A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Come to Daddy is an extremely violent, darkly funny thriller about a man (Elijah Wood) who uncovers vicious secrets while trying to reunite with his estranged father. It's smart and clever, but it's also very graphic. Violence includes lots of blood and death, a man being stabbed in the groin and strangled with plastic wrap, someone getting skewered through the face with a long spike, a person being stabbed in the brain through an open wound in his skull, and much more. A crossbow is used, and characters talk about other violent events. Language is also explicit, with constant use of "f--k," "s--t," "c--t," and more. A swingers convention includes full-frontal male and female nudity. Four naked people are shown sleeping together on a bed. Porn magazines and movies are briefly shown, and a character is a sex worker. Characters drink, and some are said to have alcohol dependency.
What's the story?
In COME TO DADDY, an offbeat man named Norval Greenwood (Elijah Wood) arrives in a remote seaside area, seeking a tucked-away house. He's gotten a letter from his estranged father inviting him to visit. A grizzled man (Stephen McHattie) answers the door of the house, and the reunion doesn't quite go as expected. The two men's interactions are strained and threatening -- and then, while initiating a fight, the older man dies of a heart attack. Alone with the corpse, Norval drinks and talks to it and starts hearing noises. When he discovers a photo album showing pictures of his mother and father and then a secret passage leading to a hidden room, he realizes his troubles are just beginning.
Is it any good?
Exceedingly, ridiculously violent, this darkly comic thriller explores various codes of masculinity, but it also packs quite a few wild surprises into its outlandish story. Written by Toby Harvard and directed by Ant Timpson (based on a story by both), Come to Daddy begins with the odd image of Norval wearing ill-fitting, futuristic fashions and claiming to be "in the music business." This sets him up as the opposite of an older generation of "manly man." The old man responds by asking whether Norval has ever been in a fight. He hasn't, but his chance is coming.
Without giving away any of the story's reveals, the conflict in Come to Daddy involves killing all the members of a gang of men in the name of doing the right thing and protecting Norval's mother (who's never seen). Most of the trouble comes when a particularly vile villain, Jethro (Michael Smiley), who carries a flaming crossbow, gets away. Norval follows him, but he makes a stop to spend some time with a sex worker who strangles her paying customers. The only other woman in the cast is a kind coroner (Madeleine Sami) whom Norval drunkenly calls and awkwardly propositions. In the end, secret bonds between families and between fathers and sons seem stronger than any gory violence.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about Come to Daddy's violence. Does the excessive brutality help convey the movie's point? Could it have been less violent?
How are sex and nudity depicted? What values are imparted by these images?
Did the father character do the right thing in the way that he chose to help his son, even though it was the wrong thing in many other ways? What other choices could he have made?
- In theaters: February 7, 2020
- On DVD or streaming: March 24, 2020
- Cast: Elijah Wood, Martin Donovan, Michael Smiley
- Director: Ant Timpson
- Studio: Saban Films
- Genre: Thriller
- Run time: 93 minutes
- MPAA rating: R
- MPAA explanation: strong violence, language throughout, sexual content and graphic nudity
- Last updated: April 27, 2020
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