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Parents' Guide to

Guava Island

By Michael Ordona, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 10+

Glover's short film mixes music, mild violence.

Movie NR 2019 55 minutes
Guava Island Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 9+

Based on 3 parent reviews

age 9+

Excellent parable about greed and the power of collective action

I great way for young people to learn about political action. Good music that will draw young people in. Themes are complex and will need discussion/deconstruction. Themes may be difficult for a younger person to understand. I showed this to my high school filmmaking class and they enjoyed it and enjoyed deconstructing the messages in it.
age 9+


Donald glover can't do anything wrong can he? Fine for 9 and up

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (3 ):
Kids say (1 ):

Guava Island may not have the crackling brilliance that Glover has spoiled us to expect, but it's still a warmly assembled showcase for his talents. It's a harmless bit of self-mythologizing that harkens to The Harder They Come, City of God, Purple Rain, and others. Glover casts himself as a good-hearted musical savior -- something you might expect Glover to do ironically, but which seems in earnest here -- and brings plenty of personality and chops to sell it. There are no surprises in the plotting and movement of this music-infused, short (it's 55 minutes long) film. But that's of questionable importance, since it seems to be about the experience, rather than the story or characters.

Frequent Glover collaborators director Hiro Murai (who also helmed Glover's famous "This Is America" video and many episodes of his Atlanta series) and cinematographer Christian Sprenger (an Emmy winner for Atlanta) capture a summery island vibe. The film's boxy 4:3 aspect ratio and grainy celluloid look evoke the '70s with fondness. With several new songs and reinterpreted pieces of Glover/Childish Gambino hits "This Is America," "Summertime Magicm" and "Feels Like Summer," Guava Island also feels like a less-trippy "Magical Mystery Tour" at times. Glover's performance swings from naturalistic to something more suited to the large gestures of a movie musical. But that's OK, since the film's mythological introduction and habit of bursting into song tell us not to anchor ourselves too much in naturalistic reality. In a small role as Kofi's co-worker in one of Red's sweatshops, Letitia Wright reminds us of her irresistible charisma. This slight but charming film may be designed for a passing cultural moment -- sort of a Snapchat of a mini-movie, but with distinct flavor and powerhouse talent.

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