Lakeview Terrace Parent Guide
Parent Movie Review
“To protect and to serve” is taken to a whole new level by Abel Turner (Samuel Jackson). The 28-year-veteran of the Los Angeles Police Department never puts his gun down. When he’s not patrolling his culturally diverse inner city district with his Hispanic partner (Jay Hernandez), he’s walking his own self-imposed beat in the quiet suburb where he lives.
Seemingly possessed with an extreme sense of duty, Abel’s need to control the choices and actions of others spills into every aspect of his life. Along with being a stickler for the proper use of English, the officer enforces a strict moral code at home and is tough on his two children (Regine Nehy, Jaishon Fisher). At work, he gives new meaning to the term “police brutality” when he threatens to shoot a man (Caleeb Pinkett) in the face with his own shotgun after interceding in a domestic dispute. The only time his staunch ethical stand wavers is at a bachelor party he hosts for one of his fellow workers that includes scantily clad lap dancers.
Still, the vigilant cop brings a certain amount of comfort to most of the residents on his street. However for his new next-door neighbors, Chris and Lisa Mattson (Patrick Wilson and Kerry Washington), his diligence borders on vigilantism. And it doesn’t take long for the young couple to discern how he feels about their interracial marriage and their sexual activities in their private, backyard pool.
But when Abel’s crude, racial remarks, sexual innuendos and conjugal interference cause Chris to resort to retaliation, the peaceful street turns into a scene straight out of High Noon. Along with vulgar verbal shrapnel (including two strong, sexual expletives), real bullets start flying and blood flows after a hired thug breaks into the Mattson home.
Soon it appears everyone is struggling with racial issues, and the exchange of curt comments happens as often between Chris and Lisa as does the name-calling between neighbors. In fact, it’s hard at times to know who is the biggest enemy in the film. Nor will Abel’s bad cop character do anything to improve the image of real LAPD officers, even if his harassment makes the “average” bad neighbor look a whole lot better.
Unfortunately, far too often this thriller feels more tedious than tense. Without many jump scenes or a satisfying culmination to the house wars, the movie’s only point seems to be that whether between neighbors or couples, relationships aren’t just black and white.Starring Samuel L. Jackson, Patrick Wilson, Kerry Washington. Running time: 110 minutes. Theatrical release September 18, 2008. Updated January 29, 2009
Rating & Content Info
Why is Lakeview Terrace rated PG-13? Lakeview Terrace is rated PG-13 by the MPAA for intense thematic material, violence, sexuality, language and some drug references.
This script is packed with moderate profanities as well as a couple of strong, sexual expletives. Terms of Deity, racial slurs and sexual innuendos are also included. Neighbors watch a couple having sexual relations in their pool. At a bachelor’s party, women dance provocatively and make sexual advances toward a man. Bare male buttocks are briefly seen. A character exercises excessive force on a man, including hitting and threatening to shoot him. Officers confront a drug dealer and bully him. A man takes a bullet to the chest and another is shot at close proximity. Blood from a body is shown in a swimming pool. Police and civilians exchange gunfire in the street. A man attacks a woman during a home invasion. Social drinking and cigarette smoking are shown. Some drug references are made.
Page last updated January 29, 2009
More parents' guide for Lakeview Terrace after the break...
Lakeview Terrace Parents' Guide
How are interracial relationships portrayed in this film? What drives Abel’s negative feelings toward Chris and Lisa? How does society in general regard couples of mixed race in comparison to past decades?
When does police authority cross the line and become harassment or abuse? At what point does community involvement become vigilantism?
Does the use of ethno-cultural slurs and other derogatory terms in films increase the acceptance of these kinds of remarks in real life interactions?
The most recent home video release of Lakeview Terrace movie is January 27, 2009. Here are some details…
Locate Lakeview Terrace on DVD or Blu-ray and you’ll find the following amenities:
- Commentary with director Neil LaBute and actress Kerry Washington.
- Deleted scenes.
- Featurettes (An Open House, Meet Your Neighbors and Home Sweet Home).
The Blu-ray Disc edition of Lakeview Terrace is also BD-Live enabled.