Story

Insurgent begins three days after Divergent ends. Insurgent is set in an apocalyptic future where survivors are separated into five factions. Each faction has unique abilities and temperaments: Erudite is intelligent, Amity is peaceful, Dauntless is brave, Candour is honest, and Abnegation is selfless. The five factions live within or around the ruined remains of what was once Chicago. A sixth faction called Factionless also exists, and its members are branded as renegades. Within the Factionless group are individuals called Divergents. These people have characteristics from many factions and seen as dangerous to society.

Divergent renegade Tris Prior (Shailene Woodley) is holed up with the peaceful Amity faction, along with Factionless renegades Four (Theo James), Tris’s brother Caleb (Ansel Elgort) and Peter (Miles Teller). But their peace is short lived because Erudite faction leader Jeanine Matthews (Kate Winslet) orders all Divergents to be rounded up. Troops overrun Amity, forcing Tris, Four, Caleb and Peter to go on the run. Jeanine has recovered a box with sides, each side bearing the seal of one faction. Jeanine believes that the box contains a hidden message that can restore order to their divided society, but only a very powerful Divergent can open the box by undergoing a series of five SIMS (virtual reality simulations). To date no Divergent has survived this test.

After escaping the troops and becoming separated from Caleb and Peter, Tris and Four make their way to the heart of ruined Chicago. Here they meet up with a large band of Factionless renegades led by Four’s mother, Evelyn (Naomi Watts). Evelyn wants Four and Tris to join a rebellion against Jeanine and the Erudite faction.

But Jeanine forces Tris to give herself up and submit to the SIMS experiment. This results in unexpected outcomes that change things forever.

Themes

Social engineering; totalitarian government; betrayal and revenge; mass murder; death of a parent 

Violence

Insurgent has intense action violence and peril, including execution-style killings, some battle violence, violence against children, and some blood and gore. For example:

  • A young woman dreams that her mother and father are lying dead on the ground, their faces and clothes covered in blood. She hears a woman telling her that she killed an entire caste of people. Later, the young woman dreams that her boyfriend lying next to her in bed is dead with a cut throat and blood covering his neck. 
  • A young woman attacks a young man, punching him in the face and body and then slashing wildly at him with a knife. She pins him to the ground and holds the knife to his throat. The fight stops when a second man restrains her. 
  • In one perilous scene, a young man tries to outrun a group of soldiers by jumping across railway tracks in front of a speeding freight train. The train narrowly misses him. 
  • During a fight on a train between two groups of young people, a woman’s head is smashed into the side of the carriage. Later she is choked while her head hangs out of the train carriage. It looks like she’ll be hit by a passing train. A man throws another man from the train. A man has his arm thrust through the side of the train carriage, and it breaks on a pole as the train passes. He screams. A man is stabbed repeatedly in the stomach and another is savagely clubbed.
  • A young woman describes how she had to shoot and kill her male friend when he tried to shoot her while he was under the influence of a mind control drug.
  • Soldiers attack a building occupied by civilians. A man shoots several soldiers and is shot dead in return. No blood is shown. Soldiers shoot many civilians. Men, women and children lie dead and injured on the ground. 
  • A soldier shoots an unarmed man in the forehead. The man falls to the ground and his body lies on the ground. No blood and gore is shown. In a later scene a woman approaches another woman from behind and shoots her in the head.
  • A young woman threatens to shoot herself in the head by pointing a handgun to her temple. She stops when her brother walks into the room.
  • Soldiers shoot a six-year-old girl, and the scene shows what looks like a bullet sticking out of her neck. She is handcuffed and forced to kneel on the ground. A soldier points a gun to her head and threatens to shoot her. He begins to pull the trigger. A woman tackles him to the ground and stops him.

Content that may disturb children

Under 8
Children under eight will be disturbed by much of Insurgent. As well as the violent scenes mentioned above, it has many other disturbing scenes. For example:

  • A woman is suspended from the ceiling by a series of tentacle-like black tubes that appear to be inserted into her body. She convulses, and we hear the sound of bones breaking. Blood oozes from the corner of her mouth. Eventually the woman stops convulsing, and another woman says that the first woman is ‘no longer viable’.
  • A young woman imagines she sees her mother in a burning room floating in the air. She jumps off a building and into the burning room, which begins to tip over. This causes the young woman to slide along the side of the burning building and nearly fall to her death. The mother falls from the room, but her daughter pulls her to safety.

From 8-13
Children in this age group are also likely to be disturbed by the violent and disturbing scenes described above.

Over 13
Younger children in this age group might also be disturbed by some of the violent and disturbing scenes described above.

Sexual references

None of concern

Alcohol, drugs and other substances

Insurgent shows some use of substances. For example:

  • One scene shows wine in glasses on a dinner table, but doesn’t show people drinking. 
  • Truth serum is injected into the side of two people’s necks. The gun-like syringes have long needles attached to them. 
  • A young woman is injected in the back with a knockout drug.

Nudity and sexual activity

Insurgent has some nudity and sexual activity. For example:

  • A young woman and man kiss passionately on the lips. She sits on his lap on a bed, unzips her vest and removes her shirt to reveal her bare back. The couple kiss again, and the scene cuts to them lying in bed next to each other, naked but covered by bed clothes. Only their naked shoulders are showing.
  • A young girl is naked in the shower, but only the tops of her shoulders show.

    Product placement

    None of concern

    Coarse language

    Insurgent has occasional coarse language.

    Ideas to discuss with your children

    Insurgent is the second movie in the Divergent series, based on the popular series of books. 

    It is a science fiction thriller targeted at adolescent children and adults. The many intensely violent and disturbing scenes make this movie unsuitable for children. We strongly recommend parental guidance for younger teenagers, some of whom might have read and enjoyed the books. 

    These are the main messages from this movie: 

    • Self-sacrifice should be seen as a strength, not a weakness.
    • Differences between people are vital for humanity and society to survive and develop.

    You could talk with your children about the situation in which the movie’s lead character is put in a position where she must kill one person to save another life and must then live with her conscience.