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"THE KITE RUNNER"
(2007) (Khalid Abdalla, Zekeria Ebrahimi) (PG-13)

Alcohol/
Drugs
Blood/Gore Disrespectful/
Bad Attitude
Frightening/
Tense Scenes
Guns/
Weapons
Mild Heavy Extreme Heavy Moderate
Imitative
Behavior
Jump
Scenes
Music
(Scary/Tense)
Music
(Inappropriate)
Profanity
Moderate None Mild None Heavy
Sex/
Nudity
Smoking Tense Family
Scenes
Topics To
Talk About
Violence
Moderate Moderate Heavy Heavy Extreme


QUICK TAKE:
Drama: An author returns to his birth country in hopes of making reparations for decisions he made in his childhood that have haunted him ever since then.
PLOT:
It's 2000 San Francisco and Amir (KHALID ABDALLA) is an author who celebrates the release of his latest work with his fellow immigrant wife, Soraya (ATOSSA LEONI). Just then, a phone call from his late father's friend, Rahim (SHAUN TAUB), results in him traveling back to Kabul, both physically and in his mind to a traumatic point in his childhood.

In 1978, Amir (ZEKERIA EBRAHIMI) is a 12-year-old storyteller who enjoys participating in competitive kite flying with his best friend, Hassan (AHMAD KHAN MAHMIDZADA), who just so happens to be the son of the family's servant. The two get along fabulously, although Amir's father, Baba (HOMAYOUN ERSHADI), wishes his son would be more like Hassan in terms of standing up for himself.

The servant's son certainly has experience with that, having to deal with racial-based hatred at the hands of an older boy, Assef (ELHAM EHSAS) and his fellow bullies. When something bad then happens to Hassan and Amir witnesses that but does nothing to help, his inaction serves to change their lives forever.

Back in the present, and on a mission to make reparations for his past decisions and behavior, Amir puts his life at risk, particularly with the likes of now grown-up Assef (ABDUL SALAM YUSOUFZAI) being part of the Taliban that now controls his former home town.

WILL KIDS WANT TO SEE IT?
If they're fans of the book or are interested in the time, place, and/or subject matter, they might. Otherwise, it's not likely.
WHY THE MPAA RATED IT: PG-13
For strong thematic material including the rape of a child, violence and brief strong language.
CAST AS ROLE MODELS:
  • KHALID ABDALLA plays an adult author who decides to try to make reparations for his bad decisions and behavior in his childhood that affected his best friend. Putting his life in danger, he travels into Taliban-controlled lands in hopes of finally doing the right thing.
  • ZEKERIA EBRAHIMI plays him as a 12-year-old boy and storyteller who disappoints his father in not standing up for himself. Despite being Hassan's best friend, he does nothing to help the boy when Assef and his bullies attack and rape him, and then suffers from the subsequent guilt over his inaction.
  • AHMAD KHAN MAHMIDZADA plays his best friend, a boy who's loyal to him to a fault, presumably partly due to being the son of the family's servant. He must then contend with being attacked and raped by Assef and his fellow bullies, as well as Amir then abandoning him.
  • HOMAYOUN ERSHADI plays Amir's father who's disappointed in his son as a boy for not standing up to himself. He drinks, smokes, and uses brief strong profanity, all while standing up for what he believes is right.
  • SHAUN TAUB plays Baba's friend who gives friendly advice to Amir, both in his childhood and later as an adult.
  • ELHAM EHSAS plays a racially motivated bully who intimidates, attacks and rapes young Hassan in the past.
  • ABDUL SALAM YUSOUFZAI plays that childhood bully and rapist now grown up, a Taliban leader who's abducted Hassan's boy and presumably rapes or at least molests him.
  • ATOSSA LEONI plays Amir's wife and fellow immigrant.
  • CAST, CREW, & TECHNICAL INFO

    HOW OTHERS RATED THIS MOVIE


    Curious if this title is entertaining, any good, and/or has any artistic merit?
    Then read OUR TAKE of this film.


    (Note: The "Our Take" review of this title examines the film's artistic merits and does not take into account any of the possibly objectionable material listed below).


