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Parkland 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.

  • 30

    out of 100

    Variety Peter Debruge

    Granted, Landesman feels an obligation to history, but there’s something ponderously obvious about the way so many of these scenes are played.

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  • 40

    out of 100

    Village Voice Pete Vonder Haar

    It's in the film's second half that Parkland goes all Tony Romo and fumbles. Instead of becoming truly engrossing, it threatens to descend into unreserved melodrama.

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  • 63

    out of 100

    Chicago Sun-Times Bruce Ingram

    It shouldn’t necessarily be the case that a film focusing on the collateral details of the shooting, after the fact, would feel dull and uninvolving, but this writing/directing debut by journalist Peter Landesman does, with the exception of a few particularly interesting revelations.

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  • 63

    out of 100

    USA Today Claudia Puig

    The events of those days would have been better covered in greater depth in a miniseries, rather than a 90-minute movie.

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  • 80

    out of 100

    The Hollywood Reporter Stephen Farber

    Engrossing, quietly revelatory, and often profoundly moving as it retells a story we only thought we knew.

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For Families provided by Common Sense Media

OK for kids 14+

JFK movie captures mood but omits a great deal; some blood.

What Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Parkland tells the story of President John F. Kennedy's assassination in 1963 through the eyes of some of the story's minor players -- for example, Abraham Zapruder, Lee Harvey Oswald's brother, the doctors who tried to save the president, and the Secret Service agents who weren't able to protect him. It's not clear whether teens will be interested in this type of history, and they might be better served to look elsewhere for a clearer idea of who Kennedy was, what he did, what happened to him, and why it mattered. Expect some gruesome, bloody hospital scenes and lots of arguing. Language isn't frequent but does include some strong words (one use of "f--k," plus "s--t," "bitch," etc.). There's a brief scene of Zac Efron flirting with a nurse, and many of the characters smoke cigarettes in a casual way (accurate for the time period).

  • Families can talk about the effect that violence has on Parkland's characters. How do they react? How does the bloody/gory hospital scene fit into the movie?
  • Does this movie give an idea of who Kennedy was? Or is it more about how he affected people? What's the difference? How does this movie compare to any other JFK movies you may have seen?
  • Two of the characters are interested in making money from the tragedy. How does the movie view them?
  • Who are the bravest and noblest of the characters? Are they role models? What can you learn from them?

The good stuff
  • message true1

    Messages: The movie more or less celebrates the quiet heroism of people who are dealing with a national tragedy -- though not all of them succeed.

  • rolemodels true0

    Role models: Most characters aren't on screen long enough to become real role models, but many of them behave in heroic ways, even if the end results aren't always optimal. Some of them behave irrationally. Early on, Zapruder starts to tell a stereotypical joke (about a Jew, an Italian, and an Irishman) and later decides to make money by selling his film to LIFE magazine. But many characters keep a clear head and try to help others.

What to watch for
  • violence false2

    Violence: The Zapruder film of John F. Kennedy's assassination is discussed and partly seen but not completely shown. Characters are shocked when they see it. A bloody Kennedy is wheeled into the emergency room, and viewers witness a blood-soaked attempt to save his life. Mrs. Kennedy is shown spattered with blood from the shooting, and she dazedly hands over a small piece of brain and skull to a nurse. Lee Harvey Oswald is also wheeled into the same hospital after his shooting. Stressed-out characters frequently argue and shout at one another.

  • sex false0

    Sex: Zac Efron's character flirts with a nurse in the early scenes. He slides his hand around her waist as he walks by, and she responds with a smile.

  • language false2

    Language: "F--k" is used once. Characters use "oh my God" and "goddamn" more frequently. "S--t," "son of a bitch," "hell," "piss," "damn," and "Jesus Christ" (as an exclamation) are also heard.

  • consumerism false0

    Consumerism: Not applicable

  • drugsalcoholtobacco false2

    Drinking, drugs and smoking: Several adult characters are seen smoking cigarettes throughout the film, mostly in a casual, background way. It's all accurate for the movie's time period.