A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Encourages empathy, compassion, and teamwork, particularly between family members. Also messages about the importance of close relationships between parents and children, as well as accepting those who are different than you.
Positive Role Models
Renato is uptight and stuck in his ways but also incredibly smart, problem-solving, and willing to change for those he loves. Asher can be unfocused and impetuous, but he's remarkably kind and empathetic. Pia is an encouraging, supportive, and loving fiancee and mother. Flavio, despite his flaws as a father, overcame remarkable odds. Although the main cast includes several Mexican and Latinx actors, the screenplay also incorporates several stereotypes about both Mexico and the United States that are played for laughs (the former being violent or only filled with tourists, beaches, and ziplining; the latter being full of fat people who are loud, lazy, and entitled).
Violence & Scariness
Bar brawl scene; a group of men threatens the brothers and beats up Asher. The brothers have to hit violent men with poisonous gas in order to rescue their pet goat. Flashbacks show upsetting scenes of undocumented immigrants' trials as they try to enter and stay in the United States, as well as the dangers they face in being detained. Border patrol officers grab the dad; he's left for dead after being very sick for a while. A couple of chase scenes between angry men and the brothers.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Married and engaged couples kiss, embrace, dance. Implied love scene (adulterous) and extramarital pregnancy.
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Cursing in both English and Spanish: "shut up," "holy s--t," "freakin'," "ass," "s--t," "stupid," "d--k," "bulls--t," "a--hole," "goddamn," "son of a bitch," "Jesus Christ," "screw him," "weirdo," "freak," and one "f---ing," and "f--k." Spanish curses include "carajo," "mierda," etc.
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Products & Purchases
A few brands: Mercedes, Ford, Converse.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Adults drink in bars; in one scene, a father and son switch drinks, and it seems like the son sips beer.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Half Brothers is an uneven bilingual dramedy about a Mexican man who discovers that he has a younger half brother when his estranged father dies in the United States and leaves his sons with a final wish: to go on a cross-country scavenger hunt together. Starring Mexican actor Luis Gerardo Méndez (in his first English-language leading role) and Connor Del Rio as the brothers, the movie switches from being a wacky road trip comedy to showing dramatic flashbacks about the father's immense challenges as an undocumented immigrant attempting to return to Mexico. There's violence and peril in those scenes, as well as some more comical brawls and chases in the contemporary timeline. Language is occasionally salty in both English and Spanish (expect a couple of uses of "f--k" and more of "s--t," "bitch," ass," etc.), and there are some heartbreaking moments in the flashbacks. Couples kiss, there's a bit of drinking, and the script includes stereotypes about both Mexico and the United States, but the film also encourages empathy, compassion, and teamwork between family members. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
At first, this movie feels like a familiar wacky buddy comedy/road trip adventure, but it switches gear into a heartrending immigrant's tale in a way that doesn't work tonally or resolve plot issues. It's like two movies rolled into one, and neither is well served by the existence of the other, even if the performances are notable. It's nearly impossible not to see Del Rio as channeling a younger (if even more earnest) Zach Galifianakis in his role as Asher. And Méndez is fine as the uptight Renato, who's unwilling to give Asher the benefit of the doubt. But their zany adventures just aren't quite original or funny enough to be memorable.
Meanwhile, Half Brothers' flashback drama is compelling, humanizing an otherwise unlikable character (it's initially difficult to redeem a man who starts a new family and abandons his old one). But even as the revelations ramp up in intensity and sentimentality, the truth is that Flavio remains somewhat unforgivable, with the exception of introducing his sons. Director Luke Greenfield knows how to pull heartstrings, however, and audiences will find themselves feeling emotional in parts. It's almost as if Greenfield was inspired by Slumdog Millionaire, but the result isn't nearly as effective. There's a bit of whiplash in the transitions from the physical comedy and the brothers' verbal sparring to the turmoil and tribulations of Flavio's journey in America (even if he does eventually end up financially stable, with a beautiful wife and funny younger son). It's a shame that the movie's two halves don't come together more smoothly, because there are moments in each storyline that are worth watching.
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