What Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this heavy drama isn't for kids, even though it stars tween/teen favorites Reese Witherspoon and Jake Gyllenhaal. Not only does it deal with the many complicated political and cultural issues surrounding torture, but the dialogue -- which is focused on policy and intrigue -- will likely bore younger viewers. There's also plenty of violence, including explosions, shooting, and, yes, torture (there are difficult images of the victim's pain and the aggressor's visceral calculations). The torture victim appears naked in a small, dank cell, mostly in shadow. Other scenes show upset victims and negotiators; particularly wrenching is a young wife's anguished pleading that a CIA officer answer questions about her missing husband. Language includes some uses of "f--k" and other minor profanity.
- Families can talk about how the movie portrays the practice of torture. As viewers sort out their own feelings about what he goes through, does it matter whether Anwar is guilty or innocent? How is watching torture different than seeing other types of media violence? Should anti-torture laws ever be sacrificed for security?