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What parents should know about 'Murder on the Orient Express'

POSTED November 11, 2017 3:40 a.m.
David Clyde/

Johnny Depp in Murder on the Orient Express (2017)

THE MOVIE THEATER — Sometimes a movie comes along that is pretty OK and manages to do it without the use of gratuitous sex or violence. "Murder on the Orient Express" presents a good murder mystery while keeping it all about the plot and colorful characters.

With a name like “Murder on the Orient Express,” I was expecting a lot more violence.

As far as PG-13 movies go, there is rarely a time I can say a film didn’t deserve its rating. As for “Murder on the Orient Express,” I’m wondering if the producers petitioned the MPAA to bump the film up to a PG-13 rating just to give it some street cred with the teen demographic.

I’m not complaining; it’s refreshing to see a film that doesn't exploit violence and sex to sell tickets. It just means that in this parent's review, there isn't much to warn you about.

With that said, here's what you should know before taking your kids to see "Murder on the Orient Express."

Violence

There are some instances of fist fighting, a nonfatal shooting and one scene where you see a character superficially stabbed with a knife. In almost all cases, there is little-to-no blood shown. The most graphic scene in the film shows a corpse with a bloodied nightshirt after being stabbed multiple times. This particular scene may be a little unsettling for children, but is probably considered tame by even network TV standards.

Language

Most of the dialogue in this film is sharp and witty, and much of the script was used extremely well to set up the complicated premise for the mystery. There were only a few instances of mild swearing, with none of it graphic, gratuitous or sexual in nature.

Sexual content

There is nothing of any note in the sexual content category of this film. I’m struggling to think of anything to mention beyond a couple mild sexual innuendos. Honestly, Blanche Devereaux from “Golden Girls” runs circles around anything suggested in “Murder on the Orient Express.”

Disturbing

While this film is considered tame by almost every standard, there is one essential plot point that I would consider a little dark and possibly disturbing for very young children who may see it. Since this component is a key element in the film and everything about this movie is designed to keep the audience guessing, I won’t give any details.

I will only say if you have a child who is worried about death, this film may or may not raise a couple of questions. This particular warning is even a bit of a stretch since this film shows very little at all in terms of violence, and the portion to which I am referring shows no actual violence, it only gives a description of something that took place. Take this one for what it's worth.

Conclusion

Would I take a young child to this movie? Probably not. Not because I am afraid of what they would see or hear but because they would probably lose interest in the plot by the time the movie gets chugging at full steam. If you or your teenager like a little intellectual stimulation and a good whodunit, then I have no problem recommending “Murder on the Orient Express.”

For a full review of the film, check out John Clyde’s article.

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