't the only threats, and that poverty can also be a powerful enemy to peace and civilization. The movie also applauds Captain Phillips' ability to bravely and calmly be a selfless leader who cares more about his crew's safety than his own. There's also a message that despite differences in culture and circumstances, there's a shared universal humanity.
Role models: Captain Phillips is selfless and willing to sacrifice his safety to ensure the safety of his crew. Captain Phillips remains brave and clear-headed during unbelievably grim circumstances. He remains mostly calm and level-headed with the Somalis in order to protect his crew and later to buy himself time. Muse, the head Somali, is fascinating, because he is doing what he has to do for his village, even though it's dangerous and morally wrong. He genuinely believes he won't have to hurt anyone, just ask for the ransom and wait for the money. Many of the crew members rise to the occasion to fight the pirates.
What to watch for
Violence: Camera angles bring you up-close to the threats and intensity of the violence. The Somali pirates are heavily armed with semi-automatic machine guns that are usually pointed at the American civilians. At several points it seems like the Somalis are going to kill one of the Americans (usually Phillips). The military gets involved and plans a SEAL mission to try and save the captain, and they have instructions to take out his captors. One of the pirates is a teenager who is seriously hurt when he steps on shattered glass. Phillips is severely beaten. One bullet to the head results in blood/brain spatter on the wall.
Sex: Not an issue
Language: A few uses of "s--t" and "piece of s--t," two "a--hole"s and one "ass." There is also "damn," "goddamn," and some threatening language.
Consumerism: Toyota Sienna, Sony computer.
Drinking, drugs and smoking: The Somalis, including one teenager, chew a great deal of khat, a plant that is known for being an amphetamine-like stimulant. While it's a controlled substance in the U.S., it's legal in Somalia. Adults smoke cigarettes.
Fan Reviews provided by
Captain Phillips by laura945
If you're prone to motion sickness, STAY AWAY FROM THIS FILM!!
About 99% of the film was shot with hand-held cameras. I understand what the director was going for, but this was WAY too much.
I managed to get through the first 20 minutes or so before I had to make a run for it.
I could only listen to the rest of the film. With half the dialogue sub-titled, and unable to open my eyes without risking another upheaval, it was impossible to follow.
Captain Phillips by sandysadams
I haven't enjoyed an action movie in years as much as this one - well written, photographed, acted, and TRUE. All of the actors did an excellent job - Hanks was mesmerizing as an ordinary man trying to make a bad situation better and escape without having everyone killed.
I highly recommend the movie - even if you are sensitive to the movement of the ocean. Can be a bit much for some people but not for me. Believe the movie is acceptable for all except very small children who would get bored with the conversations (adult in nature), some violence not acceptable for the sensitive.
Intense and interesting by hevwc
I was on the edge of my seat. Tom Hanks was magnificent as was the rest of the cast. I felt like I was watch the incident as it happened. You have an understanding of the desperation of the pirates and the terror that the Captain and the crew felt. I heard there were no special effects speaks to a remarkable amount of excelent directing and cinematography.
Captain Philips by jchalus
My wife and I enjoyed this movie very much. I am a former USN SEAL and Vietnam Veteran. My son is also a former USN SEAL. We were both impressed with the way the SEALs were portrayed. Very realistic. All business no flash. The US Navy was also portrayed in a positive way. Tom Hanks did a great job of portraying the captain. I have read "A Captain's Duty" by Capt. Philips and the book and movie were in very close. Captain Philips was not exactly the man Tom Hanks portrayed but the main idea of the story was there.
Tom Hanks is Fantastic by deborahtaylor1956
Loved this movie....I love anything with Tom Hanks in it....he personifies every role he plays. A little crying, a little laughing, and a lot of action.
captain phillips by wyolanyfl
Excellent! Even though everyone knows the outcome of the ordeal, it kept you on the edge of your seat. Hanks has truly evolved into an excellent actor - far from his "Sonny, Sonny, Sonny" days. Everyone must go see this movie. Although it is over 2 hours, the movie keeps you so enthralled, time passes quickly.
As a spouse of a Merchant Marine who has experienced a similar scenario, although thankfully it did not escalate to this magnitude. by smlesage
A s a wife of a Merchant Marine, who sailed with the sister ship of the Maersk Alabama, I went to see this movie with my husband who is now retired and our two children ages 13 and 10. It gave all of us a better idea of what their dad faced when going out to sea and the potential dangers that lurked in the waters off of the Somali Coast and Jabuti.
Although my husband felt that the first part of the movie was fiction based on the interview Captain Philips had with Cooper Anderson, he did feel that the portion of the movie once Captian Phillips was taken hostage was accurate. Tom Hanks did an excellent job and did not dissapoint.
I would recommend this movie and hope to see it again when it come out on DVD
Tension Galore by terimgregg
I really enjoyed this movie. I thought the actors and director really captured the tension of the situation. I was on the edge of my seat for most of the film. A MUST GO!
Captain Phillips by timrabbit1952
Captain Phillips is a riveting story with Tom Hanks showing his absolute mastery of the craft of acting. The emotion he portrays throughout the horrifying takeover by the Somali pirates was amazing, especially at the end, I was moved and choked up by the horror of his experience.
I'm not sure how much the movie deviated from the actual story, but there is no question the real Captain Rich Phillips and his crew, as well as the US Navy were all heroes whose spirit and courage are unique to our great country.
I also thought the Somali pirates were treated with compassion and respect in the movie, there was clearly a relationship that developed between Captain Phillips and the Somali captain, as well as his youngest pirate that Captain Phillips cared for.
This movie is too intense for young kids, but fine for teens and above. The cinematography was tremendous as was the directing. I think the writing was made easier by the phenomenal true story on which it was based. Tim H.
Captain Phillips by jjshare
An amazing Story, a real Thriller, especially for the final 2/3's part. A great development of the main character, & we can't lose with Tom Hanks playing that part...
If even only 1/2 of the story is realistic, Mr Phillips was amazingly strong, for a mid-aged, non-military person; a "hero", in how he protected his crew. And, no matter how detestable these Somalian pirates, the movie showed how such desparation leads to wrong choices, when no other choices seem possible....