A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
The film explores the ongoing effects of grief and the importance of working through feelings and sharing them with others. However, issues within the film are often unresolved and result in suspicion and isolation.
Positive Role Models
Laura is shown to be empathetic and caring toward a child she suspects is a reincarnation of her deceased daughter. But she often neglects the needs of her son in the process. Laura and her husband, Brendan, have a supportive relationship, though cracks appear later in the film and trust is questioned.
There is very little diversity within the cast. Characters are exclusively White, portrayed as straight, and there is some leaning into traditional gender roles, with mothers rather than fathers picking kids up from school. There is an indication of socio-economic difference between the two families, with one family making judgments based on the tattoos and long working hours of the other, though this isn't specifically acknowledged or explored. Characters of different ages are represented, including young children, middle-aged parents, and a grandparent -- mostly within traditional family structures, one involving a mother and stepfather.
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Violence & Scariness
Verbal threats are made toward adults and children. A physical fight involves strangling and a character is stabbed with a knife, causing a non-fatal injury. An accidental cut from a kitchen knife results in some blood from a finger wound. A non-violent kidnapping takes place, as well as breaking and entering into a home. The death of a child in a car crash is mentioned, as is the death of pet kittens. There are scenes involving laying flowers at a gravestone and wider shots of a graveyard.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Sex is briefly implied beneath some bed sheets, with no nudity shown. There is the implication of past infidelity.
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Occasional language includes "f--k," "s--t," "piss," and "shite." "Jesus" is used as an exclamation.
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Adult characters smoke cigarettes and drink small amounts of alcohol on occasion.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Here Before is a British drama with themes surrounding the death of a young child and occasional use of strong language. The story centers around Laura (Andrea Riseborough) who comes to believe her neighbor's daughter could be a reincarnation of her own child who tragically died in a car crash. The atmosphere is mysterious and often eerie, with moments of tension and frequent reference to death. Incidents of violence include a physical fight that results in a stabbing. There is the implication of sex beneath sheets, though no nudity is shown. The infrequent strong language includes "f--k" and "s--t." Adult characters are seen smoking cigarettes and drinking alcohol on occasion. The film deals with adult themes throughout, touching on infidelity, mental health, and the effects of long-term grief, which means it may be too intense for younger viewers. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
In this grief-stricken drama, Riseborough gives an award-worthy performance as Laura, a grieving mother who is offered a glimmer of hope for connection with her late daughter, Josie. As Laura becomes convinced that her neighbor's child is a reincarnation of Josie, Here Before sensitively presents Laura's interpretation of events as believable enough, while still posing questions about its logic. The cinematography helps create the slightly off-kilter atmosphere that explores whether it is the outside world where something feels amiss, or if that fracture is within Laura's own psyche. Intense close-ups, lingering long-shots, flashes of figures just out of frame, and abstract, disorienting images enhance the feeling of otherworldliness and sense of tension and impending dread. These emotions are made even more unnerving when scored with haunting children's songs.
Here Before steadily builds an intimate yet uneasy world, with great supporting performances all round -- particularly in Dornan, whose turn as Megan is smart, knowing, and beyond her years, leaning into the theme of reincarnation and older souls. Unfortunately the twist ending leaves things feeling a little flat. Coming and going far too quickly, it results in lingering questions that serve to break the spell in a way that doesn't quite pay off.
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.