A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Good People is a thriller about an average couple who make a bad decision involving money and subsequently become involved with gangsters. There's strong violence, with lots of fighting, shooting, and killing, plus splattering and spraying blood. Some of the fighting involves nail guns, crowbars, etc. Language is also quite salty, with many uses of "f--k," as well as "s--t" and "p---y." The plot involves drug dealers, a case of "Liquid O" (heroin) is shown, and a man dies (off screen) of a drug overdose. The main characters are trying to get pregnant, which is discussed, though there's no on-screen sex. They do take a shower together, but an opaque curtain covers the sensitive parts ... until the woman's bottom is shown. It's fairly mediocre and forgettable, and unless teens are out to see every James Franco or Kate Hudson movie, they probably won't bother.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
American couple Tom (James Franco) and Anna Wright (Kate Hudson) live in England, where they're trying to fix up an old house but are instead falling into debt. When their downstairs tenant mysteriously dies of an overdose, the couple finds a hidden satchel full of cash, and they decide to keep it. Police detective John Halden (Tom Wilkinson) starts snooping around, and Tom gets a call from a dangerous gangster (Omar Sy), who suspects that he has the money. When thugs show up at their place and threaten them, Tom and Anna realize that they must come up with a plan to save their necks. But how can a normal couple fight an army of brutal bad guys?
Is it any good?
GOOD PEOPLE comes from good stock. Director Henrik Ruben Genz is an Oscar nominee for Best Live Action Short and also made the very good crime film Terribly Happy (2008). Screenwriter Kelly Masterson -- who adapted Marcus Sakey's novel -- previously wrote Before the Devil Knows You're Dead and Snowpiercer. Even the cast includes some very talented, Oscar-nominated people. But the finished movie feels like a half-hearted jumble, full of lazy shortcuts.
The main characters don't generate much sympathy, since they rush too quickly into trouble. The bad guys, on the other hand, never seem to be in sync; why would the big boss himself show up at the big showdown, gun in hand? At other times, no one really seems to be in charge or have any idea what's going on. Wilkinson comes out the best, since his character has a motivation, although that's about all he has. Good People falters even more when compared to the similar A Simple Plan, a much sharper, smarter, and more emotional movie.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about Good People's violence. How did it affect you? Would the movie have been as exciting/thrilling with less violence and blood?
Why did the characters choose to keep the money? What would have happened if they had decided to turn it in? Do you think the consequences of their decision are realistic?
Does the real-life economic situation of the mid-2010s enter into this film's plot? Why are the characters struggling so much to get by?
How powerful is the female lead in this movie? Does she take charge? Does she make things happen?
Do you agree with the police detective's personal motivation to avenge the death of his daughter? Is that a worthy cause?
- In theaters: September 26, 2014
- On DVD or streaming: October 28, 2014
- Cast: James Franco, Kate Hudson, Tom Wilkinson
- Director: Henrik Ruben Genz
- Studio: Millennium Entertainment
- Genre: Thriller
- Run time: 90 minutes
- MPAA rating: R
- MPAA explanation: bloody violence and language
- Last updated: March 13, 2020
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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.
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