Get Low

Movie review by
Andrea Beach, Common Sense Media
Get Low Movie Poster Image
Quiet character study is stellar but won't appeal to kids.
  • PG-13
  • 2010
  • 103 minutes

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The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

Good and bad are not separated by vast differences but are actually intricately intertwined in everyone. Don't spend your life waiting because the world keeps moving, so stay on board. The longer you wait to rectify your mistakes, the harder it gets to set things right; eventually it becomes impossible and you can find yourself trapped in a prison of your own making.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Complex characters model complex behavior. There are no villains and everyone does what he or she thinks is right, but people are flawed and sometimes make mistakes. Felix Bush's solution to his mistakes is to cut himself off from society and live in near-total isolation for 40 years. But he regrets his choice and tries to turn his life around before he gets too old.


A house is fully blazing from a distance with a small silhouetted figure, possibly also on fire, running in front of it. A shotgun fires in the air to scare away intruders and is threateningly brandished. Past mention of a hammer with blood and hair on it and of a fight with one person banging the other into a wall. A creepy, ghostly image quickly flashes on-screen. A man defends himself and his mule from a bully throwing rocks.


"Son of a bitch," "damn" written on a sign, "goddamn," "ass," and "bulls--t."

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

The main character smokes cigarettes and drinks what appears to be moonshine (brown liquid in a mason jar) several times. A prominent character pours from, drinks from, or hides a flask several times. Two adults drink whiskey once.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Get Low is a quiet, thoughtful, indie character study set in rural Tennessee during the Great Depression. It's based on a true story about an old man (Felix Bush) looking back on the mistakes of his life and trying to rectify them. Infrequent strong language includes "son of a bitch" several times and "bulls--t" once. A past house fire is briefly shown, and a past fight when Bush's life was in danger is briefly described by him. A few blows are shown when a man defends himself and his mule from a bully throwing rocks. Bush drinks and smokes several times; another important character is seen several times with a flask.

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What's the story?

Felix Bush (Robert Duvall) has been living like a hermit for over 40 years. When he realizes his time is nearing its end, he decides he wants to throw a big "funeral party" for himself so that he can actually be there at his own funeral. Of course after all those years in solitude, he's developed quite a reputation in town, where rumors abound about his violent past. But the truth about Bush's past is as complicated as the difference between right and wrong. If he finally tells the truth, will he find forgiveness before it's too late? Based on a true story.

Is it any good?

GET LOW is a lovely, quiet, contemplative independent movie with a stellar turn from Hollywood legend Robert Duvall. He's ably supported by the likes of Bill Murray, Sissy Spacek, Bill Cobbs, and others. Starting off with not much more than mumbles and grunts, Duvall creates a fascinating character that's a joy to watch unfold as the film simultaneously pulls the viewer into the slowly building mystery of Felix Bush's past.

Adults will definitely enjoy this overlooked gem, but kids are unlikely to appreciate the depths and subtleties of a character study about looking back and trying to rectify past mistakes. The all-adult cast won't offer an easy way into it for them, either. But if you have the time after the kids are in bed or the odd night when the sleepover is at someone else's house, Get Low is a terrific choice.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about movies based on true stories. Is it OK for filmmakers to change things around to tell a story, or should they stick to the facts?

  • Everyone makes mistakes in life, but is there one mistake you waited too long to set right? Is there such a thing as too late to fix a mistake?

  • Bush says that at first he didn't want forgiveness for his actions, but now he does. Why do you think he changed his mind about that, and when do you think he changed his mind?

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love dramas

Themes & Topics

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