Iffy for 15+
Enormous scale and spectacle, but weak characters, story.
What Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Cloud Atlas -- the Wachowskis' massive sci-fi epic that takes place over six time periods, with several actors (including Tom Hanks and Halle Berry) playing roles in each -- has strong fantasy violence, including bloody attacks and battles with both guns and blades. Main characters die, and one commits suicide. Language is strong, though sporadic, with several uses of both "f--k" and "s--t." There are a few sex scenes, with one female appearing topless. Many characters drink, a few smoke cigarettes, and two smoke pot. Like Avatar, the movie's sheer, overwhelming size, scale, and spectacle may appeal to many audiences, and teens will likely be clamoring to see it; whether they'll enjoy it is less clear.
- Families can talk about Cloud Atlas' violence. Does "fantasy" violence have a different impact than "realistic" violence? How does the violence contribute to the story in this movie?
- How does the movie portray sex/sexual relationships?
- If the movie's theme is "connections" and events resonating throughout time, what are some examples of this? Can you think of a way that this has happened in real life?
- Which character is the most admirable? Which story affected you the most?
The good stuff
Messages: Amid the sometimes convoluted storytelling, the film promotes the ideas that all things/people are connected and that love can transcend space and time. There are small examples of bravery and trying to help others throughout.
Role models: None of the film's many characters has enough screen time to achieve much depth or resonance. But a few of them are good and brave, and a few fairly strong female characters emerge. One character has a kind of "bad conscience" demon that tries to convince him to do selfish and/or cowardly things. At first he gives into the demon's commands, but eventually he learns to stand up for himself and do things for others. Some characters risk their lives for what they believe in.
What to watch for
Violence: Many of the main characters die, and many are shot or stabbed, with spurting blood. One dies in an airplane explosion. There are bloody attacks and battles with blades and guns, a few one-on-one fights, and threats; both children and adults die. A character commits suicide with a gun (put in mouth). A man throws another man from a high balcony. A bad guy shoots a dog (off screen). A little girl is shown to be fatally sick, with a poisoned, swollen foot.
Sex: At least one female character appears topless, and there are two sex scenes (it's questionable that the act is consensual in one), with no other nudity shown. There's some strong innuendo in one scene as a rude customer in a futuristic restaurant uses a squeeze bottle of mayonnaise and pretends to ejaculate on a waitress' back. There's a scene in which a man escapes his lover's bedroom, presumably after sex; they share a kiss. In another scene, sex is interrupted by a cat, and there's some innuendo around the term "p---y."
Language: Sporadic strong language includes "f--k," "s--t," "c--k," "p---y," "hell," "ass," "damn," "goddamn," racial slurs like the "N" word and "wetback," and "Jesus" (as an exclamation).
Consumerism: Samsung phone is shown, but not prominently.
Drinking, drugs and smoking: Many characters drink alcohol (ranging from beer to wine to harder drinks), mostly in a social way. Once or twice, characters overindulge in a comic way, but only briefly. In one segment, the main characters smoke some pot. Some characters smoke cigarettes in a background way. In a futuristic sement, a character is addicted to a drug known as "soap" and overdoses.
Fan Reviews provided by
Connected through the ages by GrammyMelody
Cloud Atlas is possibly the most exciting, epic movie my husband and I have seen in years. We are so glad that we went! It really made us think about connection, love, and basic human values that truly do transcend time and space to connect us all in ways we can't begin to understand. Enough action and suspense to keep us on the edge of our seats--enough humor and romance to keep us smiling--enough drama and loss to keep us close to tears. This movie is worth seeing for the panoramic special effects and incredible makeup alone--not to mention what a stellar job was done by the incredible cast. Definitely NOT for the under-17 crowd; not only for the (occasional & brief) nudity & sex, but also a bit complex and thematically dense for younger viewers. But as for us--we absolutely loved it and may, although we never go to the same film twice, go again--because we don't want to wait for the Netflix! Truly a must-go.
Ambitious, Flawed, but worthwhile by dmdouek
Cloud Atlas is one of the most (if not THE most) grandly ambitious movie I have ever seen. Sure it has flaws - it can drag at times, some of the dialogue is corny, some of the makeup is jarring - but on the whole it's trying something so NEW and different that even if it's not a 100% perfect execution it's still better than most movies.
