Clover

Movie review by
Jeffrey M. Anderson, Common Sense Media
Clover Movie Poster Image
Solid crime movie has tons of violence, strong language.
  • NR
  • 2020
  • 101 minutes

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A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

Most of the movie is about revenge and violence.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Main characters make many poor choices and mistakes (gambling, borrowing from gangsters, etc.). For a while, they face consequences, but then everything works out OK.

Violence

Strong, gangster-style violence, with guns, shooting, blood spurts. Characters die. Character bashed to death with bowling pin. Bloody wounds/lots of blood. Severed fingers. Characters poisoned. Characters fight, punch, brawl, slap. Character hit with gun butt. Character put in "sleeper hold." Shouting, yelling.

Sex

Passionate kissing. Sex implied. Female character in an outfit that reveals most of her bottom. Sexual references.

Language

Constant strong language includes countless uses of "f--k" and "f--king," plus "motherf----r," "s--t," "c--t," "p---y," "a--hole," "ass," "son of a bitch," "bitch," "piss," "sac," "balls," "jerk off," "moron," "jerk," and "idiot," as well as exclamatory uses of "Jesus Christ" and "God." Several middle-finger gestures.

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Cigarette smoking in several scenes. Scenes in bars, with background drinking. Characters drink from a flask.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Clover is a crime movie with a somewhat comic slant about two brothers (Jon Abrahams and Mark Webber) in debt who wind up on the run from gangsters along with a teen girl (Nicole Elizabeth Berger). Violence is intense and stylized, with guns and shooting and lots of blood. A character is bashed to death with a bowling pin, other characters die, and there are severed fingers plus fighting, punching, slapping, and brawling. Language is extremely strong and frequent, with countless uses of "f--k," "motherf----r," "s--t," "c--t," and much more. A couple kiss passionately, and sex is implied. There's brief partial nudity (a woman's bottom) and some sex-related talk. Cigarette smoking is shown, and several scenes take place in bars with background drinking.

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What's the story?

In CLOVER, Jackie (Mark Webber) has racked up a huge gambling debt and owes $50,000 to gangster Tony (Chazz Palminteri). Jackie's twin brother, Mickey (Jon Abrahams), is furious, afraid that they'll lose the family bar. Dragged in to see Tony, they're given a chance to redeem themselves: pulling the trigger on another man who hasn't paid his debt. The brothers go to the man's house with Tony's son Joey (Michael Godere), but Jackie and Mickey can't do the deed. A teen girl named Clover (Nicole Elizabeth Berger) appears, and Joey is shot dead. So Jackie and Mickey find themselves on the run with Clover in tow, trying to avoid getting killed by an army of gangsters. Unfortunately, two highly skilled female killers have also been called in. 

Is it any good?

This crime movie's basic framework is wearily familiar, but it gets bonus points for a sense of place, a wry sense of humor, and the clever way it shifts female characters into positions of power. Clover -- the title refers to both the teen girl character and to a four-leaf clover the brothers covet -- has all of the typical mob movie scenes. There's also a tough boss yelling at his underlings (and killing anyone who gets out of line) and ne'er-do-well heroes who are in way over their heads. And there are usual hide-and-chase scenes, bloody shoot-outs, and constant swearing.

Yet as Clover goes along, it becomes clear that the filmmakers -- actor-director Abrahams and screenwriter Michael Testone -- have a very clear sense of this world, the lifelong relationships, and the sharp, harsh way that people deal with each other. The relationship between the brothers grows more nuanced, and their bickering becomes funnier. But the real surprise is how the movie handles women -- not only the hired killers, but also the proprietor of a club and a hard-as-nails ex-girlfriend who agrees to help the fugitives. Sadly, Clover herself is a bit of a weak link. She seems to try a little too hard, when a dash of subtlety might have worked better. But Jake Weber adds a wonderfully weird touch as poisons expert Terry, who helps the brothers. He's the good luck charm who edges the movie into "worth seeing" territory.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about Clover's violence. Does the fact that it's so stylized make it exhilarating? What parts were more shocking than thrilling? Why?

  • Why are gangsters and criminals so appealing in stories? Why are we drawn to them?

  • How does the movie portray its female characters? Do they occupy positions of power? Are they in command of their destinies? Are there stereotypes?

  • How does the movie portray drinking and smoking? Does it make hanging out in a bar look like fun? Are there consequences?

  • How is sex depicted? What values are imparted?

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love thrills

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