A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Movie has very little good news to share, but it's determined to at least shed light on insidious practice of "fake news," giving viewers a chance to potentially identify fraudulent stories. Warns viewers not to trust things they see on Facebook and other social media platforms without question. One section -- in which an interviewee uses fake news to benefit a liberal politician -- literally wonders about whether "two wrongs make a right" or "if everyone else is doing it, then it's OK."
Positive Role Models
In an indirect way, the movie celebrates the legitimate journalists who continue to fight and do good work and find the truth, even as things grow more and more difficult, with more and more obstacles in their way.
Violence & Scariness
Scenes inside a gun shop, with many guns shown. Story about a person with a gun attacking a pizza parlor where families are eating. Images of police arresting that person. Angry berating, insulting. Rage, yelling, arguing. Upsetting social media posts.
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Strong bursts of language, with uses of "f--k," "f--king," "s--t," "bulls--t."
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Products & Purchases
Walmart mentioned and shown (as part of conspiracy theory). Facebook mentioned and shown (Mark Zuckerberg's congressional hearing).
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that After Truth: Disinformation and the Cost of Fake News is a documentary about several instances in which false or fraudulent information was deliberately spread, sometimes leading to violence. It's very upsetting but also informative and essential for older teens and up. Expect to see strongly violent imagery, from berating, insulting, shouting, and arguing to images of guns (some scenes are set inside a gun shop), stories of someone with a gun attacking a restaurant, images of the attacker being arrested, and images of ugly social media postings. Strong bursts of language include uses of "f--king," "bulls--t," and "s--t." The movie warns viewers not to trust things they see on Facebook and other social media platforms without question. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
One journalist compares sorting through "fake news" to "bathing in garbage," and, indeed, this documentary is a very tough sit, but it also offers tools for viewers to start identifying this poison. Directed by Andrew Rossi (of the terrific Page One: Inside the New York Times), After Truth: Disinformation and the Cost of Fake News is a complex disentangling of its subject -- and, in the end, it offers no clear answers. But it includes many unforgettable moments, mainly the emotional results of the featured disinformation attacks, such as anger and sorrow. Comet Ping Pong owner James Alefantis is heartbreakingly uncomfortable talking about his story, and he finally breaks down while telling it.
In another sequence, a press conference is held by alt-right lobbyist Jack Burkman and conspiracy troll Jacob Wohl to try to convince mainstream journalists that special counsel Mueller has been accused of sexual assault. The journalists see right through the ruse, but the trolls keep doubling down, apparently without shame. One reporter angrily explains that he didn't even run the story because mentioning it at all would give more power to the lies. Another scene shows the aggressive, acerbic Jones raging at and berating a CNN reporter for being "fake" (ironically) and even having it filmed. It's enormously upsetting -- as are many other moments in After Truth: Disinformation and the Cost of Fake News -- but it's also informative and essential.
Did we miss something on diversity?
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.