My only real complaint is I wish the Wachowskis and Twyker had more confidence in their ability to make a point without smashing us over the head with it. I think they were afraid that in a movie this complicated the point would get lost in the flash of it all, but I disagree. I think a certain amount of subtlety would have served the movie well and only increased it's sense of wonder and mystery.
A channel surfer's delight by RandytheMovieFan
Didn't read the book so the zig-zigging through 6 very different story lines was befuddling at first, but eventually got the hang of it. I was surprised that the 6 stories had so little or nothing to do with each other. Even more jarring was their wide range of styles - personal drama, epic struggle, dime store thriller, silly farce, etc. Sometimes the quick cuts between the stories worked wonderfully, other times they flopped. And using the same actors in multiple roles was pointless and distracting, a gimmick better suited to a pure comedy ("Coming to America" comes to mind). Overall, it was worth seeing because of how ambitious and creative it aspired to be, but be prepared for something that feels more like a missed opportunity than a great movie.
Go see! by trendynewatrocity
This is an absolutely breathtaking film. Overall it stayed true to the book, with some slight changes to make the story more coherent on the screen. Cinematography was absolutely breathtaking. I rarely ever want to see a movie more than once, but I can't wait to see this movie again.
Head in the Clouds! by spongemonkey
I loved this movie, though right off the bat i can tell you it won't be everyone's cup of tea. It is long, unconventional, demands your attention and even your desire to let yourself immerse yourself in a different kind of film and narrative.
It has a great cast, all of whom show how versatile they can be in the many roles they play.
I guess I feel like if you are intrigued, if it looks interesting to you, go see it. It is visually brilliant, at times funny, sad, thrilling and heartfelt. It has a thread running through it that is an important message to hear.
It isn't a perfect achievement by any means, but it is worth the investment in time and money. It is high and above so many of the repeat, re-do, rehashed and sequel-laden films out there.
I know this is a crap review, but who cares!? The movie hit me enough that I wanted to write this in hopes others will see it.
So bad that I'm reluctant to see a 'Hollywood' production ever again by ironbull45
I would have preferred to stay home in a cold/dark house (Hurricane Sandy) than to have watched this disconnected mess. I recommend seeing it, though, so you can be disabused of the notion that 'Hollywood' types are altruistic/generous people. This exemplifies the blood suckers that they are.
Tom Hanks - Shame on you!
Halle Berry - You should know better.
Susan Sarandon - At this point in your career, I'd expect nothing less.
Use this movie as a benchmark for critics. If they recommend it, never, ever go see a movie recommend by them again.
Cloud Atlas by millfordg
Very few in the theater the night my wife and I attended. Ahead of us a couple got up and left (my wife informed me later). I have rarely walked out of a movie, but this was disjointed,and vile. If I was awe struck with anything, it was the lack of concern for the audience. Reviews on TV had lead me to the theater, but instead of enjoying it, we were aghast at it. Money wasted.
Cloud Atlas by dglewis856
This was the most powerful movie for inspiring human thought, spirituality and the enlightenment and connectivity of US ALL! It provoked dead silence of continuing thought in my theater ... and for me, hours of stimulating conversation into the wee hours of the moring and into today (my present) and ALL of OUR futures!
Amazing Movie! by DebiShaw
My husband and I just got home from this amazing movie. We truly enjoyed it as we enjoy thoughtful and thought provoking movies. There was plenty of action and gore for those simply into violence too. It was a little hard to keep the characters straight as they bounced through time, and the simple, made up English for one story was a bit hard to get in places. Overall, though, we really liked it and would see it again, just to better understand it better. As we were leaving the theater it was funny how some folks REALLY liked it and other folks absolutely hated it. You do have to be open to other ideas about our reality such as reincarnation .... so a little like the matrix in that way. Tom Hanks is really good too!
6 stories interweave, but there is no climactic point. by Nacho Baggo
I was hoping the stories would climax at one special moment, but that wasn't the case with me. The underlying theme was fate and the courage to not take the easy road but to do what is right. Very little emotion in these themes.
The film is violent, Halle is a weed smoking poster child, and not all the stories have a happy ending. I did like the ending that shows our place in the cosmos, litterally.
Don't pay high dollar. Matine is fine. No need to rent unless you have a home theater, It is a hugely visual film.