A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Hard, physical work can be good for the soul. Themes of family (both those you're born into and those you create) and brotherly love. Stated message: "You live. You die. It's the in-between that counts."
Positive Role Models
All the characters make poor decisions. But viewers are meant to admire the work ethic of the commercial fishermen and how they look out for one another.
The story revolves around a White family, including a working-class man who's the captain of a fishing vessel and his "rich kid" half-brother who wants to chuck a fancy education and work alongside him. The working class characters are depicted in a positive light compared to white-collar workers. The boat's crew and their family and friends are mostly Latino/Afro-Latino, including female lead Mabel (Jenna Ortega), who's independent and ambitious -- but also mostly there to be the girl in her boyfriend's story.
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Violence & Scariness
Guns and gun violence, including threats with a gun to the head, shots to injure, and shots to kill. Hard punch.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Intense, passionate kissing in a car. A couple is shown entangled in bed together after sex; kissing (lips, other body parts) and hands moving under the covers suggest that they're about to do it again.
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Extremely strong language: "bulls--t," "damn," "goddamn," "motherf--ker," "p---y," "s--t," and frequent use of "f--k." "For Chrissakes" and "Jesus Christ!" used as exclamations.
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Products & Purchases
Product placement is likely with vehicles, but definitely with Budweiser beer -- the logo, taglines, and labels-out bottles are seen throughout.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
A likable supporting character who has a drug problem is shown surrounded by balls of heroin. Characters gather and bond while drinking beer at a bar. Main characters willingly enter into a drug smuggling scheme, and bags of product are seen.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Finestkind is director Brian Helgeland's drama about estranged half-brothers (Ben Foster, Toby Wallace) who bond while working as fishermen. They come from different backgrounds -- one is the son of a grizzled, intimidating boat captain (Tommy Lee Jones), the other the son of a wealthy Boston lawyer (Tim Daly) -- but when it comes to overcoming adversity, they're both quick to say yes to a fast fix. Heroin -- sales, smuggling, and use -- is a key part of the story, and while the drug kingpins are depicted as quite villainous, the rest of the drug-related material is shown in a somewhat empathetic light. Guns are flashed and used to threaten, injure, and kill. There's some physical fighting, too, including a hard punch to the gut. Sexual content includes heavy petting and passionate kissing, some of it in bed. Language is extremely strong, with constant use of words such as "goddamn," "s--t," "f--k," and more. The movie is intended as a tribute to working-class folks and promotes the idea that there's personal reward in hard, physical work. But honest work, it turns out, it's not, and characters make many poor decisions. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
This fishing-centric drama is all bait, and -- alas -- no hook. It took more than three decades for writer-director Brian Helgeland to get his first (and most personal) screenplay to the screen -- and while that's a great example of perseverance, the script for Finestkind shows its age. Today's audiences require more truth than most did in the 1980s, when lunkheaded heroes could make poor decisions, and we'd still cheer them on. Today, viewers are savvier and question everything. And here, the doubts start the moment after the brothers' first failed boating expedition and last through their final head-shaking choices.
What's even harder to believe is that this story came from the same writer of heralded crime dramas LA Confidential and Mystic River. When "wrong side of the tracks" Mabel (Jenna Ortega) has her first conversation with Charlie, she tells him how she's going to break the cycle of poverty and crime in her family. English major Charlie responds with the scene-stopping declaration, "You want to be the hero of your own story!" Yet she gets the men involved with a dangerous cartel and is never more than the girl in her boyfriend's story. Things like that may nag at viewers, but -- with its 1980s music from INXS and The Outfield, its Gen X-compatible idea that a hard day's work is its own reward, a lack of smartphones, and the "father knows best" messaging -- there's definitely an audience for this film, reinforcing for those who identify with the story that they are indeed, the finest kind.
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.