Watch It

On DVD: Now | On Blu-ray: TBD

Detachment 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.

  • 70

    out of 100

    The Hollywood Reporter Frank Scheck

    Adrien Brody, delivering his finest performance since "The Pianist," plays the central role of the disaffected Henry Barthes.

    Read Full Review

  • 75

    out of 100

    Entertainment Weekly Owen Gleiberman

    When it stays in the classroom, Detachment is a scrappy testament - to the futility of even trying to reach students who are cut off from the possibilities of knowledge, and to the way that our teachers are slowly being driven nuts.

    Read Full Review

For Families provided by Common Sense Media

Iffy for 16+

Mature drama is more introspective than inspirational.

What Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Detachment is an intense drama about a substitute teacher in an inner city school. Some movies about teachers are inspirational, but this one is more introspective. It includes threats, arguing, and verbal confrontations, as well as some death and blood. Language is very harsh, strong and constant (including "f--k," the "N" word, and much more). There are sexual situations, including a storyline involving a teen prostitute and a quick shot of a naked elderly woman in a rest home. Secondary characters are shown to have drug problems. The material is dark, and the main character learns some hard lessons, but Detachment does end on a hopeful note. The movie could provide interesting discussions for mature teens.

  • Families can talk about how the movie portrays teachers and schools. Does it seem realistic or exaggerated? Teens: Do you think about your teachers' lives outside the classroom? Do you think any of them feel the way that Mr. Barthes does?
  • Is Mr. Barthes a role model? What does he do right, and what could he have done better?
  • Why does Meredith want to commit suicide? What other choices could she have made to improve her situation? How could Mr. Barthes have helped?

The good stuff
  • message true1

    Messages: In the beginning, Detachment is about avoiding connections and responsibility, in a vain effort to sidestep the pain that sometimes accompanies them. But eventually it becomes clear that avoiding these things leads to detachment, while embracing connections can lead to fulfillment.

  • rolemodels true2

    Role models: The main character is a substitute teacher who manages to get through to some of the most troubled and difficult students. He also makes a connection with a young prostitute, helping her off the street and giving her the positive attention she needs. He's generally helpful and considerate to others. Unfortunately, as a substitute, he tends to avoid lasting commitments, though he learns how to change this behavior after tragic events wake him up.

What to watch for
  • violence false3

    Violence: At the school, teachers and students often face off in tense verbal altercations, arguments, and confrontations. Students beat a cat to death inside a bag; the cat isn't shown, but a student has blood on his hands. A teen prostitute has bloody cuts and bruises all over her body. A teen girl commits suicide, and blood is seen. Teens fight briefly. In a flashback, a boy discovers his mother's dead body.

  • sex false4

    Sex: An elderly woman in a rest home is briefly shown fully naked (the scene isn't sexual). A teen prostitute tries to offer her favors to the main character (he refuses). There's a suggestion of her performing oral sex on another man, but very little is shown. A teacher chastises a female student for wearing revealing clothing (her nipples are mentioned). A character briefly looks through an adult magazine (some nudity is seen in the photographs therein).

  • language false5

    Language: Constant strong language, with multiple uses of "f--k" and "s--t," plus "bitch," "jackass," the "N" word, "bastard," "d--k," and "ass." "Gay," "queer," and "dyke" are used as insults. "Oh, God" is also heard (as an exclamation).

  • consumerism false0

    Consumerism: Not an issue

  • drugsalcoholtobacco false3

    Drinking, drugs and smoking: A secondary character -- a teacher -- takes "happy pills" (some kind of prescription medication). Another secondary character dies of an overdose and is seen drinking. The main character smokes a cigarette in one scene and drinks a glass of wine with dinner in another. Verbal drug references.