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Ladder 49 Review

Other Critics provided by Metacritic.com

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

  • 3.0
    47

    out of 100

    Metascore®
    Mixed or average reviews
    based on a weighted average of all
    critic review scores.

  • 50

    out of 100

    USA Today Mike Clark

    There has been a need for a big-screen feature about firefighter heroics since Sept. 11, but as drama, Ladder 49 falls short of even the second rung.

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  • 60

    out of 100

    The Hollywood Reporter Kirk Honeycutt

    The film is less of a drama than a tribute -- an ode, even -- to the spirit and tenacity of firefighters. Its makers hardly bother to explore the lives or motives behind their actions.

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  • 60

    out of 100

    Wall Street Journal Joe Morgenstern

    A little humanity can go a long way to make up for a movie's shortcomings, and there's more than a little in Ladder 49, a surprisingly stirring celebration of heroic firefighters.

  • 75

    out of 100

    Entertainment Weekly Lisa Schwarzbaum

    Aside from the awesome flames and pyrotechnic scenes of crisis, danger, and part-of-the-job bravery, the movie is a quiet salute; it does its job.

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  • 88

    out of 100

    Chicago Sun-Times Roger Ebert

    Because it is attentive to these human elements, Ladder 49 draws from the action scenes instead of depending on them. Phoenix, Travolta, Barrett and the others are given characters with dimension, so that what happens depends on their decisions, not on the plot.

    Read Full Review

  • See all Ladder 49 reviews at Metacritic.com

For Families provided by Common Sense Media

OK for kids 14+

Unabashed love letter to firefighters everywhere.

What Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this movie has frequent and very intense peril and violence relating to firefighting. Characters are badly wounded and some are killed. There is brief strong language. Characters drink a lot, including drinking games and drinking to excess. Alcohol is portrayed as bonding and healing, and a way to prove oneself as "one of the guys." The movie includes a mild gay joke, some sexual references, and a non-explicit sexual situation. Strengths of the movie include the portrayal of diverse characters who are loyal and committed to each another, though all of the firefighters are male.

  • Families can talk about why Jack took risks even after he had a wife and children who depended on him. What kind of people become fire fighters, police officers, soldiers, and others who face death every day? Families could also talk about how people who see terrible tragedies handle the stress. Notice the use of humor, sometimes rather wild and outrageous, which can be the best adaptive mechanism for dealing with terribly difficult situations, the comment about finding God, and the idea that "we honor Dennis" by "sticking together."

What to watch for
  • violence false3

    Violence: Intense fire-related violence and peril, characters hurt and killed.

  • sex false3

    Sex: Sexual situation and references.

  • language false3

    Language: Brief strong language.

  • consumerism false0

    Consumerism: Not an issue

  • drugsalcoholtobacco false3

    Drinking, drugs and smoking: A lot of drinking portrayed as bonding, healing, and impressive.

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