The Conspirator Parent Guide
Intelligent and thought provoking, this script will certainly intrigue anyone with an interest in history. It will also capture the attention of audiences seeking a high quality drama.
Parent Movie Review
An assassination of a US President is never an open and shut case. Decades after the death of John F. Kennedy, books upon books are filled with theories about how many people were involved in the murder of America’s 35th leader. And nearly 100 years prior to that dreadful day, the nation’s first presidential assassination took place with the shooting of Abraham Lincoln.
The Conspirator doesn’t doubt for a moment that John Wilkes Booth (played by Toby Kebbell) was the man who fired the pistol. Booth was a popular actor at the time and, as such, had an easily recognized face that publically proclaimed the death as the South’s revenge. Instead this movie questions exactly who else was involved and to what degree.
After the horrific incident at the Ford Theater, government agents quickly rounded up any persons that had even a remote relationship with Booth—including Mary Surratt (Robin Wright), the operator of a boarding house where he and some acquaintances often met. She was also the mother of John Surratt (Johnny Simmons), a young man thought to be part of the crime.
Frederick Aiken (James McAvoy) is the rookie lawyer who reluctantly agrees to represent Mary at the trial. With no love for the South, his initial bias against the accused woman is hardly veiled. But as the case unfolds, he begins to question his own feelings as well as the military’s motives that might well be compared to a lynch mob.
Directed by Robert Redford, the production firmly subscribes to the theory that Mary is guilty only by association. Yet as evidence against her son John (who has evaded arrest by seeking asylum in Canada) continues to mount, the prosecutor’s determination to convict only increases. Adding to the pressure is the state’s desire to avenge Lincoln’s death by making a public display of the Confederate instigators behind the plot. And Mary’s neck in a noose would certainly help to satisfy that requirement.
As violent as this sounds, The Conspirator is essentially a courtroom drama. The opening 20 minutes contain some unsettling scenes that may cause concern, including the shot that kills Lincoln and (even more disturbing) the brutal stabbing of Secretary of State William H. Seward while he is bedridden from a previous injury. (Assassinations of Seward and Vice-President Andrew Johnson were also planned on that same evening, but only Lincoln’s wounds proved fatal.) Near the end, the movie depicts the hanging of four people. However the film doesnt delve into gory blood effects or gratuitous details. Nor does it include sexual content, and mild profanities are used sparingly. Thanks to these content constraints, Redford has created a film that should be suitable for most teens.
Intelligent and thought provoking, this script will certainly intrigue anyone with an interest in history. It will also capture the attention of audiences seeking a high quality drama. Aided by solid performances and an authentic representation of the period, The Conspirator is the first film from The American Film Company, whose mission is to bring true stories about America’s past to the screen. One can only hope they will continue to recreate history in the future.
Release Date: 15 April 2011(Limited)Directed by Robert Redford . Starring Robin Wright, James McAvoy, Tom Wilkinson. Running time: 123 minutes. Theatrical release May 13, 2011. Updated July 17, 2017
Rating & Content Info
Why is The Conspirator rated PG-13? The Conspirator is rated PG-13 by the MPAA for some violent content.
Violence: The first section of this film portrays images from the Civil War, including dead soldiers on the battlefields. The assassination of the President is depicted with little or no blood. A man, who is bedridden with injuries from a previous accident, is attacked and stabbed multiple times. The assailant also attacks and injures others when he enters and leaves the house. A blood-covered knife is seen. Four people are led to the gallows and are hanged. A brick is thrown into a home, breaking a window. Discussions of violence and prejudice are heard.
Sexual Content: None noted.
Language: Infrequent mild profanities.
Drugs/Alcohol: Smoking and drinking are portrayed in this period film.
Page last updated July 17, 2017
More parents' guide for The Conspirator after the break...
The Conspirator Parents' Guide
The Conspirator is the first film made by The American Film Company, an organization dedicated to creating movies about American history. Their website is located at www.theamericanfilmcompany.com. They also have extensive historical resources that may be accessed by clicking the link near the top of the page labeled "Talk History."
For more information about President Lincoln’s assassination, check out these sites:
The most recent home video release of The Conspirator movie is August 16, 2011. Here are some details…
The Conspirator releases to home video on August 16, 2011. Bonus extras include:
- Feature-length documentary about the plot to kill Lincoln
- Interviews with the cast and crew
- Numerous featurettes on the making of the film and the true story behind it
- Image Galleries
- Video commentary with Robert Redford