    OUR WORD TO PARENTS:
    Here's a brief summary of the content found in this PG-13 rated drama. Profanity consists of at least 3 rapidly said "f" words, while a handful of other expletives and colorful phrases are also uttered. A sexual affair in the past is briefly referenced, while a boy is raped by an older boy (only the very beginning of the act is seen, with no nudity), while other rape and/or molestation is referenced.

    Other violence includes a couple being stoned to death, as well as a graphic fight, and both incidents have very bloody results. Those scenes and other moments of potential peril might be unsettling for viewers, while various characters obviously have bad attitudes. Some behavior might be enticing for some kids to imitate, tense family material and other thematic elements are present, while characters smoke and/or drink.

    If you're still concerned about the film and its appropriateness for yourself or anyone else in your home who may be interested in seeing it, we suggest that you take a closer look at our detailed listings for more specific information regarding the film's content.

    For those prone to visually induced motion sickness, there's some camera movement following kites flying in the sky, while other camera movement also occurs in the film.


    ALCOHOL OR DRUG USE
  • Baba has a drink, saying that all this talk of singing has made him thirsty.
  • Miscellaneous people drink at a party, where Hassan serves drinks to various partygoers, including Assef who earlier sexually assaulted him.
  • Baba and another man have scotch, while adult Amir has beer. Baba then orders another shot, while miscellaneous people there drink beer. More drinking and toasts continue.
  • Amir, Soraya, and her parents have wine with dinner.
  • BLOOD/GORE
  • We see some drops of blood hitting the ground from Hassan after he's anally raped.
  • We see a severed goat's head as well as a dirt hole filled with blood (in a market).
  • Following a soccer match, two alleged adulterers (a man and woman) are to be stoned to death in front of the crowd (as well as Amir and his guide who watch in horror). A stone is smashed into one victim's head, followed by many stones from many people that pelt the two victims, bloodying and killing them. The bloody bodies are then thrown into a truck.
  • Amir is bloody after Assef beats him (his face is later swollen and appears to be missing the outer layer of skin on his chin), while Assef's face is bloody after a slingshot bit gets him in the eye.
  • We see a severed cow's head on a cart, as well as many severed goat heads on the ground.
  • DISRESPECTFUL/BAD ATTITUDE
  • After Amir urges him to do so, Hassan fires a nut at a dog via a slingshot.
  • Assef refers to Amir and Hassan as "faggots" and is a racially motivated bully toward Hassan.
  • Serving as a storyteller, Amir tells the tale of a husband who killed his wife.
  • Assef and other punks corner Hassan in an alley and want the kite he possesses. He won't give it up, as he says it belongs to Amir, and thus the boys beat and kick the younger boy, followed by at least Assef anally raping him. We don't see that actual act (although we see Hassan's pants staring to come down and Assef starting to undo his pants, all as Amir sees the beginning of it as he hides in horror and shame for not helping). We then see Hassan walking out gingerly, with some drops of blood hitting the ground as he proceeds.
  • Ashamed about not previously helping his friend, Amir pelts Hassan with fruit, trying to entice him into fighting back (and thus give Amir his comeuppance), but Hassan just takes the abuse.
  • Stricken with guilt over having not helped his friend, Amir asks his father to get new servants (Hassan being the son of the main servant), but Baba won't do it, and tells the boy, "You bring me shame."
  • Stricken with guilt over having not helped his friend, Amir tries to frame Hassan for stealing his watch (that he plants in Hassan's room).
  • The Soviets invade Afghanistan.
  • After a truck of refugees is stopped, a Russian soldier wants half an hour in a truck with a new mother (meaning for sex). Baba won't allow that to happen, and the soldier prepares his gun, but then stands down when his commander shows up.
  • Soraya's strict father puts adult Amir in his place, and then throws the story Amir gave to Soraya in the trash.
  • When he hears of a doctor's Russian heritage, Baba the patient shoves the man away and leaves.
  • We learn that adult Assef has abducted Hassan's son and has raped or at least molested the boy.
  • Amir comments on his father having slept with their servant's wife in the past.
