A Black girl sits next to her mom and dad on a couch, all smiling. She is pointing at a smartphone that they are looking at together.

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Parents' Guide to

Heavy

By JK Sooja, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 17+

Death, drugs, and unlikable people in violent drama.

Movie NR 2021 95 minutes
Heavy Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

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

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Odd decisions throughout this drug drama make for a poor film. Generally, Heavy is full of bad writing, unlikable characters, and cringey moments. The writing feels rushed and not timed correctly. Sometimes this is an effect of bad editing or bad acting, but here it feels more like a by-product of awkward dialogue. It doesn't help that the White male lead says the "N" word and only when talking with his Black friend (he also calls a bunch of Black men "monkeys"). Even with the actors giving their all with what they have to work with, no one can make unnatural exposition in dialogue work naturally ("Wait a minute. You mean Dave? Your childhood best friend who you haven't spoken with in six years?"). Another bad decision: dividing the story into two halves. The first half chiefly consists of main character Seven telling his girlfriend what happened to him earlier that day. Occasionally we see flashbacks of particular moments, but: Why tell all this instead of simply show it scene by scene, as movies often do? Given the role Sophie Turner's Maddie plays, which is minimal at best, it feels like the decision was to have Seven tell Maddie the events of his day so that Maddie has something to do besides react appropriately to Seven's cheating. But this only amounts to Maddie reacting appropriately to Seven's getting into danger. After all, Maddie is literally shown only in the small apartment she shares with Seven (mainly in her underwear and on her bed) and briefly at her therapist's office. The film is clear: Maddie is only here to give love to Seven, accept his cheating ("It's just your nature, and I shouldn't try to change you"), listen to him, cry, and die.

Maddie's death isn't a spoiler because the scene starts the movie. It's supposed to be this hugely traumatic moment for Seven, but it doesn't work because Seven has been a selfish and horrible person the whole movie and has given no reason for anyone to care about what happens to him. The film quickly (too quickly) mentions early on that Seven was abused as a child, but it's too obvious that this is only being mentioned to garner sympathy for him, and it doesn't feel right. Ultimately, the second half of Heavy simply consists of a White man going around tying up, beating, torturing, shooting, and murdering Black men, until his mentor, another White man, guns down another man of color and his crew. It's hard not to notice that each main character is White (Seven and Maddie) and dies by suicide, whereas everyone else dies horribly and often after lots of pain, suffering, and torment.

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