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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
The film is a cynical look at religious hucksterism, but it's actually difficult to tell what position it takes on the subject due to script/direction weaknesses. That said, there aren't any serious consequences for the characters' deceptions.
Positive Role Models
Charming but amoral college seniors think nothing of pretending to be religious Christians in order to defraud true believers.
Violence & Scariness
Hazing of fraternity pledges.
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Language is infrequent but includes "a--hole."
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
A college advisor drinks to excess and offers Sam alcohol. Students drink many beers. But other characters refuse to drink for religious reasons.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Believe Me is a cynical look at religious hucksterism, but failings in the script and direction make it difficult to determine exactly what position the film takes. To raise money for themselves, four graduating college seniors create a fake Christian charity, preaching God's love and purporting to raise money for clean water in Africa while bilking faithful folks who mean well. They're caught skimming thousands off the top, but no one is punished, no one goes to jail, and they actually profit from the Christian T-shirt concern they ran as a side business. So while there's little objectionable content (infrequent language includes "a--hole," and there's some drinking, including once to excess and the possibility of underage drinking), since there's also no clear message or worthwhile takeaway, this isn't a great fit for younger viewers. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
Russell, Fisher (a ringer for William Devane), and co-star Sinqua Walls are all good actors, but their performances alone can't clarify what the script leaves murky. The 1960 film Elmer Gantry covers this subject -- religious hucksterism -- far more compellingly, raising the deeper question of whether all preaching might fall into the category of hucksterism insofar as it exploits people's dedication to faith (by definition, a strong belief in something without proof of its existence).
Such logical lapses may leave parents with a lot of explaining to do, far beyond the basic issues of morality and selfishness. The film even ends mid-sentence, which is the perfect metaphor for an idea that doesn't know how to resolve itself.
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