Kernel Rating (out of 5):
MPAA Rating: PG-13 Length: 93 minutes
Age Appropriate For: 14+. It’s a film about the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, so the emotional trauma of that hangs heavy over the film. Also language, smoking, and some bloody scenes set in the emergency rooms of Parkland Memorial Hospital, where Kennedy, the man who killed him, and the man who killed that assassin all perished. Intense stuff that will be best received by teenagers who know the history and context of that day.
The assassination of President John F. Kennedy is not ever going to leave the U.S. historical consciousness. ‘Parkland,’ aiming for a documentary-like feel of that day in its focus on the hospital staff and government agents involved, is engrossing, but doesn’t feel particularly groundbreaking—it’s telling you more, but to what end?
By Roxana Hadadi
November 22, 1963. Americans of a certain age lived through that day and were quite changed by it; those born afterward can’t help but learn about it in school, from their relatives, from collective American consciousness. The day President John F. Kennedy was assassinated will not be forgotten anytime soon, especially as conspiracy theories still ricochet about what really happened. But writer-director Peter Landesman isn’t focused on those what-may-have-been questions—he creates the documentary-like “Parkland” with a focus on the documentable facts: on the Parkland Hospital staff who treated the President; on the man who captured the footage of the shooting; of the family of the killer. The result is an interesting, engrossing film, but its purpose—its ultimate message—isn’t that surprising at all.