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Captain Phillips Family Movie Review

Captain Phillips Trailer

movie review rating guide for parents and families

MPAA Rating

for sustained intense sequences of menace, some violence with bloody images, and for substance use

Action | Biography | Drama | Thriller

Paul Greengrass

Tom Hanks, Barkhad Abdi, Barkhad Abdirahman

Warner Bros.

Release Date/In Theaters

Captain Phillips Movie Review for Parents

-by Ginger

Tom Hanks fan, he's back. This time our hero is back as Captain Richard Phillips, in the self-titled movie, Captain Phillips. This modern pirate tale is based on the book, "A Captain's Duty: Somali Pirates, Navy SEALS, and Dangerous Days at Sea." One can easily see, why they shortened the title from that of the book. The real question is whether you want to take you kids or find a sitter for this one. This typical Tom Hanks action adventure may not be the best family movie choice of the season.

The story is based on true events involving Captain Phillips and the 2009 incident where a US ship was hijacked by Somali pirates. The US-flagged MV Maersk Alabama was the first US cargo ship to be hijacked in over two hundred years. This event made quite a news story at the time. The movie is based on the real events, and it is far too intense for the little ones. The MPAA rated it PG-13 for, "sustained intense sequences of menace, some violence with bloody images, and for substance use." This is putting it mildly. This movie uses profanity in two languages. Even the subtitles when the Somali pirates contain profanity. Don't let your teens convince you that it is an educational film because they want to learn a second language.

The pirates smoke and eat Khat leaves, a heavy narcotic. This movie has several cultural references that will educate the adult audience, but this is not the right way to immerse oneself in world cultures. This is a pirate movie and pirates are doing what one would expect pirates to do, but these are not any Disney pirates. In this movie, a person is hit in the head with a wrench and drops dead in one blow. Ouch! There is lots of jamming of rifle butts into body parts, but you have to give them credit for keeping the bullet count down. There are many fist-fighting scenes. This parental guide to the movie thought the splattered blood and dead face with the eyes open was enough to declare this one off limits for even young teens.

This movie takes you behind the scenes of the news story. It brings this news story to life in a way that is much too intense for the younger members of the family. If you like tough guys who can give the bad guys a run for their money, then this movie will not disappoint. Tom Hanks is in a role where he shines. Tom Hanks in any military role is sheer poetry, but this pirate flick has a little more to offer than a bottle of rum. It is about real bad guys and a real situation, not the best movie for kids.

Read more family movie reviews by Parental Guide.