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Still shot from the movie: In the Valley of Elah.

In the Valley of Elah

When Mike Deerfield (Jonathan Tucker) mysteriously goes missing after returning from a tour of duty in Iraq, his career officer father Hank (Tommy Lee Jones) and devoted mother (Susan Sarandon), become convinced something is seriously wrong. In order to find their son and uncover the truth, the worried parents enlist the help of local police detective Emily Sanders (Charlize Theron). Get the movie review and more. »

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Overall: C-
Violence: C-
Sexual Content: D
Language: D
Drugs/Alcohol: D+
Theater Release: 20 Sep 2007
Video Release: 19 Feb 2008
MPAA Rating: R
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Why Is In the Valley of Elah Rated R?


This movie takes a serious and discomforting look at what can happen to a young person who is asked to serve his country on the front lines. While there isn’t a lot of on-screen violence, detailed discussions of children being killed, people being tortured, and a brutal murder are heard frequently. We do see burnt and dismembered body parts on a couple of occasions, and a body with lacerations around the neck. Other pictures show some combat situations, including the body of a child lying on the side of a road. Scenes within a strip bar show topless women who are participating in sexual situations with male military patrons. Later, one topless woman has an extended non-sexual conversation with a man. Language includes frequent sexual expletives along with other mild and moderate profanities. Heavy social drinking is depicted. The use of illegal drugs by military personnel is discussed and it’s implied that drugs are a common problem in the military.

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About the Reviewer: Rod Gustafson

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