Box art for The Mortal Instruments

The Mortal Instruments

action & adventure

Clary's life is turned upside down when her mother is kidnapped and it's revealed that she and her mother are actually shadowhunters - billed with protecting the world from downworlders such as vampires, werewolves and demons.

Rotten Tomatoes® scores

  • Critic Score
  • Audience Score

common sense

ON for kids age 13
2 out of 5
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
1 out of 5
1 out of 5
Positive messages
3 out of 5
Positive role models
3 out of 5
2 out of 5
3 out of 5

Teen-friendly fantasy romance doesn't live up to the book.

what parents need to know

Parents need to know that The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones is based on Cassandra Clare's best-selling urban fantasy series about warriors, demons, vampires, and werewolves and is the first film in a proposed action-fantasy franchise. Expect a lot of violent confrontations in the movie -- mostly using special blades and swords -- including scenes of torture and even death. Language is mild ("damn," "what the hell," etc.), and romance is limited to longing looks, a big kiss, and some sexy outfits. Like the book it's based on, the movie features a diverse cast and a brave female protagonist.

what families can talk about

  • Families can talk about page-to-screen adaptations. How does The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones compare to the book? What are the main differences? What scenes from the book did you miss?
  • There's a lot of violence in the storytelling here. How do you think the peril compared to other young adult-based films like Twilight or The Hunger Games?
  • There's a theme that "all the stories are true" -- except for zombies. Which supernatural stories or creatures do you wish actually existed?