Worth Parent Guide
This moving story is told quietly, without histrionics, action sequences or courtroom bombast.
Parent Movie Review
“What is life worth?” That’s the question Ken Feinberg (Michael Keaton) asks the students in his law school class as they try to determine appropriate compensation in a case of wrongful death. This legal issue becomes more pressing when Feinberg is appointed Special Master of the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund, which is tasked with paying compensation to family members of those who died in the terror attacks. Feinberg, who is working for free, and his staff will spend two years trying to get 80% of families to agree to the government’s compensation system. If they don’t, lawsuits could bankrupt America’s airlines and bring the economy to its knees.
Although it is ostensibly about the post-9/11 compensation process, Worth is also a film with strong contemporary relevance. Feinberg begins his work determined to remain objective and to establish and enforce clear rules and standards for payouts. But his brusque interactions with grieving family members imperil the success of the entire project and it’s only when Feinberg learns to listen with empathy and reassess his own decisions that he’s able to succeed. This film thus reminds us, in our bitterly polarized world, of the critical importance of listening respectfully to others without forcing our agendas on them. Equally powerful is the movie’s reminder of the need for humility. Feinberg is a highly successful lawyer, with a track record in settling lucrative, contentious cases. But when his skills don’t meet the moment, he’s able to reassess his performance, to seek feedback on how he can improve, and to change course. In a time where bitter partisan opinions tear families and communities apart, perhaps a little humility might not be a bad thing.
This moving story is told quietly, without histrionics, action sequences, or dramatic courtroom scenes. It’s a film about people talking as they try, fail, and try again to understand and help others. It asks big questions and hesitates to provide answers, leaving plenty on the table for the audience. What is an individual life worth? Should a married person with children be worth more than a single one? Should a janitor and a hedge fund manager who died on the same floor be valued the same despite their different incomes? Should people who bought life insurance receive lower compensation payouts? Is this fair or does it penalize them for preparing ahead of time?
Worth is a serious story, clearly unsuited to young viewers by nature of its topic and smattering of profanities. It can also be painful to listen as people detail the final moments of their loved ones. But adults and older teens who appreciate movies that make them think will find this production rewarding. I think it’s worth your time.Directed by Sara Colangelo. Starring Michael Keaton, Stanley Tucci, and Amy Ryan. Running time: 118 minutes. Theatrical release September 3, 2021. Updated September 3, 2021
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Rating & Content Info
Why is Worth rated PG-13? Worth is rated PG-13 by the MPAA for some strong language and thematic elements.
Violence: There is frequent discussion of people dying in the attacks of 9/11. News clips of the attack are replayed. There are stories of people being trapped or being burned alive.
Sexual Content: There is reference to a man’s extramarital affair and illegitimate children. There is no sexual activity or nudity on screen.
Profanity: There are approximately one dozen profanities in the movie, including three sexual expletives, some scatological curses, a few terms of deity and a minor swear word.
Alcohol / Drug Use: A person drinks alcohol in a social setting. A character jokes about getting drunk.
Page last updated September 3, 2021
Worth Parents' Guide
For more about Kenneth Feinberg, you can read here:
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