What Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this Robert Redford-directed historical drama centers on the assassination of President Lincoln and its aftermath -- specifically, the real-life trial of Mary Surratt, who was accused of being part of the plot. Playing out largely as a courtroom drama, the movie uses history to explore the conflict between justice and politics and offers plenty to talk and think about. There’s some violence (including blood from fatal wounds, a vicious knife attack, and the frank depiction of a hanging), drinking, and smoking, as well as mild, period-accurate swearing ("s--t," "damned," etc.).
- Families can talk about Mary Surratt’s case. Do you think she was guilty? Do you think she received a fair trial and a just sentence?
- How closely do you think this film adheres to history? How many liberties with the facts do you think such a film can take? Why might filmmakers decide to do that?
- What are the movie's messages? What does it say about the American justice system? Do you think anything similar could happen today?