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Parents' Guide to


By Lynnette Nicholas, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 15+

Dramatic true story of redemption has racial violence.

Movie R 2020 129 minutes
Burden Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 17+

Based on 1 parent review

age 17+
Over 40 F-words

This title has:

Great messages
Great role models
Too much swearing

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (1 ):
Kids say (1 ):

This drama offers a candid glimpse into the lives of many people in the South who are still coping with a racist society. While it's hard to believe that the events portrayed in Burden happened as recently as 1996, the film does a good job of showing how racist attitudes are ingrained in people's minds and passed from one generation to the next. Mike Burden's experiences with psychological trauma and emotional turmoil support the idea that racist attitudes and actions corrode the perpetrator's psyche and soul nearly as much as they affect the victims. As he rises through the ranks of the KKK, Mike begins to feel the weight of operating with an attitude of hate. And through the acts of Reverend Kennedy, viewers get a glimpse of some of the more intimate struggles that genuine pastors have -- especially the need to balance God's call with their own personal family relationships. This is a pastor who's far more than just talk: He's committed to pleasing God with his actions. He shows what it really means to love your neighbor as yourself.

As Burden, Hedlund is amazing to watch. He has an on-screen vulnerability that makes you want to see him change. As Kennedy, Whitaker is superb, beautifully portraying a pastor who cares about others' souls and livelihoods without expecting anything in return. Riseborough does a fine job as Judy; it's her unconditional love that serves as a catalyst for Mike's inner change. And Usher Raymond is believable as Clarence -- through his character, viewers see how friendship has the power to teach and break generational thought patterns. Yes, we've seen stories like this before, but Burden does a great job of showcasing the beauty of youth and how often it's adults who contaminate children's destinies by passing along poisoned mindsets and habits. In Burden, an emotionally wounded man is granted the grace to change, and this makes up for some of its cinematic flaws.

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