A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Few positive messages with the central character routinely manipulated, humiliated, and surrounded by violence -- usually from a racist perspective. Some examples of resilience and the ability of overcome obstacles, but this often comes at a great cost.
Positive Role Models
Enitan is born into tough circumstances and faces many hardships. He grows up to be deeply troubled because of his upbringing and the many racist and violent people he is exposed to as a youth. Enitan's biological family and a teacher, Ms. Dapo, attempt to instill morality and positive values in him. His biological parents both continue their education as adults in order to better themselves and make a better life for their family. They are also sometimes harsh toward Enitan, but always attempt to act in his best interests. Enitan is manipulated and humiliated by his foster mother, Ingrid, and desensitized to violence by his foster father, Jack, and his peers.
There is wide diversity among the cast and some prominent roles for women. Enitan's home life in Britain is contrasted with his ancestral home in Nigeria, where a different language is spoken and a different religion is practiced. There are a number of scenes of a racist -- often violent -- nature. The film is written and directed by Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje and is based on his own experiences as a young Black English boy of Nigerian heritage.
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Violence & Scariness
Gang violence and confrontations include punches, kicks, and a character being set on fire. Beatings are given out by racist characters, bloody injuries shown. Missiles thrown and a dog mauls a character in another racist attack. Characters taught violence over talking and reasoning. Animals' throats slit. Blood shown afterward. Kids struck by teachers for not doing as they are told and are forced to endure physical hardships as punishment. A character is physically scarred during a ceremony. Discussion of dismemberment, characters threatened with knives, brass knuckles, and a claw hammer. Characters routinely use physical and verbal intimidation. Character is stripped naked during a racist attack. The initial of a gang is carved into flesh, bloody marks shown. Men harass and physically overpower women -- women's underwear exposed in racist attack.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Male nudity in a non-sexual context -- their genitals are covered. Discussion of Black males' genitalia that relies on racist stereotypes. Reference to bestiality. Male characters bare their backsides. Kissing.
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Language used includes "f--king," "bloody," "bugger," "bleeding," "pr--k," "f--k," "c--t," "whore," "bitch," and "slag." Also British curse words "wanker," "git," and "toss." Racial language used includes the "N" word, "boy," "Black bastard," "monkey," and the British slurs "coon" and "wog."
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Products & Purchases
A character is encouraged to steal by their foster parent, who themselves fosters kids because they are heavily motivated by the money that they receive for it. Characters rob a post office for money.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Characters smoke cigarettes socially and drink alcohol in pubs, but not to excess.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Farming is British drama about a young Black man who becomes involved with a gang of White racists and has strong language and moments of upsetting violence. Inspired by the life story of writer-director Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, Enitan (Zephan Hanson Amissah and Damson Idris) is sent to live with a White foster family outside of his birth home of London. This leads Enitan to developing his own perverse, racist attitudes that stem from his shame and self-loathing. Because of the subject matter, there are no real positive messages -- Enitan sides with his tormentors in order to gain some sense of belonging and acceptance. Some of the supporting characters attempt to steer Enitan down a better path, most notably his teacher Ms. Dapo (Gugu Mbatha-Raw). While the movie does have diversity among its cast, the Black characters are frequently subjected to humiliation in the form of physical and verbal abuse. Although the violence is not graphic it is frequent. Fights and bullying all feature regularly, with characters often set upon by multiple attackers. Bloody injuries are shown but are not gory. Sex is alluded to in conversation. Characters are stripped naked during racist attacks. The language is strong and includes "c--t" and multiple variants of "f--k." There are also several uses of racist slurs, including the "N" word. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
A grimly interesting story that is sadly reduced to a cliched, tedious movie. Farming portrays the startling impact of a policy that separated the young children of British immigrants from their parents to go and live with foster families. While it was hopefully a cathartic experience for writer-director Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje to lay bare the horrific treatment he received as a young child and teen, there's so little character development here that his adapted life story quickly delivers little more than a series of depressing set pieces.
In addition to finding out practically nothing about what Enitan internalizes, the ambivalence of his greedy foster mother Ingrid (Kate Beckinsale) is also left unexplored. Instead we get a lot of dull, repetitive violence led by a gang of skinheads that could have been lifted from dozens of other stories. Farming also neglects a far more interesting period of Akinnuoye-Agbaje's biography: his eventual rise to university graduate, model, then an acting career that has produced a series of memorable performances over the past three decades. None of which, sadly, are present here.
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