Kid Friendly?: A Parents Movie Review of Tenet!

Want to find out if the the newly released Christopher Nolan blockbuster, Tenet, is appropriate for your kids – or even you? You’ve come to the right place!

Below is information on the film, the film’s trailer, and how we breakdown the content – sexual content, language, violence – we look for when we are deciding if a movie is appropriate for our three kids (15-year-old boy, 12-year-old girl, 9-year-old boy).

By the way, curious how we rate things, or how we place importance on things like violence, language, sex and more, please see our Kid Friendly? Review page here. You’ll also find other Kid Friendly? Reviews we’ve done.

Have suggestions or comments, please leave a comment below, like and subscribe to our Facebook page here, or email me at

Tenet (2020)

Rating: PG-13
2 hour, 30 minutes
Directed and Written by Christopher Nolan
Starring: John David Washington, Robert Pattinson, Elizabeth Debicki, Kenneth Branagh

MY IMDB Rating: 7 (out of 10)

AGE: 13+

DISCLAIMER: I’m a huge Christopher Nolan fan. Ever since I watched Memento I was all-in. His movies mess with the nature of time, are deep in thought, are action-packed, have incredible sound, scores and set pieces, are often filmed in beautiful locations, and leave you thinking about them for days.

Though Tenet had most of these same qualities, it left me disappointed and the wife, knowing she may offend me because of my Nolan crush, stating, “I’m going to come out and say it. It wasn’t good.”

And she was right. I hate when that happens.

An hour into the movie I turned to her and asked if she knew what was going on.


Oh, and though this review will be totally spoiler-free, it’d be hard to spoil something that you’re uncertain what even occurred.

I knew coming in that Nolan’s movies usually leave you a bit confused. Inception is one of my all-time favorite films and I’m still not sure I know what happens in that film. But TenetTenet doesn’t seem to care if you know about the plot, if you care about the characters, heck if you even know who the characters were (John David Washington’s character’s name is never mentioned. At least not until late when he says to another character, “I’m the protagonist.”)

For a parent, a plus with Nolan films is that they’re usually low on language and sexual content, making it easier for me to let even my 9-year-old watch. Though the plot of Tenet will likely bore him and my 12-year-old.

Yes, there is violence – a lot of it – but none of it is graphic (no more than what they are getting from Fortnite). When there are Russians involved there is vodka, but the alcohol drinking is minimum and there was no apparent drug use (other than a pill that … I said no spoilers!).

The message? As I said above kudos if you make it through the movie on first viewing and understand what the heck was going on. The wife has said she won’t watch it again. I will show it to my teen in hopes that he enjoys the action and I can figure out a little about what I just watched.

My IMDB rating is a 7 out of 10, and it’s probably a Nolan-bias rating, with the action and score contributing to the higher rating. John David Washington, off of a Golden Globe-nominated performance in BlacKkKlansman, carries the film. Washington is great and is bound to follow in his dad’s footsteps (that’d be Denzel) and win an Oscar at some point in his career.

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Nothing’s gonna stop us from seeing a Christopher Nolan movie on opening weekend – in the theater!

Finally, for those of you cautious about heading to the movies during a pandemic. Please, have no fear. It was a Friday night showing, during opening weekend, for a movie with a $200 million budget. It should’ve been packed. It wasn’t. We were two of nine people in the 200-seat theater. As much as I’m done with this COVID thing, it’s been nice eating at restaurants and attending the cinema, more space and privacy!

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