A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Blow the Man Down is a crime dramedy in which the cover-up of a murder by two sisters reveals the dark secrets in a quaint New England fishing village. There are some moments of graphic violence, including a death by a harpoon to the throat. One of the lead characters wards off the beginnings of a sexual assault. Drunk driving results in an accident. Characters use cocaine in one scene, and there's binge drinking in a bar as well as cigarette smoking. Sounds of sex come through the ceiling in the office of a bed-and-breakfast. Viewers see a vintage black-and-white photograph of a nude woman from the 1920s, full frontal. Frequent strong profanity includes "f--k."
- Parents say
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What's the story?
In BLOW THE MAN DOWN, in the tight-knit fishing village of Easter Cove, Maine, sisters Priscilla (Sophie Lowe) and Mary Beth (Morgan Saylor) have just attended their mother's funeral. Mary Beth can't leave the small town fast enough, and Priscilla intends to stay and continue running their family's fish store. On the night of the funeral, Mary Beth goes to a bar and gets drunk. She meets a rough-and-tumble fisherman named Gorski, and after getting more drunk, the two drive off to Gorski's place. When Gorski gets sexually aggressive and physical, Mary Beth defends herself and kills him. Desperate, she enlists the help of Priscilla, and the two try to find a way to dispose of the body. While doing this, they stumble upon a garbage bag filled with cash. Struggling financially in the wake of their mother's passing, the two take the money. The money belongs to one of the older women of the village, Enid (Margo Martindale), who operates a bed-and-breakfast that's actually a house of prostitution. As Enid looms ever closer to finding out who stole the money, Priscilla and Mary Beth uncover dark secrets about Enid, the matriarchs of the village, and their mother's involvement.
Is it any good?
Similar to the best of the Coen Brothers movies, this film does a fantastic job of weaving the local color of the setting into the fabric of the story. Easter Cove, Maine, the setting of Blow the Man Down, is practically a character itself. It's quaint, austere, and hardscrabble, and there's a sense that there's something dark at work in this place in nearly every scene. There's a style to it reminiscent of Fargo, and not just because Easter Cove also has a Paul Bunyan as one of its landmarks. The women in the movie, not unlike Marge Gunderson, are in charge here, and the men are oblivious or oafish at best, and stupid and violent at worst.
The women contend with the aftermath of bad actions borne out of desperate situations. When the story takes hold and the dark secrets begin to be revealed, any Coen Brothers allusions are forgotten, and the movie stands on its own. There are also some darkly funny moments. In an early scene in the "bed-and-breakfast," Enid, the owner, works in her office, seemingly oblivious to the sounds of passion filtering through the ceiling. By the initial appearance of the B&B, it's easy enough to imagine this as the product of a romantic getaway, but then we soon realize that the reality is far different. It's an absorbing story, filled with menace, suspense, and wicked humor. It's just not meant for kids.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about crime dramadies. How does Blow the Man Down combine elements of drama and comedy? What are some other examples of movies like this?
How does the movie reveal the culture and behavior of the people of Easter Cove? How does the setting affect the overall story?
How are women represented in the movie? How does this compare to the way women have traditionally been portrayed in movies centered on criminal acts?
- On DVD or streaming: March 20, 2020
- Cast: Sophie Lowe, Morgan Saylor, Margo Martindale
- Directors: Bridget Savage Cole, Danielle Krudy
- Studio: Amazon Studios
- Genre: Drama
- Topics: Brothers and Sisters
- Run time: 90 minutes
- MPAA rating: R
- MPAA explanation: Language, some violence, sexual material and brief drug use.
- Last updated: April 24, 2020
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