A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
"I don't know if I'll get there but my people will." "No matter who you are, you are somebody." Anticipating an early and violent end, King lived as if each day could be his last. "Organize, baby, organize." The only way to redeem the soul of America is to remove racism.
Positive Role Models
King was a compassionate, empathetic, thoughtful leader with strong moral convictions about the need to end segregation and discrimination against people of color in housing, employment, education. He later included people of all colors in his quest to end poverty. He emphasized the need to make changes nonviolently. He didn't deny his flaws and human failings.
Violence & Scariness
King is shot in the face and killed. His body is seen in an open casket. Images of police beating peaceful Black protesters are shown, as are images of White supremacists and Nazis beating protesters. King and others are pelted with rocks as they march. A person is shot during a march. Images from the Vietnam War are also shown. In the wake of an overblown Red Scare that dominated American politics during the 1950s, King was accused of being a Communist. Nazi signage and imagery as well as Confederate flags are on display.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Violence & Scariness in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Sex, Romance & Nudity
In an abuse of power, the FBI, which called King "the most dangerous Negro in America" in its dossier, surveilled King and learned of his extramarital affairs, using the information to blackmail him into being less critical of the FBI.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Sex, Romance & Nudity in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
The "N" word, "f--k," "negro," and "damn."
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Language in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that the 2018 documentary King in the Wilderness looks back at Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s evolution as a nonviolent leader for civil rights and his role in the fight against poverty among all races in America. His commitment and sense of moral obligation to put himself in harm's way in the name of human rights makes him a model for the kind of grit and determination that many parents would want their kids to emulate. Friends and colleagues from the 1960s recount how he made difficult decisions and recount his certainty that, like Moses, he would lead his followers to the Promised Land, but sacrifice himself to get them there. Many suggest that much of the progress forged after his assassination in the areas of racial equality and awareness of poverty directly flow from his work. Language includes the "N" word, "f--k," "negro," and "damn," and disturbing newsreels of violence against peaceful Black protestors illustrate scenes that sadly echo acts of violence against unarmed Black people recently depicted in the news. King was shot in the face and killed in Memphis in 1968, and that day is described. His body is shown in an open casket. Nazi signage and imagery as well as Confederate flags are on display. King's extramarital affairs are mentioned. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
This is a comprehensive retrospective look at King and his influence through the eyes of friends and colleagues who were there, marching and pushing for change with him. King in the Wilderness makes the great looming historical figure human, emphasizing the difficulties King faced as he weighed the views of all stakeholders and still pushed ahead based on his sense of moral obligation to fight segregation and other inequalities nonviolently. In one example, a White woman spits in his face and he replies, "You are much too beautiful to be so mean." While today we may read sexist undertones into his response, the effect was humanizing and the woman later returned to apologize for being so rude.
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.