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Movie review by
Danny Brogan, Common Sense Media
Bait Movie Poster Image
British drama looks at class issues; some adult themes.
  • NR
  • 2019
  • 89 minutes

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

Class is a key theme. Shows how a failure to put aside differences can result in disastrous consequences. Hard work, despite trying circumstances. Examples of kindness shown to those in need.

Positive Role Models & Representations

All characters have flaws, including a quick temper, snobbish attitudes, stubbornness. Issue of class and gentrification is prominent throughout -- some characters form relationships despite this divide, but most don't. Katie is perhaps the best example of bridging the gap between the locals and the invading rich tourists. Martin, despite his faults, shows kindness by giving free fish to those who can't afford them. Some stereotyping: The working class are shown to be hardworking but quick-tempered; the more affluent city dwellers are snobbish, arrogant.


A character is head butted, resulting in a bloody nose. One character grabs another around the neck. A violent struggle sees a character hitting his head, resulting in much blood, death. Many characters demonstrate aggressive behavior. In one scene, a character kicks a door down and smashes a mirror. A knife is used in a passive-aggressive manner.


Kissing. Two teens are in a sexual relationship and are seen on more than one occasion, presumably naked, under a bed sheet. One character appears with just a sheet wrapped around her; a male character is shown without a shirt on. One reference to sucking a "d--k." Character wears a penis costume. Topless bust on display in the pub.


Strong language throughout, including "c--t," "s--t," "bloody," "hell," "pr--k," "bugger," "piss," "d--khead," "d--k," "God" (as an exclamation), and variants of "f--k."

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Adults and teens drink regularly. Someone is sick, presumably from drinking too much, and another character is hung over. Much of the movie takes place in a pub. Characters smoke roll-up cigarettes and in one scene, a marijuana joint.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Bait is an outstanding black-and-white drama about a divided community. It tackles issues like class and gentrification; characters struggle to adapt to change, often resulting in aggressive outbursts and occasional violence. In one scene, a character is head-butted, causing a bloody nose. In another, a violent struggle results in a character falling to his death. Both adults and teens drink, and much of the action takes place in a pub. A marijuana joint is smoked. Pervasive use of strong language includes "c--t," "s--t," "pr--k," "d--k," and variants of "f--k." Two teens are in a sexual relationship -- he's shown without his shirt on, and she's (presumably) naked under a sheet. There's arguably some stereotyping of the working and middle classes, but Bait is a springboard for conversations about class, society, and integration.

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What's the story?

BAIT takes place in an English fishing village, which is being taken over by rich tourists, much to the locals' annoyance. After being forced to sell the family home -- and with his brother using their father's boat to ferry tourists around the bay -- fisherman Martin's (Edward Rowe) world is falling apart. As Martin struggles to adapt to change, the divide between new and old and rich and poor threatens to bubble over.

Is it any good?

This outstanding British sleeper hit looks at class and the consequences of gentrification on existing communities. Set in Cornwall, England, Bait shows how the locals, specifically Martin, struggle to come to terms with the arrival of rich tourists. Shot in black and white, with the sound dubbed in after filming, Bait looks like an old home movie. Yet, rather than hurt the film, this style reinforces a key message: the old versus the new. For example, in one scene, Martin and his nephew Neil (Isaac Woodvine) are fishing, which is intercut with a tourist working on her laptop.

Dialogue is minimal, and with its slow pace, Bait resembles a fuse slowly burning down to an explosive powder keg. Despite a relatively unknown cast, the performances feel authentic. Arguably, there's some stereotyping -- the locals are hardworking but quick-tempered, while the rich tourists are snobby and arrogant -- but there's a realness to Bait that means this doesn't distract. Bait may not provide any answers to what's increasingly happening to lower-income communities, but it certainly asks the right questions.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the issue of class in Bait. What's happening to the village? Why is Martin so upset about this? What are the pros and cons of gentrification?

  • How are the locals and tourists portrayed? Are they stereotyped? Why can stereotyping be negative? How can we battle stereotypes?

  • How could some of the issues raised in the movie be resolved? How do the locals and tourists talk to each other? Why is communication so important to society?

  • How does the movie portray teen drinking? What would the consequences be for that behavior in real life?

Movie details

For kids who love drama

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