Blood Father

Movie review by
Jeffrey M. Anderson, Common Sense Media
Blood Father Movie Poster Image
Violent action, language, in intense father-daughter tale.
  • R
  • 2016
  • 88 minutes

Parents say

age 17+
Based on 1 review

Kids say

age 16+
Based on 1 review

A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

Though the movie makes violence seem exciting and cheer-worthy, it also shows that violence leads down a path to destruction. It's supportive of those attempting to quit alcohol or drugs. The topic of immigration is addressed, with multiple perspectives.

Positive Role Models & Representations

John is a father who's made many mistakes but is trying to correct them the best he can. He risks everything to protect his daughter and tries to get her on the right path, too (this includes both of them giving up alcohol and drugs). He exhibits extremely violent behavior but does pay a price for it.

Violence

Heavy, frequent use of guns and shooting, with bloody wounds. Major characters die. Fighting and punching. A man punches a woman, and men treat women roughly in other scenes. Hand-stabbing. Ear-biting. Frequent threats of violence. Explosions, car crashes, truck crashes, trailer crashes. Reference to rape. Nazi imagery shown.

Sex

Kissing, brief flirting.

Language

Strong, frequent language includes multiple uses of "f--k," plus "motherf----r," "c---sucker," "s--t," "bulls--t," "ass," "bastard," "hell," "a coon's age," and "swear to God."

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

A teen girl is addicted to drugs; she snorts coke and is shown drunk. She carries packages of drugs and a bottle of booze in her bag. Minor characters are associated with the drug trade. A main character is a recovering alcoholic; he gets uncomfortable looking at bottles of booze in a bar. A character smokes.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Blood Father is an intense, mature action film starring Mel Gibson as a father trying to protect his teen daughter. Expect lots of guns and shooting, with bloody wounds and character deaths. Violence also includes constant threats, some fighting, and several crashes and explosions. There are consequences for the violence, but it's also presented in a way that seems intended to make audiences cheer for the death and destruction. Language is extremely strong, with many uses of "f--k" and lots of other words. Both father and daughter are addicts; he's a recovering alcoholic, and she's shown both drunk and snorting cocaine before she quits. A couple kisses, and there's some flirting. The movie does touch on some themes/messages that are worthy of discussion, but it's still only recommended for older teens and up.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent Written byAli G. August 26, 2016

Great Action Movie

Lots of intense action in this movie. Story line is great and keeps you on the edge of your seat. It does have a few curse words, lots of killing, and lots of... Continue reading
Teen, 17 years old Written byMovieAddictionz December 28, 2016

What's the story?

In BLOOD FATHER, runaway teen Lydia Link (Erin Moriarty) has become involved a little too deeply with her boyfriend, Jonah (Diego Luna), a member of a drug cartel. After a job goes badly, Lydia is in trouble, addicted to drugs, and hunted. She has nowhere to turn except her father, John (Mel Gibson). An ex-con and a recovering alcoholic, John is on parole and trying to stay out of trouble, but when his daughter calls, he can't refuse. Defending himself against some attacking punks, John hits the road with Lydia, looking for help wherever they can find it. Just as things begin to look their bleakest, Lydia is taken, and John must head into the desert for a final, deadly showdown.

Is it any good?

This well-made action-chase movie could have easily fallen apart along its well-worn story grooves, but nifty characters and electric dialogue, along with intense action, keep it alive. It's been decades since Mel Gibson has found a role that really fits him well, but he does it in Blood Father, indulging in his penchant for slapdash humor, pent-up rage, and martyrdom in a way that feels familiar, as if this were a Lethal Weapon movie.

Gibson's onscreen chemistry with Moriarty is strong enough to pull us in, and a roster of character actors add splashes of color; in other words, the scenes without fighting and shooting are just as interesting as the ones with them. It's sometimes easy to see the plot mechanics kicking into gear, but director Jean-Francois Richet (Assault on Precinct 13) and screenwriters Andrea Berloff and Peter Craig (who adapted Craig's novel) keep things tightly paced and coiled.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about Blood Father's violence. How does it make you feel? What's the impact of media violence on kids? Does the main character face consequences for his actions? Why is that important?

  • The movie's main characters are addicts who are trying to quit alcohol and drugs. How is this portrayed? Is substance use glamorized?

  • In one scene, a teen girl buys several boxes of ammunition but is asked to produce an ID when she wants to buy cigarettes. What do you think the movie is trying to say with this sequence?

  • In another scene, a father and daughter encounter several Mexican immigrants. What does the film have to say about them? Does it offer more than one point of view?

Movie details

For kids who love action

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