God's Own Country

Movie review by
Stefan Pape, Common Sense Media
God's Own Country Movie Poster Image
Tender romantic drama has graphic sex, drinking, language.
  • NR
  • 2017
  • 104 minutes

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A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

How the power of love can help overcome the difficulties in a person's life. A relationship blossoms between two people from different backgrounds. Characters are unable to truly come out publicly as being gay. Some members of the community demonstrate racist and xenophobic behavior.

Positive Role Models

Gheorghe is a cultured and compassionate man, who brings happiness into the life of Johnny. Initially Johnny is in a dark place, and has an unhealthy affliction for alcohol. But both his mood and his dependency on alcohol improves as his love for Gheorghe grows. The movie is a very beautiful take on true love between two people of the same sex. However, given their environment, they do have to keep it secretive. A stranger in a bar behaves in a racist manner.

Violence

A calf is shot and killed by a farmer to put it out of its misery after a challenging birth. Characters fight in a field, which aggressively leads into a sexual encounter between them. An argument in a pub leads to someone pushing another's head onto the bar. Graphic farming scenes include a farmer putting their hand in the rectum of a cow, and the birthing of a baby lamb. Character skins a dead lamb.

Sex

Full frontal nudity, as characters lie together in bed completely naked. There are three major sex scenes. One begins with oral sex and becomes a very aggressive and physical encounter in a public restroom. In another sequence, a character performs oral sex on another. There is a later sex scene between two characters in a barn, though there is no nudity. A used condom is seen in a toilet bowl.

Language

Frequent language includes "f--k," "arse," "piss," and "shite." There is much discriminatory hate language used too, including "paki" and "gypsy." Two characters call each other "f--got."

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Characters drink, often to excess. One character has a problem with alcohol abuse. They are shown throwing up into a toilet after a night of drinking. In another scene, they are so drunk they can't get out of a cab without assistance. Characters smoke. One character chain smokes when stressed.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that God's Own Country is a beautiful and poignant British drama about the power of love between two men, and contains graphic sex scenes, drinking, and language. Johnny (Josh O'Connor), a young farmer in the English countryside, begins a sexual relationship with Gheorghe (Alec Secareanu), a Romanian migrant worker hired to help on the farm. There is some instances of fighting, and the sex is also aggressive at times. Due to being confined to secrecy, their sexual encounters often take place in sordid areas like public restrooms. There is full-frontal male nudity, and in one scene, graphic oral sex is depicted. Johnny struggles with alcohol abuse and depression. He is seen being sick after a heavy night's drinking and is also shown unable to get out of a taxi cab as a result of being too drunk. He also chain smokes. There's very frequent bad language, as well as hate language toward minorities. This includes "f--k," "paki," and "gypsy." Johnny and Gheorghe also call each other "f--got," though it's seemingly used in an ironic, affectionate manner. With much of the movie set on a farm, expect graphic scenes involving the birth and death of animals, including the skinning of a lamb. Although the movie has a number of heavy adult themes, this is a hopeful, inspirational, and progressive tale about two young men, from different backgrounds, having their lives enriched by one another.

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What's the story?

GOD'S OWN COUNTRY takes place on an isolated farm in Yorkshire, England, focusing on young sheep farmer Johnny (Josh O'Connor) who is at a crossroads in his life. Struggling to care for his father, Martin (Ian Hart), and numbing his depression with alcohol abuse, his spirits are lifted with the arrival of Romanian migrant worker Gheorghe (Alec Secareanu), as the two embark on an intense and beautiful relationship.

Is it any good?

God's Own Country is one of the great romantic movies in recent memory. Francis Lee's beautifully rendered drama manages to find so much tenderness and grace amidst the blood, the mud, and the beer, while the film's setting -- an isolated farm in the English countryside -- enriches the narrative. The movie examines not only the characters' relationships with one another, but to the land they inhabit.

The two central performances from O'Connor and Secareanu are staggeringly impressive, and it's no surprise to see their careers go from strength to strength. But it's the journey the characters go on that grabs our attention, forcing us to become immersed and besotted with their coming together. Though this film studies dark themes, and contains a bubbling xenophobia present throughout, it thrives in the notion of true love, and that can never be a bad thing.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how God's Own Country portrays sex. Is it affectionate? Respectful? Parents, talk to your teens about your own values regarding sex and relationships.

  • How are drinking and smoking portrayed? Why do some characters drink? Are their consequences? Why is that important?

  • Talk about the strong, racist, and homophobic language used in the movie. What does it contribute to the movie? Does it seem necessary or excessive?

  • How does the movie handle the subject of sexuality? How did it compare to other movies with LGBTQ+ characters? Do you think there should be more movies about same sex relationships?

  • Johnny and Gheorghe come from different parts of the world and from different backgrounds. What do you think is the key to their relationship? How does Gheorghe help Johnny? What do you think is the overall message we should take from the movie?

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love romance

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