OK for kids 12+
Historical drama tells compelling tale; some violence.
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?
The good stuff
Messages: The movie's ultimate message is that honor, justice, and the American Constitution should always trump political expediency. Also, no matter how challenging a task might seem, you must rise up to it and have the courage of your own convictions.
Role models: Frederick is a principled man. No matter the repercussions of representing an accused criminal, he defends her anyway -- and eventually becomes passionate about securing justice for her. Other characters aren't always what they first seem; those who theoretically should be acting for the greater good don't always do so, while those who might seem to be less upstanding have surprising strength and purpose.
What to watch for
Violence: Lincoln's assassination is shown in a harrowing sequence that unfolds in surprising detail. Blood is shown, but the actual wounds aren't. A connected attack is quite vicious -- a man stabs another who's lying helpless in bed, knifing him several times. John Wilkes Booth is shot dead. A hanging takes place in front of a crowd; it, too, plays out with agonizing specificity (including wince-inducing soud effects). Soldiers carry and use guns; the movie's opening shows dead/wounded men on a Civil War battlefield. A young woman is threatened; rocks are thrown through her window.
Sex: A couple kisses; some flirting.
Language: Infrequent use of words like “damned," "hell," "oh my God," and "arse," plus a couple of uses of "s--t."
Consumerism: Not an issue
Drinking, drugs and smoking: Some social drinking. A few characters use alcohol as "liquid courage" and take shots to fortify themselves before difficult tasks, and at one point, the main character turns to drink when all seems lost. One witness seems drunk in court. Era-accurate smoking, including during court proceedings.
Fan Reviews provided by
Don't miss The Conspirator by Lindawlw
Can not verify historical accuracy but a great movie. Good plot that involves the audience. Good for all age groups.
The conspirator by ed093175
I thought this was a very well done movie. I enjoyed it greatly. The movie focuses on the back-story of the assassination, the characters involved, and is very true to factual history. If you like a film with a great story to tell, rather than all kinds of amazing "action" shots, you will enjoy this film. Especially if you are interested in history.
conspirator by phylmatt
It was good, but not excellent. Too many whispered conversations that were hard to follow. The main character played his part well.
The Conspirator by Blonde56
Outstanding cast and story. Robert Redford has done it again.
The Conspirator by rjsdenco
No nudity, violence, special effects or sappy sentimentality. O even had to ask mangement to turn down the sound form it's usual annoying thunder. It's a shame that no one is watching this superbly acted and produced film. But given the dismal state of American cinema, that's completely understandable. It should be required viewing by every American who votes next year. It's message strikes at the heart of waht is destroying our nation today, the pervasive expansion of the American security state.
This should be a best picture nomination along with nominations for Robin Wright, James Mc Avoy and the amazing Evan Rachel Wood.
the Conspirator by auntiesue
the acting was great, set design and mood wonderful. Supporting characters were not full characters. Overall an interesting movie. But it made Mary Surat out to be a saint who was just protecting her son at any cost. A bit more balanced view would have been better.
Fantastic! by VegasGiblet
Terrific direction from Robert Redford and wonderful performances from Robin Wright and James McAvoy. A gripping script. Those who appreciate American history (the Civil War, Lincoln's assassination, right to a fair trial, etc.) will find it a compelling and invaluable asset. A cast of young up-and-coming actors will make the film (and American history) appealing to a younger audience. Great work!
Outstanding Movie by cowboys8
This movie is historically accurate and very well made. As a history teacher I have researched the Lincoln assassination and aftermath over the past 20 years. The facts in this movie closely align with what I've learned. The acting is very good. The movie also makes a good point of how Presidential War Powers in this crisis were similar to the JFK assassination and the Guantanamo Bay incidents. A MUST SEE for any history buff or person wanting to learn more about history.