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The Conspirator Review

Movies.com Critics

2.0

Dave White Profile

Feels like homework. Read full review

2.5

Grae Drake Profile

Sic semper bore-annis. Read full review

Other Critics provided by Metacritic.com

Critics scores range from 0 to 100, with higher scores indicating more favorable reviews.

  • 3.0
    55

    out of 100

    Metascore®
    Mixed or average reviews
    based on a weighted average of all
    critic review scores.

  • 20

    out of 100

    Wall Street Journal Joe Morgenstern

    Like most other members of an excellent cast that includes James McAvoy, Kevin Kline and Tom Wilkinson, she (Robin Wright) has come under the deadening directorial hand of Robert Redford.

    Read Full Review

  • 50

    out of 100

    Entertainment Weekly Owen Gleiberman

    The movie is stiff-jointed and dull.

    Read Full Review

  • 75

    out of 100

    USA Today Claudia Puig

    Redford methodically presents the injustices piled on Surratt and suggests what might have prompted her stoicism. But James D. Solomon's script is often flat, perhaps in a misguided effort to be stately.

    Read Full Review

  • See all The Conspirator reviews at Metacritic.com

For Families provided by Common Sense Media

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
  • message true4

    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.

  • rolemodels true4

    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 false3

    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 false1

    Sex: A couple kisses; some flirting.

  • language false3

    Language: Infrequent use of words like “damned," "hell," "oh my God," and "arse," plus a couple of uses of "s--t."

  • consumerism false0

    Consumerism: Not an issue

  • drugsalcoholtobacco false2

    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.

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