Watch It

On DVD: Now | On Blu-ray: Now

District 9 Review Critics


Dave White Profile

Sci-Fi apartheid. Read full review

Other Critics provided by

Critics scores range from 0 to 100, with higher scores indicating more favorable reviews.

  • 5.0

    out of 100

    Universal acclaim
    based on a weighted average of all
    critic review scores.

  • 100

    out of 100

    Entertainment Weekly Lisa Schwarzbaum

    Madly original, cheekily political, altogether exciting District 9.

    Read Full Review

  • 100

    out of 100

    The Hollywood Reporter Kirk Honeycutt

    No true fan of science fiction -- or, for that matter, cinema -- can help but thrill to the action, high stakes and suspense built around a very original chase movie.

    Read Full Review

  • 50

    out of 100

    Wall Street Journal

    There's a wonderfully sly, farcical verve to these early moments, but it dissipates when the script, with its strains of "E.T." and "The Fly," moves into high sci-fi gear.

    Read Full Review

  • 88

    out of 100

    USA Today Claudia Puig

    With its clever faux documentary style, this is the most imaginative science-fiction movie to come along in years.

    Read Full Review

  • See all District 9 reviews at

For Families provided by Common Sense Media

Pause for kids 15 & under

Sci-fi stunner is smart but gory; way too violent for kids.

What Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this gritty, buzzworthy sci-fi epic filmed in South Africa (and produced by Lord of the Rings director Peter Jackson) is full of extremely realistic, bloody violence, including severed limbs, lots of bodies, piles of high-tech weapons, and even torture. The movie's aliens aren't cute or appealing in any way -- they're scary-looking, insectoid creations with complex biologies and lives. Expect constant strong language (especially "f--k"), as well as some drinking, smoking, and discussion of sex.

  • Families can talk about the movie's extreme violence. Is it meant to be realistic (in that, yes, high-tech alien weaponry could be this horrible) or is it just eye candy for action fans? Does it have more or less impact than the violence in a movie like G.I. Joe?
  • How does the movie's news footage/documentary-like style compare to that of other large-scale sci-fi films? Does it seem more realistic? Does that make it scarier?
  • How does the movie's setting echo the real-life conditions of poverty and prejudice during South Africa's apartheid era? Even though it's a sci-fi film, what messages does the movie send about that period?
  • Can you think of other sci-fi movies (or other types of media) that have tackled tough political ideas through metaphor and fantasy?

The good stuff
  • message true1

    Messages: Although it takes place in a sci-fi context, the movie offers a fascinating perspective on South Africa's struggle with apartheid -- and on any nation's struggle with immigration and fear of "the other." The realization that the filmmakers didn't have to build the slums that their disenfranchised alien immigrants live in should also offer pause for thought.

  • rolemodels true2

    Role models: The movie ultimately culminates with two beings -- one human, one alien -- working together in the service of the common good and struggling to do the right thing at great personal cost and danger. A lot of painful, upsetting stuff happens to them and others along the way, of course.

What to watch for
  • violence false4

    Violence: Constant, bloody, and brutal violence, some of it involving humans and some involving humanoid, insect-like aliens. Kicking, fighting, severed limbs. Torture, including a man being jabbed with cattle prod so that his hand will pull the trigger of a gun. Characters use high-tech sci-fi firearms, some of which strike with such force that they liquefy their victims. Alien weapons are tested on living beings. Scary medical experimentation imagery, including bloody, explicit body modifications as a man has his DNA rewritten by an alien virus.

  • sex false2

    Sex: Some discussion of prostitution and exotic venereal diseases in connection with talk about human/alien interspecies sex.

  • language false5

    Language: Lots of harsh/strong language, including "f--k" used near constantly, as well as "bastard," "oh my God," "balls," "crap," and more. Some of the swearing may be hard for American audiences to understand given the actors' accents.

  • consumerism false0

    Consumerism: Not applicable

  • drugsalcoholtobacco false2

    Drinking, drugs and smoking: Some smoking and drinking.