Resistance parents guide

Resistance Parent Guide

Despite a few flaws, this movie provides an inspiring story of selfless courage in the face of monstrous evil.

Overall B-

Digital on Demand: Marcel Marceau, an aspiring mime in France during the Nazi occupation, has had enough. Joining the French Resistance, he begins to work against the Germans by helping Jewish children escape the country.

Release date June 1, 2020

Violence D
Sexual Content B
Profanity A-
Substance Use A-

Why is Resistance rated R? The MPAA rated Resistance R for some violence.

Run Time: 120 minutes

Parent Movie Review

Marcel (Jesse Eisenberg) is an aspiring performer. Although his father Charles (Karl Markovics) would prefer that his son follow in his footsteps as a kosher butcher, Marcel continues to work on his mime skills and writing a play. But when his brother Alain (Félix Moati) helps rescue over one hundred orphaned Jewish children, Marcel finds that his time is better spent entertaining the children and teaching them to survive in a hostile world. When the Nazis invade their small town, they flee to Lyon, where Marcel joins the French Resistance. Not that the Nazis plan to make it easy – the malicious Gestapo agent in charge of Lyon, Klaus Barbie (Matthias Schweighöfer) is determined to flush out the Resistance at any cost.

Resistance is largely based on historical people and events, with some Hollywood narrative flourishes. As the end credits acknowledge, both Marcel Marceau and Klaus Barbie (aka “the butcher of Lyon”) were real people. What those end credits don’t mention is that following the war, Barbie, a man wanted for crimes against humanity, was picked up by U.S. intelligence forces and used as an agent in Europe. When an outraged French government discovered that Barbie was alive, the United States helped him (and other wanted war criminals) escape to Bolivia. Not acknowledging this bit of Allied whitewashing – even in the end credits - is, as far as I’m concerned, despicable. Ironically, a film that vilifies collaborators seems strangely willing to ignore complicity when it’s convenient. Perhaps director Jonathan Jakubowicz felt the heroic and heartfelt depiction of General Patton would have been undercut by admitting that Patton’s government didn’t feel it necessary to prosecute a man responsible for an estimated 14,000 deaths.

Not that this production’s problems end there – although compared to this moral quagmire, other issues feel fairly minor. It might sound petty, but I need to register a complaint about the French accents in the film. Accents are one of the riskiest moves actors make. Dick van Dyke is unlikely ever to live down his disastrous “cockney” accent in Marry Poppins – and Jesse Eisenberg’s French accent is even worse. That is, it’s worse when he remembers to do it. About half the time, he doesn’t even try and what comes out is pure American. Frankly, I’d prefer that he not try to assume an accent at all. Since all characters are supposed to be speaking French anyway, I’ve already accepted that the dialogue isn’t going to be authentic. They might as well make it less agonizing to listen to.

But in spite of these problems, Resistance has more than a few genuinely heartwarming moments. I have never been a fan of Jesse Eisenberg but his portrayal of Marcel and the wonderful moments he shares with the children cement the reasons people chose to fight the Nazi occupation. The movie’s messages of physical and moral courage are inspiring and provide the kind of lessons most parents want their teens to absorb. There are also surprisingly few content concerns for a movie set in the Second World War. Apart from some brief violence and a scene depicting torture, there are almost no serious content issues. Violent and frightening scenes render Resistance unsuitable for children, but it is appropriate for teen viewers. If you can muscle your way past the sins of omission and Eisenberg’s atrocious French accent, there is a good story here about the hideous realities of Nazism and the extraordinary lengths ordinary people went to in order to save complete strangers.

Directed by Jonathan Jakubowicz. Starring Jesse Eisenberg, Clémence Poésy, and Matthias Schweighöfer . Running time: 120 minutes. Theatrical release June 1, 2020. Updated

Watch the trailer for Resistance

Rating & Content Info

Why is Resistance rated R? Resistance is rated R by the MPAA for some violence.

Violence: People are shown being shot, beaten to death, and burned. There is a reference to torture, although the shot cuts before any is shown.
Sexual Content: A couple are shown kissing in bed. A woman is shown from the shoulders up in the shower.
Profanity: There are occasional mild profanities and terms of deity.
Alcohol / Drug Use: A person is shown drinking beer.

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Resistance Parents' Guide

The Nazis were determined to eradicate anybody they deemed “sub-human”, including children. Dehumanizing our fellow human beings can be a slippery slope to violence. How can you recognize this kind of language when it’s used in public discourse or private conversation? How can you avoid falling into the same habits?

The Conversation: The slippery slope of dehumanizing language

NPR: “Less Than Human”: The Psychology of Cruelty

The Nazis had no problem abusing, terrorizing and massacring children. What other governments have had policies that have targeted or deliberately harmed children?

AP: Death Squads, Police Target Brazil’s Street Children

Vox: The horrifying conditions facing kids in border detention, explained

The Diplomat: China’s Hidden Children

World Vision: 10 of the most dangerous places to be a child

For more information about the Resistance, check out the following:

History Today: A History of the French Resistance

History Net: The French Resistance: How Resistant?

You can watch Marcel Marceau’s mime routines here:

YouTube: Marcel Marceau: Playlist

Klaus Barbie was guilty of horrendous atrocities. For more information, you can read the following article – but be aware that it contains some stomach churning details.

Jewish Virtual Library: Klaus Barbie


Loved this movie? Try these books…

Klaus Barbie appears in Resistance and Betrayal: The Death and Life of the Greatest Hero of the French Resistance. Written by Patrick Marnham, this book tells the story of the Resistance leader, Jean Moulin, who was arrested in Lyon by Barbie, but didn’t break under torture and took his secrets to the grave. Marnham examines Moulin’s life and tries to determine who could have betrayed him.

The Resistance didn’t just operate against the Nazis, but against the collaborationist Vichy regime. For more information, read Robert Pike’s Defying Vichy: Blood, Fear and French Resistance.

For a firsthand account of what Jewish children went through during the war, The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank tells of her and her family’s attempt to survive the Nazi occupation of Holland by hiding in a hidden apartment within an office building.

It wasn’t just teenagers who joined the French Resistance; women did, too. Sarah Rose has researched and written D-Day Girls: The Spies Who Armed the Resistance, Sabotaged the Nazis, and Helped Win World War II.

Home Video

The most recent home video release of Resistance movie is July 21, 2020. Here are some details…

Related home video titles:

Swing Kids follows a group of friends growing up in Hamburg who are faced with a choice: renounce their love for jazz and join the Hitler Youth, or risk their lives to stand by the people and the music they love. The Book Thiefdepicts a young German girl who lives with an adoptive family during the war, and her book exchange with the Jewish refugee hiding in their home. Thankfully, not everybody in Germany and its annexed territories supported the Reich. In A Hidden Life, Franz Jägerstätter (August Diehl) cannot bring himself to don the uniform of a regime he despises – and finds that there is a steep price for following his conscience.