  • Soraya's father uses a racial term for Amir's nephew, and Amir calls him on that.
  • FRIGHTENING SCENES
  • Assef throws a rock at one boy, with Hassan then aiming his slingshot at him and other bullies, forcing them to back down.
  • Assef and other punks corner Hassan in an alley and want the kite he possesses. He won't give it up, as he says it belongs to Amir, and thus the boys beat and kick the younger boy, followed by at least Assef anally raping him. We don't see that actual act (although we see Hassan's pants staring to come down and Assef starting to undo his pants, all as Amir sees the beginning of it as he hides in horror and shame for not helping). We then see Hassan walking out gingerly, with some drops of blood hitting the ground as he proceeds.
  • After a truck of refugees is stopped, a Russian soldier wants half an hour in a truck with a new mother (meaning for sex). Baba won't allow that to happen, and the soldier prepares his gun, but then stands down when his commander shows up.
  • Baba has some chest pains.
  • On a rescue mission to retrieve his orphaned nephew from a Taliban leader who's kidnapped the boy, adult Amir dons a fake beard and travels through perilous locales and checkpoints with a guide/driver to find and save the boy.
  • With Amir back home in Taliban controlled lands, we briefly see a hanged man on the rundown street.
  • We see orphaned kids with missing limbs as they play.
  • Following a soccer match, two alleged adulterers (a man and woman) are to be stoned to death in front of the crowd (as well as Amir and his guide who watch in horror). A stone is smashed into one victim's head, followed by many stones from many people that pelt the two victims, bloodying and killing them. The bloody bodies are then thrown into a truck.
  • Spoiler Alert: Armed guards escort Amir to meet adult Assef who's the man who's kidnapped Hassan's son. Assef realizes it's Amir and makes him remove his beard (which we were earlier told would be a bad thing), and then makes the boy dance. Assef then repeatedly hits, punches, and kicks Amir, followed by slamming his head to a wall and something else. Hassan's son then fires his slingshot, with the shot hitting Assef in the eye (both he and Amir are very bloody). Amir and the boy then escape, with guards firing machine guns at them, with some bullets hitting their truck.
  • Adult Amir worries when he discovers that Hassan's son is missing.
  • GUNS/WEAPONS
  • As the Soviets invade, we hear distant explosions, while seeing tanks as well as soldiers carrying machine guns.
  • We see various armed guards in several scenes.
  • IMITATIVE BEHAVIOR
  • Phrases: "F*ck the Russian," "Are you crazy," "Faggots," "Loyal dog," "You fool," "Whore" (said about America) and "Pissed."
  • Some kids may be enticed into competitive kite flying where the goal is to cut the opponent's line in midair.
  • After Amir urges him to do so, Hassan fires a nut at a dog via a slingshot.
  • Stricken with guilt over having not helped his friend, Amir tries to frame Hassan for stealing his watch (that he plants in Hassan's room).
  • A miscellaneous person has a pierced nostril.
  • We see men stone a man and woman to death (disturbed kids might try the same with younger kids or animals).
  • JUMP SCENES
  • None.
  • MUSIC (SCARY/TENSE)
  • A mild amount of suspenseful and ominous music plays in a few scenes.
  • MUSIC (INAPPROPRIATE)
  • None.
  • PROFANITY
  • At least 3 "f" words, 2 uses of "G-damn" and 1 use of "Godforsaken."
  • SEX/NUDITY
  • Assef and other punks corner Hassan in an alley and want the kite he possesses. He won't give it up, as he says it belongs to Amir, and thus the boys beat and kick the younger boy, followed by at least Assef anally raping him. We don't see that actual act (although we see Hassan's pants staring to come down and Assef starting to undo his pants, all as Amir sees the beginning of it as he hides in horror and shame for not helping). We then see Hassan walking out gingerly, with some drops of blood hitting the ground as he proceeds.
  • After a truck of refugees is stopped, a Russian soldier wants half an hour in a truck with a new mother (meaning for sex). Baba won't allow that to happen, and the soldier prepares his gun, but then stands down when his commander shows up.
  • Soraya shows some cleavage.
  • Rahim asks Amir if he has any kids. Amir replies that he and Soraya tried, but to no avail.
  • Hassan's son says that Assef "used to get me" (presumably meaning rape).
  • Amir comments on his father having slept with their servant's wife in the past.
  • SMOKING
  • Baba smokes at least 5 times, while a number of minor and miscellaneous characters smoke in various scenes.
