Kindred

Movie review by
Stefan Pape, Common Sense Media
Kindred Movie Poster Image
Chilling psychological thriller has some gore and language.
  • NR
  • 2020
  • 101 minutes

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A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

The movie centers on the manipulation of a pregnant character, and the exploitation of their vulnerable state. In the face of this adversity, courage is displayed. Mental illness is discussed openly.

Positive Role Models

Charlotte is a good-natured and strong-willed woman. She is forced into questioning her own state of mind, but remains as level-headed as one could in the circumstances, all the while caring for her unborn child. She has come from a difficult background and shows strength and courage in her will to succeed in life. Margaret is overbearing and manipulative. Thomas also shows a manipulative side, working together with Margaret.

Violence

After being attacked by a horse, a character's limp body and bloodied face are shown. When their partner puts pressure on the wound, they are left with blood all over their hands. A scuffle results in someone pushing an older, disabled person by to the ground. A character is forcefully carried into a house against their will. Character picks up a knife with intent to use it. A self-inflicted wound is depicted -- blood is shown running down their legs. A character later admits to drugging someone. A car-crash, although nobody is killed in the accident. Reference to a murder. A character considers an abortion.

Sex
Language

"F--k" is used on occasions, including the sentence "Jesus f--king Christ." Slang language used in reference to a vagina.

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Character drinks during the daytime. Characters also drink wine at the dinner table. A pregnant character smokes and downs a drink in a bar when in shock. Reference to an alcoholic parent who would beat their child, and how how this led to a violent altercation and subsequent murder. Someone is drugged without their knowledge.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Kindred is an excellent but chilling psychological thriller that places the viewer in the head of a troubled protagonist, never quite knowing who, or what, to trust. While visiting her boyfriend's family, Charlotte (Tamara Lawrence) suffers a tragedy when her boyfriend dies in an accident. Pregnant and grieving for her partner, she becomes increasingly wary of the intentions of her deceased boyfriend's mother, Margaret (Fiona Shaw) and family friend Thomas (Jack Lowden). The movie offers little by way of positive messages as it seems every character is complicit in trying to manipulate Charlotte. She however, remains strong, and while flawed, is determined to overcome these adversaries. Though there's little actual violence, there is some blood shed, following a horse attack, and also from a self-inflicted knife wound. There is also a car crash scene, and characters discuss a murder that took place some time ago. movie film briefly touches upon the theme of abortion with Charlotte contemplating having one. The language is strong, but infrequent, including variants of "f--k." Characters drink alcohol, including a pregnant woman who is also seen smoking a cigarette.

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What's the story?

KINDRED delves into the life of Charlotte (Tamara Lawrence) who is visiting her boyfriend's mother, Margaret (Fiona Shaw) and family friend Thomas (Jack Lowden) at their country abode. With plans to relocate to Australia, and with a baby on the way, Charlotte is shocked when her boyfriend is killed in a freak accident with a horse, leaving her to fend for herself while pregnant, and with the family he leaves behind curiously obsessed with her every move.

Is it any good?

Kindred is a compelling thriller that plays gloriously on the notion of trust -- or lack thereof. The lead character of Charlotte, brought to life brilliantly by Lawrence, is that archetypal lead in a film of this nature, manipulated, and vitally, never knowing who to believe, and that includes herself. Pregnant and emotionally vulnerable, she becomes convinced that her recently dead boyfriend's family is trying to control both her and her unborn baby. This creates a mysterious, unsettling atmosphere, as like the sympathetic Charlotte, we don't know what we can and can't believe.

Yet while conventional at times in playing up to the beats of the genre, it's a unique movie, and utilizes its remote setting to great effect. The ensemble are what make this though, as joining Lawrence is the always-excellent Shaw, and Lowden who turns in a fantastic display as a character you wouldn't trust as far as you could throw him.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about whether Kindred is scary? Which bits did you find unsettling? How do psychological horrors like this compare to other horror moviesAt what age can my teen watch horror movies?

  • There are a couple of gory sequences that show bloodshed -- how did this make you feel? What's the impact of media violence on kids?

  • Talk about the strong language in the movie. Does it seem necessary or excessive? What does it contribute to the movie?

  • Discuss the character of Charlotte. What character strengths does she display?

  • Charlotte talks about her mother's mental illness and concedes she too may be suffering from paranoia and anxiety. How vital is it people open up and talk about mental health?

Movie details

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For kids who love thrillers

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