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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
The only positive message is that the brothers ultimately hold their relationship to each other more sacred than their place in the fraternity.
Positive Role Models
Amid all of the cruel behavior and terrible role modeling, it's made clear that brothers Brett and Brad are close and love each other. When Brad isn't up to the hazing, Brett tries to intervene on his behalf. Despite the consequences, Brett is willing to be a whistleblower. The only women in the movie, except for an early crush who disappears right after she and Brad kiss, are sexual conquests or a stripper.
Violence & Scariness
A pledge dies. Brad is attacked by two young men who beat, kick, and punch him repeatedly; he's left bloody, and the incident leads to PTSD. They then take his car and leave him in a remote location. During rush, the pledges are slapped, forced to slap each other, made to drink to the point of sickness, taped up and gagged, tied together, told they have to perform oral sex on fraternity members (the "penis" is really a banana), told they'll have to have sex with a goat, and made to sleep in their own filth, among other indignities.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Graphic scenes of college-aged couples having sex (naked breasts and buttocks visible, with thrusting and moaning). A fraternity member demands two young women continue kissing each other for his amusement. A pledge says he's only having sex "for the first time in his life" because of the allure of the fraternity. A stripper performs for the fraternity -- topless and in a tiny thong). Cruel hazing includes sexually themed things (see "violence" section).
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Constant use of strong language, including "f--k," "motherf--ker," "p---y," "d--k," 'f-g," "f----t," "s--t," "a--hole," "Jesus Christ" (as an exclamation), "goddamn it," and more.
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Products & Purchases
Apple -- iPhone and MacBook; Ford Taurus, BMW.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
College (and high school) students drink often, frequently getting drunk. Partygoers also do drugs like cocaine. During Hell Week, the pledges are forced to drink to dangerous levels, sometimes throwing up on themselves and others.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Goat is a gritty, graphic adaptation of Brad Land's 2004 memoir about rushing a fraternity at Clemson University. A grim cautionary tale about hazing and fraternity culture, the movie (which stars Nick Jonas) is full of drinking/drug use, hazing violence (some of it sexually themed), the death of a pledge, and a random assault and car theft. The only women in the movie, except for an early crush, are sexual conquests and a stripper; some of them appear topless. A character struggles with PTSD. Language is also extreme and used constantly: "f--k," "motherf--ker," "s--t," "p---y," "f----t," and more show up in nearly every sentence. Although this isn't an easy movie to watch, it does give parents a natural starting point for important talks with college-bound high school juniors and seniors. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
Directed with immediacy and realism, this harrowing exploration of fraternity culture is a must-see for parents and college-bound teens who are thinking of joining the Greek system. Of course not all fraternities operate this way, but the fact remains that Goat is based on a real events. And they're extremely uncomfortable to watch. The pledges seem to believe that their lives won't be worth living if they're not in a fraternity, and the fraternity brothers seem to believe that they can do as they please, whether it's command young women to make out with each other, take turns peeing on a pledge, or stay silent in their role in a pledge's death.
Andrew Neel directs a script co-written by David Gordon Green, and it's filled with scenes that will make parents cringe and hope their own kids will (or already do) know better. But at some schools, the story suggests, it's basically go Greek or get left behind. Among the cast, Schnetzer gives a particularly nuanced performance as Brad, who really isn't cut out for the whole fraternity thing but wants to belong. Jonas is believable as Brett, although he has less to do than Schnetzer. One of the movie's only flaws is that the story focuses solely on the fraternity members and pledges, without puttingtheir place in the school community into context. There's only one scene with a dean, and it's unclear when or how these fraternity brothers go to class, since they're nearly always drunk or high (or trying to get that way). The only women in the movie, except for an early crush who disappears right after she and Brad kiss, are sexual conquests or a stripper. But, the movie argues, that's how the fraternity brothers see women, so it's fitting -- if not ideal. While it might be hard to watch with an older teen, Goat offers important talking points for parents and their graduating or college-aged teens.
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.