Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
Reason for the Rating: Some images of war violence and historical smoking.
Plot Summary: A group of artists and historians are tasked with joining the army to rescue art lost to the Nazis in World War II.
PopFam Recommends: An interesting movie from the historical perspective, but lacking depth and coherence in the overall story
As Monuments Men begins, Frank Stokes (George Clooney) is tasked to lead a small force of art historians, architects, and artists to Nazi Germany. The Nazis have amassed amazing storehouses of stolen art from the lands that they conquered, and it is Stokes’ job to get the art back. The Germans have been ordered to destroy the artwork under their control if the territories under their control fall, so as the war draws to a close, it becomes more and more imperative for Stokes’ little band to move quickly to rescue the artwork.
Where the Nazis stole the artwork to amass it all as their own, Stokes’ men plan to return the art to its original owners wherever possible. Stokes’ force is met with very little cooperation from the fighting allied forces. Most men reason that what is lost is just art, and not worth dying for. But the aging Monuments Men disagree. And indeed, some of the Monuments Men do pay the ultimate price to defend the artwork that they so love. Eventually the crew of unlikely soldiers split up to head across the territory of the Nazis in search of various stashes of artwork. How much can this small crew recover before it is too late?
Easily the best thing about this movie was the cast. Every actor was believable and entertaining to watch in his or her role. It was fun to see George Clooney and Matt Damon once again playing off of each other. Others like Bill Murray and John Goodman do great jobs at crossing the gap between comedy and drama as they add a little bit of both to the film.
The biggest disappointment for me was the overall writing of the story. While it was interesting to learn about this time in history, I never felt fully connected to what was happening. The drama and emotions felt somewhat forced and I never believed Stokes’ men were up against insurmountable odds.
There is some profanity and a little bit of war violence throughout The Monuments Men, but neither is excessive. There are also several pieces of artwork depicting nude figures that are shown throughout. I think this film would be especially interesting for teens learning about the second World War in school since this is likely something that is not taught in most schools and it makes for some fun new learning.
While it was fun and interesting to learn something new about history, in the end I was left wanting a little bit more. If you or members of your family also feel that way, you'll want to check out a few of the special features on the Blu-ray edition of this movie. "In Their Own Words" is a short (about 10 minutes), but fascinating discussion with four surviving members of the real Monuments Men crew. "A Woman Amongst the Monuments Men" is even shorter (about five minutes) but gives new insight into the real-life woman who inspired Cate Blanchett's Claire Simone character. The rest of the special features are largely forgettable, but those two are worth watching—and talking about—with your kids.
Let’s Talk About It
Use these questions to spark discussion among family members who are interested in this movie:
• What drew you to this story of The Monuments Men? Why?
• Do you think art can be worth dying for? Defend your answer.
• What effect does art from the past have on current culture? Explain.
Tags: World War II,George Clooney,Cate Blanchett,Matt Damon,Frank Stokes
Note: All product-related graphics in this article are standard publicity/promotional shots and are owned by their respective publisher.