Pause for kids 13 & under
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 applicable
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
One of the best Tom Hanks movies ever! by JRSantore
When I first saw the trailers I knew this movie would be great and it was better than great, it was amazing! If you thought that Tom Hanks was a great actor before you will be very blown away by this movie. It is some of the best acting I have ever seen from any actor especially Tom Hanks. The final scene in particular (No Spoilers) is just so mind blowing how real it feels to witness. JUST A WARNING though, if you get motion sickness easily then I would not recommend seeing this on a Theater Screen rather wait for Blu-Ray. Bottom line, go see this movie!
Captain Phillips by AnnNoE
Excellent movie. Tom Hanks is incredible. You could feel all the emotions that the situations would cause. Glad I got to see it on the big screen.
Very Intense but... by suemarie
you might want to reconsider seeing it if you suffer from sea sickness. The movie is so good,the acting is stellar, with a lot of suspense. But I had to keep my eyes closed for the last half hour of the filem. It started with Capt. Philips and his wife getting ready for the day filmed with a hand held camera. I should have known it would only get worse on sea. Tom Hanks is phenomenal. Good for adults and teens.
Worth Seeing But Not Best Picture of The Year 2013 by boland7214
This movie made me NERVOUS....watching pirates take over a huge ship that is protected not with guns...but with WATER CANONS! The "nervous scenes" both during the capture of the ship by the pirates.......and later the release of Capt. Phillips.......were VERY LONG....I was hoping the movie would end soon! I wasn't bored! Go see it! But don't take little kids along!
Don't expect Any Oscars For This Junk !!! by THE TUNNEL DVD
There is absolutely no character development in this dragged out, way overrated suspense flick..and believe me, the suspense starts to wain after the 1st half-hour, at which point we just wish that Captain Hanks would simply abandon ship...and what's with the accent Tom?...You're supposed to be from Vermont for God's sake !!!
Capt Phillips by larryjameritac
Great story and great acting and I was actually excited to rent the movie on the day it came out. The experience was horrible as I tried to read the tiny subtitles that disappeared in seconds. come on you guys, how hard is it to put up some subtitles that can be read. I truly believe that if the subtitles were done by someone over 15 years old with common sense, it could have been one of the best movies in a long time. I'm amazed the the producer, director or editor didn't catch this terrible mistake that turned a potentially great movie into just another movie.
Great portrayal of the tragic effect of globalization by millsythekiwi
Forget that this is a Tom Hanks movie. Forget that this is a dramatization of the events aboard the Maersk Alabama in 2009. This movie is so much more than entertainment. It is a tough, gritty, and ultimately, dreadfully sad tale of the effect of globalization on the Somali people. Tom Hanks certainly gives an Oscar-worthy performance as the main character Phillips. From his Vermont accent to the calmness with which he deals with the pirates in the beginning, to the harrowing ending, he gives a consummate performance. However, I would also like to nominate the actors that play the Somali pirates. Barkhad Abdi is quite superb as the leader Muse, and Faysal Ahmed gives a stunning performance as the unhinged and highly violent Najee. Barkhad Abdirahman (Bilal) and Mahat M. Ali (Elmi) round out a fine ensemble cast. You truly believe that they are Somali fisherman, whose livelihood has been ripped from them by over-fishing. A superb movie, worthy of the acclaim afforded to it.
Captin Phillips by kgelineau
Powerful plotline; compelling acting by both Hanks and Abdhi, most of which took place in a small enclosed lifeboat--the power of the facial expressions far outweighed the physical components. Great movie
Captain Phillips by maeckman
This movie was very tense and suspenseful - kept me on the edge of my seat, almost from the beginning!! Tom Hanks was incredible - acting that is Oscar worthy!!
Edge of our seat. A great performance by Tom Hanks by the4greenes174
Great film, especially since I knew how it was going to end. Last scene was incredible. I do not understand how Tom Hanks did not get a best actor nomination