The Kite Runner parents guide

The Kite Runner Parent Guide

Overall B

When the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan, a young boy and his father fled the country. Now an adult and an author, Amir (Khalid Abdullah) returns to his childhood home hoping to find and help old friends.

Release date December 13, 2007

Violence C-
Sexual Content D+
Profanity C-
Substance Use B-

Why is The Kite Runner rated PG-13? The MPAA rated The Kite Runner PG-13 for strong thematic material including the rape of a child, violence and brief strong language

Run Time: 128 minutes

Parent Movie Review

If you leave this film feeling even slightly uncomfortable, then Director Marc Forster has done his job. Based on a novel by Khaled Hosseini, The Kite Runner is a story of the havoc of war, told from a personal and a societal perspective.

Amir (Zekeria Ebrahimi), a young Afghanistan boy, lives in relative wealth in the city of Kabul. His father (Homayoun Ershadi), a widower since the death of his wife in childbirth, is an outspoken leader in the community whose beliefs often put his own safety at risk. Hassan (Ahmad Khan Mahmidzada), one of the family’s young servants, becomes a faithful and dedicated friend to Amir. Together, the two boys scour the city streets in search of adventure. But, Hassan’s ethnic background makes him the target of abuse from a group of older teens who eventually rape the boy when he refuses to denounce his loyalty to Amir.

Overseeing the event from an undetected vantage point, Amir is left to deal with the guilt of abandoning his friend in the face of the thugs. It’s a wound on his conscience that refuses to heal despite his crude attempts to erase his shame.

However before Amir is ready to face up to Hassan, Communists descend on the country and eventually the encroaching Russian armies send the young boy and his father fleeing from the city to preserve their lives. It is only years later, as an adult living in America, that Amir is finally given a chance to atone for his mistake.

Strong performances, especially from the child actors, show the resilience of youth despite horrific surroundings. Other characters in the film also display heroic attempts to protect the vulnerable and abandoned. Every day, an orphanage operator is faced with sickening decisions as he attempts to save as many children as possible from the Taliban who have replaced the Russians as the governing force in the nation.

Unfortunately, as the partially subtitled film’s carnage and cruelty rise so does the content level. In addition to the violation of Hassan, there is discussion of other children who are sexually abused. After stopping a truck of fleeing citizens at the border, a soldier attempts to assault a young woman in front of her husband. Later, another woman, accused of adultery, is publicly stoned in a stadium full of spectators while her counterpart remains unscathed. Along the way, others are brutally beaten or shot as the region is decimated by conflict. With so many disturbing events, parents might want to preview this film before allowing their older children to see it.

Still, the conflict is one that refuses to be ignored. Beginning with individuals who act courageously in the face of danger, their deeds are a spot of hope for a country ravaged by atrocities.

Starring Khalid Abdalla, Homayon Ershadi, Shaun Toub, Atossa Leoni.. Running time: 128 minutes. Theatrical release December 13, 2007. Updated

The Kite Runner
Rating & Content Info

Why is The Kite Runner rated PG-13? The Kite Runner is rated PG-13 by the MPAA for strong thematic material including the rape of a child, violence and brief strong language

A young boy’s life in Afghanistan is rocked when older boys rape him (shown without explicit details). Dialogue contains the discussion of other child abuse as well. Children, some of who have amputated limbs, are bullied, beaten or accused of crimes they did not commit. In a sports stadium full of people, a woman is publicly stoned to death, her blood-spattered body dumped into a truck. In two bloody scenes, an adult male is severely beaten and another character is shot in the eye with a slingshot. There are frequent depictions of guns and guards in war zones. Adult characters frequently smoke and drink. Bloody decapitated animal heads are seen lying in the streets. One use of an extreme sexual expletive is used along with infrequent profanities.

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More parents' guide for The Kite Runner after the break...

The Kite Runner Parents' Guide

Why does Amir’s father consider theft to be the one great sin? How does he connect it to other crimes?

How does Amir’s personality differ from Hassan’s? How does Amir’s father feel about his son’s interest in writing? What strengths does each boy possess? How does Hassan deal with his position in life?

How do the virtues of forgiveness, atonement and resilience play into the film’s script?

Home Video

The most recent home video release of The Kite Runner movie is March 24, 2008. Here are some details…

DVD Release Date: 25 March 2008

The Kite Runner sails onto DVD with audio commentaries (by director Marc Foster, novel author Khaled Hosseini and screenplay writer David Benioff), three featurettes (Words From The Kite Runner, Images From The Kite Runner and a Public Service Announcement With Khaled Hosseini) and theatrical trailers. Audio tracks are available in Dolby Digital Surround 5.1 (English, French and Spanish), with subtitles in English, French and Spanish.

Related home video titles:

In a fashion similar to The Kite Runner, Hotel Rwanda details the atrocities that took place during Rwanda’s genocide and the brave souls who tried to save the lives of many ethnic victims. Following his experience in Hotel Rwanda, Don Cheadle became involved in bringing public awareness to the war torn region of Sudan in the film Darfur Now.