The Mauritanian is a powerful story that deserves to be told of post-9/11 and its brutal effects which continue to haunt humanity today. Check out the details in my parents guide movie review.
The Mauritanian is based off of Mohamedou Ould Salahi’s 2015 memoir, Guantanamo Diary, which he wrote in 2005 and was finally declassified by the US government in 2012. Mohamedou was held without charge at Guantanamo for more than 14 years, and his memoir discusses the inhumanity and toture he received during his time there. A tale of injustice at the highest level, this film details the brutality and fight to clear his name. Check out the details in my parents guide movie review.
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The Mauritanian Parents Guide
In 2001, Mohamedou Ould Salahi (Tahar Rahim) was taken by US forces on suspicion to have plotted the attacks of 9/11. Mohamedou ends up in Guantanamo, despite having much real evidence of his involvement in the events and prosecutor Stuart Couch (Benedict Cumberbatch) is assigned to his case, pushing for the death penalty. Defender Nancy Hollander (Jodi Foster) takes on his case, travelling to Cuba with her assistant Teri Duncan (Shailene Woodley). However, the government doesn’t make things easy for Hollander and obtaining the files on the case becomes a challenge. Hollander urges Mohamedou to write his account of his detainment and time at Guantanamo, and the details are horrific.
The Mauritanian Age Appropriate
Lets take a look at what parents need to know before letting their kids view The Mauritanian.
Language: This film contains strong language in both dialogue and subtitles. Hash words frequently said through the film include: the S-word and the F-word.
Violence: Frequent scenes of toture; some of the torture includes sexualized torture. Scenes include waterboarding and there is one scene in particular which a character is taken out to sea and their head is dipped in the water while the boat is going at high speeds. There is another scene where a character is punched and kicked repeatedly as the captors wear Halloween masks.
Mature Content: One character threatens to kidnap and rape the mother of a detainee. There is discussion of characters wanting to commit suicide.
The Mauritanian takes no prisoners as far as political sympathies. While many may be aware that Guantanamo Bay detention camp (Gitmo) was established in 2002 under the George W. Bush administration, the film makes clear the continued torture of prisoners under the Obama administration and, as of January 2021, 40 prisoners remain in custody at the camp. Perhaps the timing of The Mauritanian‘s film release could not have come at a better time. President Biden, now Commander-In-Chief, could make right what his predecessors have failed to do; close Gitmo for good.
Tarhar Rahim as Mohamedou delivers a masterful performance that will leave viewers gut-wrenched. Rahim skillfully tapping into Mohamedou’s psyche and revealing his soul as he endures the continued torture at his captors hands, longs for the life harshly stripped away and begs for justice. Foster alongside Rahim is powerful, especially in the scenes where Mohamedou refuses to talk in fear of retaliation where so much is said between the two in silent indications. Cumberbatch and Woodley also deserve their accolades as the supporting cast which hammer home the injustice in the system.
The Mauritanian does not distract with melodramatic back stories, rather, it sticks to the facts as told by Mohamedou through the letters he wrote to his lawyers. In doing this, the film feels more like a history lesson than a drama and exposes the atrocities which still plague humanity to this day. By revealing the brutalities which the prisoners are subjected to, and knowing that these atrocities have not yet been atoned for considering that Gitmo is still occupied to this day, perhaps new dialogue can be presented to help President Biden finally pull the plug on this stain on American history.