The Rhythm Section parents guide

The Rhythm Section Parent Guide

With its unoriginal plot, even the highly watchable Blake Lively can't save this predictable revenge thriller.

Overall D+

When a woman learns that the plane crash that killed her family wasn't an accident, she transforms herself into an assassin to wreak her revenge against those reponsible for the deaths of those she loved.

Release date January 31, 2020

Violence D
Sexual Content D
Profanity D
Substance Use D

Why is The Rhythm Section rated R? The MPAA rated The Rhythm Section R for violence, sexual content, language throughout, and some drug use.

Run Time: 110 minutes

Parent Movie Review

Stephanie Patrick (Blake Lively) is a promising young woman at the top of her class in university. She’s got her a bright future ahead of her, until her entire family dies in a tragic plane crash. Stephanie collapses and her life goes into a downward spiral until she finds herself addicted to heroin and working as a prostitute. Her rock bottom existence is shaken up when a reporter, Keith Proctor (Raza Jaffrey), arrives at the brothel with the information that the plane didn’t simply crash - it was bombed. Now set on revenge, Stephanie follows Proctor’s contacts until she finds the mysterious MI6 agent known as B (Jude Law), who gives her the training she needs to accomplish her goal…

This is a very paint-by-numbers revenge/spy thriller. Basically, if you watched 2019’s Anna and 2016’s Jason Bourne (easily the worst in its otherwise excellent franchise) simultaneously, you’d have most of the movie. The soundtrack is equally unoriginal, with Hans Zimmer bringing out a dulled mixtape of tracks from other films he’s worked on. None of it is incompetent, it’s just unoriginal and lazy. Blake Lively, on the other hand, is fantastically watchable and makes the movie a lot more tolerable as a result. Her character and her performance are easily the best part of this nearly two-hour cliché fest.

There are a lot of content issues here, but given that they occur in an R-rated spy thriller, they are contextually understandable. Sure, there are depictions of prostitution and hard drug use, but they are not detailed and illustrate a low point in the protagonist’s life and aren’t portrayed as being fun and exciting. The violence is also comparatively mild for a revenge thriller, with most of it happening at the periphery or fully off-screen. (That being said, there are several scenes of hand-to-hand combat, some explosions, and a faith bit of death.) The only gory graphic violence is in a scene of an individual pulling shards of glass out of their hand. The content issues are a bit high for teens, but adult fans of the spy genre might squeeze some enjoyment out of it.

So you could do worse, but you could do a lot better too. This is the kind of movie that I think is okay for bored adults to watch on a plane - or it would be, if the plot didn’t center around a terrorist cell bombing a passenger jet. That’s enough to put your average passenger off the complimentary bag of pretzels and half-can of coke, don’t you think? Well, if that doesn’t do it, the broken glass should.

Directed by Reed Morano. Starring Blake Lively, Jude Law, Sterling K Brown. Running time: 110 minutes. Theatrical release January 31, 2020. Updated

The Rhythm Section
Rating & Content Info

Why is The Rhythm Section rated R? The Rhythm Section is rated R by the MPAA for violence, sexual content, language throughout, and some drug use.

Violence: Several people are shot and killed. Several scenes of personal combat involving kicking, punching, stabbing and choking. An individual smashes their hand into some glassware and ends up with large shards of glass in the hand, which they are shown removing. Someone asphyxiates and dies. A person is pistol whipped. An individual has their throat cut, but does not die. Four individuals, two of whom are children, are killed in an explosion. People are shown being shot and stabbed in the leg. Two individuals are killed in a suicide bombing. A person is injected with a lethal venom and dies.
Sexual Content: A large nude portrait is briefly seen. There are several depictions of a woman who works as a prostitute, but there is no nudity or explicit sexual content. A woman throws a condom on a bed.
Profanity: There are just over three dozen profanities, including 27 sexual expletives, three scatological curses, about half a dozen terms of deity, and other assorted swear words.
Alcohol / Drug Use: A main character is briefly shown drinking alcohol and occasionally smoking cigarettes.  A main character is shown smoking brown heroin. There is a brief moment of cocaine use. A woman takes unspecified pills. 

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The Rhythm Section Parents' Guide

Stephanie seems poorly suited to the revenge quest she finds herself on. No amount of physical training is able to compensate for her psychological resistance to violence. Why do you think people have such strong aversions to violence?

When Stephanie does overcome her inhibitions, specifically to get a more personal revenge, she knows full well that it won’t “heal” her. Why do you think she does it then? Is “getting even” a good motive? Does violence ever really solve a problem? What other problems are caused by violence in the film?

Loved this movie? Try these books…

Robert Ludlum’s books about Jason Bourne bear surprisingly little resemblance to the films, but are definitely excellent thrillers.

Younger readers will enjoy Anthony Horowitz’s Alex Rider series, which starts with Stormbreaker, in whichAlex, a teenage MI6 agent, is tasked with infiltrating a computer plant filled with secrets.

Home Video

Related home video titles:

A much better spy trilogy centers on the escapades of an insomniac CIA agent. The movies begin with The Bourne Identity and proceeds into its sequels, The Bourne Supremacy and The Bourne Ultimatum.