What Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this is a very violent movie. A woman and child are brutally tortured and killed (mostly off-screen). People are sliced up, burned, and crucified. There are references to rape and incest.
- Families can talk about why it is that people are drawn to watch other people battle and what the appeal is of movies like this and full contact sports. Notice that, like Odysseus in the land of the Cyclops, Maximus will not use his name until he has done something he can be proud of. Why didn't Commodus just have him killed? Why did Commodus (a little like the WWF's Vince McMahon) decide to participate in the combat? What does it mean to "smile back" at death? Compare the lists of virtues claimed by Caesar and Commodus. Which are the most important? One of the movie's great challenges is making its world seem very different to us without making it impossible to identify with the characters. The story is told without any sense of irony or distance. Some older kids will have some good thoughts on how that is accomplished.