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
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.
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: 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: 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: "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: Not an issue
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.
Fan Reviews provided by
Well done overall but tells too little of the story by jnm2740
It was a very well made movie in many ways great acting. However, it misses the mark in a few ways. It only tells the very simple parts of the story. We all know 90% of what happens in the movie. It also seemed like it was afraid to get into the Conspiracy side of the issue behind who and why was JFK shot. It seems like they alluded to it in a few scenes but never really got into it.
Parkland by frankiex13
My sixteen year old daughter and I went to see this and were riveted from beginning to end. We cried a little, and often felt as if the whole thing had just happened and we were witnesses. I thought it was well done and as tastefully as possible, while still being gritty and maintaining its sense of realism. I mean, to really depict what occurred in the ER would have been difficult without some aspects of gore. For the first time ever it seemed possible to grieve with Mrs Kennedy and the Secret Service men who had been tasked with protecting JFK. I would recommend it highly to anyone intrigued by the subject matter and would see it again in a heartbeat.
Wide Cover, No Depth by kimh482
Great recap of the assassination and shows an interesting angle from many viewpoints - from the Zapruder film to the FBI, secret service, the hospital, etc. It maybe tried to cover too many viewpoints though, and therefore really lacked character depth. Of course it was about the hospital, Parkland, where both Kennedy and Oswald were treated and both died, but it didn't get into any of those characters either. It didn't get into anything very much -- jumped from story to story of each group involved. The drama scene of secret service loading the casket onto the plane - we remember actual footage of the casket coming off the bottom cargo area -- then you were left wondering what else was embellished vs. fact. It also didn't get into any theories of 'why' he was assassinated either - so without character depth or anything behind the why -- it left us a bit empty, although our family are all history buffs, so we still liked it - but seems like a lot missing.
Quo Vadis, Parkland? by michaelwait
True to life docudrama of the ER management of JFK and Lee Harvey Oswald immediately after their fatal injuries. Accurate gripping portrayal of the "old" Parkland trauma room 1, right down to the claustrophobic small box like room with heavy wooden doors and slate green tile walls and pale white x-ray boxes, small screen oscilloscopes. Homage to C.James Carrico MD, but not nearly enough about others who attended the president: Malcolm O Perry MD,, Robert McClelland MD, Ron Jones MD, G. Tom Shires MD, and the neurosurgeon whose infamous words "stop what you're doing, you're operating on a dead man", Kemp Clark MD. Good character deveopment of Abraham Zapruder, perhaps too much about Oswald's mother and brother. A gutsy, unflinching overall accurate account of the "fog of war" in the ED pandemonium that ensued following the assasination of a locally unpopular but nationally mesmerizing president.
Hanks is a Propagandist by chiliboots2000707
WHEN Tom Hanks became a full-fledged Disinformation Specialist is hard to pinpoint; the fact that he IS, exactly that, is incontrovertible. His Propaganda Campaigns now include the tired old tripe & boondoggle that Oswald killed Kennedy. He did not. JFK was murdered by a team of assassins: he was shot from the front, and the rear.
Parkland by tnulady
If you want a first-hand account of what happened surrounding the death of JFK, then this movie is for you whether at the theater or on video.
Parkland by Blackmon6662
Very detailed and provided a point of view that I had not thought of prior to watching the movie. This movie is appropriate for mature middle school aged children with the parents preparing them for the amount of blood in advance.
Parkland by bloke53
Incredible movie. Historically accurate to the minutest detail, acting was spot on, heartwrenching if you liked the man. Would go see it over and over again
Worth seeing - could have been better by mhurlery55
This is definitely worth seeing, especially for the harrowing scenes in the hospital, and on Air Force One (the frantic attempt to rip out the plane seats for the casket is especially memorable). I can understand the focus on the unsung characters - especially effective are the scenes involving Abraham Zapruder, who filmed the assassination, and FBI agent James Hosty. But there was too much emphasis on the Oswald family. Oswald's wacko mother and his burial - not interested in seeing. Who cares!
The acting was terrific.
Parkland by michele51
Parkland was so interesting, powerful, sad & historic all at the same time!
I loved Paul Giamatti as Abe Zapruder. Having lived thru that time as a young child in Dallas, I think the story of "other" people whose lives were changed forever that day, Abe Zapruder, Richard Oswald & the resident who tried to save the Presidents life were fascinating. The scenes were so true to reality although quite bloody at times.
I definitely recommend this movie!