A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Loved ones live on in your heart. It's important to spend time with family and friends. People deal with things differently and everyone shows love and care in their own way. Empathy, compassion, and communication are important character strengths.
Positive Role Models
Sid and his friends have a strong friendship and, while they tease each other sometimes, they also show empathy and compassion, and support and encourage each other. Diggs in particular is responsible and sensitive, being there for both Sid and his parents. Wolfie can be abrasive and appear selfish at times, but wants his friends to be happy and helps Dribble build confidence. The way the five young men learn to communicate and support each other makes them good male role models, despite some reckless behavior. Sid's mum expresses her love through protection and rules, though gradually learns that quality time is more important. Sid's dad shows his love by allowing Sid more freedom, though keeps his worries and sadness inside until they overcome him.
Majority of characters are White, though Sid's best friend Diggs is played by Black actor Wilson Mbomio and portrayed as the most thoughtful and responsible of the group. The young men play tricks and tease each other but are also able to communicate, showing vulnerability and love toward each other. Sid's father breaks down in front of Sid's friend and admits he's not coping, showing it's OK for men to express emotion.
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Violence & Scariness
Character has terminal cancer and there is constant reference to their impending death. Death of a parent and grandparent mentioned. Dream vision of a person on fire from a distance. Scenes of a character injecting testosterone and getting a tattoo. Pushing and shoving. A character has an accident off-screen and is seen being admitted into an ambulance on a stretcher, later emerging from hospital with crutches.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Flirtation between individual characters as well as groups in a pub. A young man and woman jump into a lake in their underwear.
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Occasional language includes "s--t," "d--khead," the British swear word "twat," and "numpty."
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Characters drink beer at a pub on a number of occasions, and go on to a house party in one instance where the main character becomes inebriated and has to be carried home. A parent drinks neat spirits at home in the evening. Testosterone drugs are ordered online and injected by a character on-screen. Occasional smoking, including pot in one scene.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Kindling is a powerful drama about a group of friends who return to their hometown to spend a last summer with Sid (George Somner), who has terminal cancer. Death is referenced frequently, a character has an accident off-screen, and drugs are injected on-screen. Characters drink alcohol -- to excess on one occasion -- and smoke pot in a short scene. Friendship is a key theme, as is grief, and the group of young men show empathy and compassion, as well as the ability to communicate openly and show vulnerability -- which makes them good male role models. A poignant story of friendship and loss, this will likely appeal to adults and teens who enjoy a tearjerker and are able to cope with its mature themes and emotional intensity. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
This debut feature from writer/director Connor O'Hara is a moving tale of a young man with terminal testicular cancer that manages to be heartfelt and poignant without feeling manipulative or cliched. Kindling focuses on relationships -- primarily the friendship between five young men, but also the complex interactions between Sid and his parents, who at once try to protect him and make the most of the time they have left. Yes, death looms over the film, but it is also full of life. The young men show a childlike innocence as they run through fields, climb trees, and roll around in the countryside -- it's likely no accident that a particular image of them carrying wood toward their makeshift bonfire is reminiscent of Stand By Me. There are plenty of touching moments, like when the group check themselves for signs of testicular cancer beneath their clothes, or talk of how they're five only children who became brothers. Their ability to communicate, support each other and show vulnerability make this a welcome expression of the deeper side of male friendship, rarely portrayed on-screen in such an easy, unlabored way. The movie's subject is heavy, but the result is never dragged down, given lightness by O'Hara's gentle hand and honest, natural performances from a strong young cast.
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Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.
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