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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
There are many family-centered positive messages about the importance of being a "present" father who doesn't just go through the motions but really takes his job as a father seriously. Javier puts his morals and his family first, even if it could cost him a job. In the aftermath of tragedy, Adam dedicates himself to becoming a better father. David decides to accept responsibility for the child he never met.
Positive Role Models
Adam, Javier, and Nathan are admirable men who believe that their role as fathers is sacred. Javier is hardworking, honest, and a committed family man. Almost all of the criminals depicted in the movie are African American.
Violence & Scariness
A few tense and disturbing sequences, from the opening scene in which Nathan follows his car-jacked truck in order to rescue his baby, to a long chase on foot between the cops and a couple of suspects that ends in a fist fight. A teenage boy is repeatedly beaten during a gang initiation. A cop uses a Taser to subdue someone. In a climactic cops vs. gang members scene, a criminal grabs a young girl as a hostage. A child is heartbreakingly killed (off camera) in an accident.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Married couples embrace; a girl is asked out by an interested guy. A man explains that his father had children with six different women; another reveals that, during a one-night stand in college, he fathered a child he's never met.
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
A police officer is shown stealing drugs (white powder) that are supposed to be entered into evidence. Gang members discuss an upcoming drug deal, and one tries to get rid of his stash.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this movie, which was produced by the same Protestant church that made Fireproof, is equal parts message movie and Evangelical ministry tool. Consequently, the story focuses on themes about conversion to Christianity and being a good, godly father. There's no language or sex, but there's more violence/peril than in similar films -- the cop protagonists engage in chases and skirmishes with suspects that end in fight fights and, in one case, a child being temporarily taken hostage at gunpoint. Tragedy strikes the central family, and one cop's baby is nearly kidnapped when his truck is car jacked. Because of the grown-up themes that focus on the nature of fatherhood and following God's path as a parent, this isn't a movie that will appeal to kids; it's aimed at the men, particularly dads, in the audience. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
In some ways, this is the best film produced to date by Kendrick and the other filmmakers at Sherwood Baptist Church. The production values are good, a couple of the actors -- particularly Bevel and Davies -- seem like pros, and they're obviously using their profits from Fireproof to up the ante here. But for secular audiences or those who don't already believe in the Evangelical idea of what constitutes a good Christian family, the movie could be off-putting once the focus shifts to Adam's mission in the second half.
It's not that the plot isn't touching or the message inspiring -- every man should aspire to be a wonderful, loving father who puts his children first, even when it's not convenient. But so much of the film feels like an invitation not just to church but to a very specific kind of Christianity that it's hard not to feel preached to, even though there are some genuinely poignant moments. Ultimately the appeal here is for those who already believe, in which case the movie is a call to action and reaffirmation to be the ideal Christian father.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.