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Emperor Movie Review

Emperor Trailer

movie review rating guide for parents and families

MPAA Rating

for violent content, brief strong language and smoking - historical


Peter Webber

Matthew Fox, Tommy Lee Jones, Eriko Hatsune, Toshiyuki Nishida

Roadside Attractions

Release Date/In Theaters

Emperor Movie Review for Parents

-by Ginger

            Emperor is set in the days after the end of World War II, American occupied Japan and had to finish the job but it started during the war.  Emperor Hirohito was worshiped by the people of Japan, but now has the possibility of facing charges for war crimes against the United States.  This gripping tale is historically accurate, but may not be the best kids movie for younger members of the family.  This movie shows an accurate portrayal of life in occupied Japan after WWII.

            The movie does not show a lot of actual violence, but it does show the aftermath of the bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.  It shows destitute people amidst the rubble of the destruction and lives that were destroyed.  It also contains many threats of violence as both sides square off to make their point.  Tommy Lee Jones, playing General Douglas MacArthur, must win the hearts is a Japanese people and make sure that the Americans are seen as heroes, rather than conquerors.  This movie has mystery, intrigue, and politics.

            This movie is an excellent film for young teens and those who are studying this period in history.  It is historically accurate and provides interesting insight into both sides of the political issues in post-WWII Japan.  The move is well-researched and contains many details that you do not find in history books.  However, for the younger ones, it may not be the best choice for a movie. First of all, they would not understand it and secondly, there are some very frightening scenes of destruction and conditions after the bombs were dropped. There are lots of people with burns and injuries on their faces, hungry, starving and desperate.

After the surrender of Emperor Hirohito, MacArthur suddenly found himself as the de facto ruler of Japan. He had to decide whether Emperor Hirohito should be tried for war crimes, particularly ordering the bombing of Pearl Harbor, or whether this move would turn the Japanese people against the Americans and spark a rebellion. General MacArthur was walking on thin ice and this movie tells the story of the decisions that were made and what provoked them.

            Emperor is an excellent movie that brings the stories behind occupied Japan to life. It is an excellent movie for those 13 and above because it brings meaning to the history lessons that they will study in school. It is something different to read about it in a book and to see the actions of the people that resulted in the important decisions during this time period. This is an excellent movie for older children, but the realities of the war may be too much for the younger members of the family and it is not a good kids movie for those under the age of 11.

Read more family movie reviews by Parental Guide.