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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
White characters (including cops) display racist attitudes toward young black men; black character refers to white police officer's "hillbilly ass" white cop refers to black suspect as a "monkey" cops abuse suspects; a woman describes the history of an instutition where children were abused; a woman has an affair with a married man (off screen); riot at end is framed as rebellion and frustration.
Violence & Scariness
Descriptions of children's abuse in an institution and a child being buried; imagery includes Brenda's flashback where anonymous carjacker throws her to ground and her hands bleed; she hits her own head in frustration (with fists and against a door); she becomes hysterical in interrogation room and must be restrained; cops beat "suspects" with batons; cops beat suspect, leaving him bloodied and bruised; Lorenzo hits his head against a window, leaving glass broken and a bloody cut; riots break out, burning appliances and buildings.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Reference to being "knocked up," a woman describes her sexual affair with a neighbor, focusing mostly on her loneliness and desire rather than the phsyical aspects.
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Frequent f-words, plus multiple uses of "hell," s-word, and "damn."
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
References to drug/alcohol addictions (Brenda and Lorenzo); cops say a young man was spotted with a bag of marijuana (off screen).
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that the subject matter of this film is not for kids. It focuses on the upset caused by a missing child, specifically his mother's upset and the social and political chaos that erupts surrounding the crime, which may involve his abduction, injury, or death. One asthmatic character has an episode when his inhaler gives out, and he gasps for air and has to take a panicky shot of adrenalin (soundtrack pounding, fast editing). The film includes violent and bloody imagery, heavy use of profanity (frequent f-words, "hell," s-words, and "damns"), and tense situations (including clashes between an adult brother and sister, and a grieving mother's hallucination of her child in a hospital waiting room). Several characters smoke, refer to drugs, and one looks to be smoking a joint. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
Earnest and overbearing, FREEDOMLAND features mature themes and imagery: It's not for kids. Inspired by the 1994 case in which Susan Smith drowned her two young sons in South Carolina and claimed she had been carjacked by "a black man," the film, based on Richard Price's 1998 novel, attempts to give voice to a Smithlike character as well as some black residents of a New Jersey housing project who are enraged by the white mother's accusation and the assumption by police and journalists alike that her holey story makes sense.
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.
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Our Editors Recommend
Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.See how we rate