A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Promotes courage and individuality in the face of fear and conformity.
Positive Role Models
Ulysses develops from boy believing in status quo to savior of his people. He fights back against control of Mother and his own disillusionment at learning about roots of his real family. He gains wisdom, initiative to set Greatland on a different course under his and his friend Ugly Duck's leadership.
Violence & Scariness
The Optimists, Greatland's law enforcers, hurt and kill anyone who doesn't abide by Mother's rules, such as Ugly Duck's father. Lady Omega, the voice of Mother, is shot in the eye by Ulysses. She's later beaten to death by the Greatland citizens during a contentious election. Lady Omega's husband, the Alpha Altruist, is killed by Lady Omega, who also writes a note to make Ulysses and the Clerk believe the Alpha Altruist died by suicide. Graphic video showcasing a violent childbirth. Mysterious Philanthropist bathes in a bathtub full of blood.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Ulysses tries to take part in a Greatland coming-of-age ritual that involves watching a pornographic movie and filling a cup with an "offering." Instead of completing the ritual as expected, he spits in the cup after the Priest gives him a description of what the offering should look like. Cat Purry's followers use the image of a clitoris as part of their group's symbol. Cat Purry speaks in a suggestive tone. Ugly Duck's father was punished by the Optimists for having sex to conceive Ugly Duck.
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Infrequent language includes uses of "f--k," "s--t," "f---king," and "whore." Other words that could be considered ableist slurs, such as "crazy," "stupid," and "airhead," are used. Mentions of "Jesus" are used, which could be seen by some as taking the Lord's name in vain.
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Brief scenes with alcohol.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Greatland is a satirical sci-fi adventure. It centers on Ulysses (Arman Darbo), a young boy who lives in a dystopian place called Greatland, where people are controlled by Mother, a computer program that brainwashes citizens into believing that Greatland is the most inclusive, fun-loving place on Earth. Ulysses rebels when his friend is kidnapped and her father is killed by the town's police. Violence is the biggest issue, with someone getting shot in the eye and later beaten to death. Other characters are also killed, and there's a graphic video with a violent childbirth. A character bathes in a bathtub full of blood. You can also expect infrequent swearing ("f--k," "s--t," and more) and brief scenes with alcohol. The film gives viewers lots to think about in terms of Ulysses' courage to stand up against the status quo and the idea of conformity versus individuality, as well as what it means to be "woke." But the film's messages get somewhat lost in its strange, disturbing imagery and meandering storyline. 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 by Dana Ziyasheva, Greatland brings viewers into a candy-coated world of inclusivity and acceptance. But not everything is as it seems, because under the veneer of togetherness is a society bent on conformity and weaponizing love. Unfortunately, the film is confusing and conflicting: It seems to want to both promote inclusive imagery and denigrate it at the same time. It appears to be trying to suggest that conformity, even regarding positive attributes, is bad for humanity, but it doesn't make that point succinctly enough. Instead, the point gets lost in simply trying to figure out the world Greatland is trying to build.
With so many different titles for people -- including Optimists, Altruists, Clerks, and Philanthropists -- it's hard to know what title carries what meaning. Any satirical punches are hidden under other aspects of Greatland that grab viewers' attention, such as people marrying inanimate objects, Ulysses getting a rabbit as a son, and Ugly Duck's father, who was turned invisible because he decided to conceive Ugly Duck through sexual intercourse, which is seen as taboo in Greatland. The sheer number of colors and the strangeness that make up Greatland are bound to give you a headache, but you will finish watching with tons to think about. The only concern is whether the film did a good job of explaining itself.
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.