  • A miscellaneous person buys cigarettes in a convenience store.
  • TENSE FAMILY SCENES
  • Amir overhears his father telling Rahim that Amir doesn't fight back or stand up for himself when picked on by others. Amir later says that his father hates him, as the boy believes his father blames him for killing his mother (in childbirth).
  • Stricken with guilt over having not helped his friend, Amir asks his father to get new servants (Hassan being the son of the main servant), but Baba won't do it, and tells the boy, "You bring me shame."
  • Baba is quite sick, thus causing concern for adult Amir who cares for him.
  • A man's father dies and we then see the funeral scene.
  • Spoiler Alert: Rahim informs Amir (who's returned home after a long absence) that the Taliban executed Hassan (by shooting him in the back of the head) and his wife, thus orphaning their child. Amir then learns that Hassan was really his half-brother, and thus the orphaned child is his nephew. Amir is then mad that his father lied to him in the past about Hassan.
  • Hassan's son says that Assef "used to get me" (presumably meaning rape). He then says that he's starting to forget his parents' faces, but is glad they're dead as he wouldn't want them to see him, adding, "I'm so dirty" (referring to the earlier, unseen rapes or molestation).
  • TOPICS TO TALK ABOUT
  • Guilt and its repercussions, and trying to make reparations for that.
  • Childhood rape and molestation, and the guilt and shame that goes along with that.
  • The history of the era in which the story takes place.
  • Living up to parental expectations.
  • The philosophy that all sins stem from stealing of one form or another.
  • Why Amir didn't help his friend when Assef and other bullies cornered, beat, and raped the boy.
  • Soraya admits to Amir that in the past, she ran off with an Afghani man for a month (telling this to Amir to see if he still wants to marry her after learning that).
  • The director of an orphanage in Taliban controlled lands says that he occasionally has to sell kids to Taliban officials or suffer he consequences (for him and the other remaining orphans).
  • Hassan's son says that Assef "used to get me" (presumably meaning rape). He then says that he's starting to forget his parents' faces, but is glad they're dead as he wouldn't want them to see him, adding, "I'm so dirty" (referring to the earlier, unseen rapes or molestation).
  • VIOLENCE
  • After Amir urges him to do so, Hassan fires a nut at a dog via a slingshot.
  • Assef throws a rock at one boy, with Hassan then aiming his slingshot at him and other bullies, forcing them to back down.
  • Assef and other punks corner Hassan in an alley and want the kite he possesses. He won't give it up, as he says it belongs to Amir, and thus the boys beat and kick the younger boy, followed by at least Assef anally raping him. We don't see that actual act (although we see Hassan's pants staring to come down and Assef starting to undo his pants, all as Amir sees the beginning of it as he hides in horror and shame for not helping). We then see Hassan walking out gingerly, with some drops of blood hitting the ground as he proceeds.
  • Ashamed about not previously helping his friend, Amir pelts Hassan with fruit, trying to entice him into fighting back (and thus give Amir his comeuppance), but Hassan just takes the abuse.
  • When he hears of a doctor's Russian heritage, Baba the patient shoves the man away and leaves.
  • With Amir back home in Taliban controlled lands, we briefly see a hanged man on the rundown street.
  • Following a soccer match, two alleged adulterers (a man and woman) are to be stoned to death in front of the crowd (as well as Amir and his guide who watch in horror). A stone is smashed into one victim's head, followed by many stones from many people that pelt the two victims, bloodying and killing them. The bloody bodies are then thrown into a truck.
  • Spoiler Alert: Armed guards escort Amir to meet adult Assef who's the man who's kidnapped Hassan's son. Assef realizes it's Amir and makes him remove his beard (which we were earlier told would be a bad thing), and then makes the boy dance. Assef then repeatedly hits, punches, and kicks Amir, followed by slamming his head to a wall and something else. Hassan's son then fires his slingshot, with the shot hitting Assef in the eye (both he and Amir are very bloody). Amir and the boy then escape, with guards firing machine guns at them, with some bullets hitting their truck.



  • Reviewed October 29, 2007 / Posted December 21, 2007

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