The Lost City of Z Parent Guide
Truth may not be stranger than fiction but it's at least as exciting.
Parent Movie Review
By 1905, the age of exploration is coming to a close. Maps are filling in, and there are fewer and fewer unknown places for an ambitious explorer to discover. Major Percy Fawcett (Charlie Hunnam) has been assigned to one of the only blank spaces left on the map. Still known as Amazonia, the area has become the source of a border dispute between Brazil and Bolivia, with several rich rubber producing areas on the line. Major Fawcett and his aide-de-camp, Henry Costin (Robert Pattinson) are to survey the area and delineate the borders to prevent a war which could disrupt the global rubber supply.
While surveying the vast jungle, Fawcett stumbles on evidence of an ancient civilization - shards of pottery and sophisticated stone carvings which would throw European conceptions about the uncivilized nature of the indigenous population into question. He has neither the food nor the supplies to investigate further, but Fawcett is captured by the idea of a lost city, which he refers to as Z and is determined to find. If he wants to go back to Amazonia, though, Fawcett will have to persuade his wife, Nina (Sienna Miller) who understandably wants him at home with her and their children.
Truth may not be stranger than fiction, but it’s at least as exciting. Fawcett’s real life adventures through the unmapped jungles of South America are incredible enough, to say nothing of his harrowing experiences in the First World War. The film isn’t hung up on the details of these exploits as much as it’s focused on the motivations and consequences these expeditions entail. Fawcett’s determination to prove the sophisticated origins of a people who have been denigrated, enslaved and abused; his desire for recognition and success; and the struggle he faces in reconciling those needs with his familial responsibilities elevate what would otherwise be a fairly by-the-numbers trek into the unknown into a fascinating character study of an explorer born at the end of empires.
While the film, at two-and-a-half hours in length, is too long for younger audiences, parents won’t find too much else to worry about. Apart, that is, from the violence. While not excessively gory or explicit, there are still scenes of unpleasant deaths, some of which are more deliberate than others. There’s also a good bit of what I would describe as “National Geographic nudity”, which is to say, non-sexual toplessness and a proclivity for loincloths: Both, I should mention, seem like a good idea in a steaming hot jungle.
Although the film could use a little trimming to keep the runtime down and the pacing up, The Lost City of Z is a compelling look at a man’s reach exceeding his grasp, far from the comforts of home and family. It’s a hard journey through a beautiful, at times surreal, landscape which even today is quite inaccessible. I haven’t seen many other films that so gracefully handle the excitement, beauty, and incredible hardship of exploration. If you’ve got the time to watch it, I highly recommend it.Directed by James Gray. Starring Charlie Hunnam, Sienna Miller, Tom Holland, Robert Pattinson. Running time: 141 minutes. Theatrical release April 14, 2017. Updated March 26, 2022
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The Lost City of Z
Rating & Content Info
Why is The Lost City of Z rated PG-13? The Lost City of Z is rated PG-13 by the MPAA for violence, disturbing images, brief strong language and some nudity
Violence: There are scenes depicting hunting and the killing of animals. Corpses are seen on several occasions. People are stabbed and impaled by thrown weapons. A man is killed by piranhas. Characters are shot, and many are killed in scenes depicting the first world war. There are brief depictions of funereal cannibalism and shrunken heads. Indigenous people are shown in shackles and with scars on their backs caused by whips.
Sexual Content: There are several scenes of non-sexual nudity involving indigenous peoples with visible breasts and buttocks.
Profanity: There is one use of extreme profanity, and very infrequent uses of terms of deity and mild cursing.
Alcohol / Drug Use: Adult characters are seen drinking socially. The protagonist discourages alcohol consumption. Individuals are involuntarily given an unspecified narcotic. An unspecified substance is poured in a river to stun fish.
Page last updated March 26, 2022
The Lost City of Z Parents' Guide
What are some of the consequences of the European obsession with exploration? Which of those consequences can be seen in the film? How does Percy’s expedition differ from others? What would the discovery of Z change about contemporary understandings of human history? Were his suspicions of an ancient civilization in the Brazilian rainforest ever confirmed? Why would such a significant dwelling be depopulated?
More information about Percy Fawcett can be found below:
Wikipedia: Percy Fawcett
Loved this movie? Try these books…
The story of Percy Fawcett’s obsession with the history of Amazonia is retold in David Grann’s 2010 book, The Lost City of Z.
If lost civilizations intrigue you, there are plenty of books to read. In Four Lost Cities: A Secret History of the Urban Age, author Annalee Newitz uncovers the buried stories of cities covered by time in Turkey, Italy, Cambodia, and the USA.Douglas Preston’s The Lost City of the Monkey God tells the story of a 2012 expedition to find the missing White City of Honduras. The discovery of Mayan cities is detailed in Jungle of Stone: The Extraordinary Journey fo the American Explorer Who Discovered the Lost Civilization of the Mayans by William Carlsen.
Fans of dangerous expeditions down the river might enjoy Joseph Conrad’s classic Heart of Darkness. If you like speculation about missing historical expeditions, try Dan Simmons’ The Terror, which mixes the real and surreal in a gripping story about the fate of the Franklin Expedition to find the Northwest Passage.
News About "The Lost City of Z"
Obviously, any conclusions the film comes to about his fate will be conjecture and not fact. But it is amazing how this mystery has captured the imagination of curious minds for almost a century.
The most recent home video release of The Lost City of Z movie is July 11, 2017. Here are some details…
The Lost City of Z releases to home video (DVD or Blu-ray) on July 11, 2017. Extras include:
- Audio Commentary
- Three Behind-the-Scenes Featurettes
Related home video titles:
Another film by director James Gray is Ad Astra.
Other films about exploration, historical and wildly fictional, include Against the Ice, Tomb Raider, Missing Link, Uncharted, Pocahontas, The Mummy, The Road to El Dorado, Atlantis: The Lost Empire, 20000 Leagues Under the Sea, Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark, and for a more sci-fi flavour, 2001: A Space Odyssey. If you’re just interested in strange happenings in the jungle, try Jungle, Apocalypse Now, Jungle Cruise, Congo, The Legend of Tarzan, or The Mission.