In the Name of God

Movie review by
Andrea Beach, Common Sense Media
In the Name of God Movie Poster Image
Faith-based messages instruct more than entertain.
  • PG
  • 2013
  • 86 minutes

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age 9+
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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

Showing reverence for God means being respectful of God and others by following the Ten Commandments. Trust and respect have to be earned, both by the people you give them to and by yourself so others trust and respect you. Just because something's difficult doesn't mean it's not worth doing. Things that seem outdated can still be relevant.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Mason is a troubled 17-year-old who's mostly rude and selfish; at one point he spray-paints the building of a store owner he's mad at. Eventually he starts to see the error of his ways and turn his life around to see the benefits of showing respect to others. The foster family who takes Mason in is strict but supportive and refuses to give up on Mason. His case worker is caring and always available and comes whenever needed to help straighten Mason out. Foster brother Nate, 14, is a bit resentful at first but quickly bonds with Mason and shows brotherly loyalty. He's very studious and obedient of his parents' rules.

Violence
Sex
Language
Consumerism

Teen characters use iPhones.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that In the Name of God presents faith-based messages aimed at tweens and teens about how showing respect for others and God is an important way of revering God and a way to earn the respect of others. The content is appropriate for all ages, but younger kids won't relate to the problems of a 17-year-old foster kid. All other characters offer strong role models of caring, spiritual guidance, parental involvement, family loyalty, and persevering when things are hard.

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What's the story?

Seventeen-year-old Mason (Patrick Davis) has been in and out of foster homes for years. On his first day with a new family, he sneaks out and vandalizes a neighborhood store. Now his bad behavior has him one mistake away from juvenile detention. The new foster family surprises him with their refusal to give up on him and their determination to help him find the right path. But once he finds the right path, will he take the first steps?

Is it any good?

IN THE NAME OF GOD conveys an important message to teens about being respectful of others but misses a chance to really drive it home by example. Instead, it merely repeats ad nauseam the command to "show some respect." It's even framed as a sermon. Aside from the importance of God as a topic, the only attempt to convey any real depth to the script's message consists of reaction shots of thoughtful nodding. The story fails to develop and instead has Mason reach the epiphany you know is coming with nothing in between to show how he got there. The best that can be said of the acting is that some of it's not bad; unfortunately, most of it is. The filmmakers manage to keep the movie squeaky-clean but in doing so don't give the audience anything to latch onto. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the importance of showing respect for one another. Do you think it's important enough to be the theme of an entire movie? Why, or why not?

  • The group-therapy leader says that many societies' laws are based on the Ten Commandments. What about societies that have never heard of the Ten Commandments? What laws do you think we have in common with them, and why?

  • Mason just needed someone to believe in him and give him a second chance. Have you ever needed, or given, a second chance? What happened?

Movie details

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