Parents' Guide to

Last Survivors

By Tara McNamara, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 15+

Engrossing dystopian drama has violence, nudity.

Movie NR 2022 98 minutes
Last Survivors Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

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

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Get ready to be sucked into this scratchy dystopian thriller. It could be called Jake: Portrait of a Survivalist, à la '70s-era films like Dawn: Portrait of a Teenage Runaway and Sarah T: Portrait of a Teenage Alcoholic. Those movies were made as cautionary tales to teens, and, in an odd way, Last Survivors feels like one too. Similarly to a portrait, we see Jake clearly and brightly in the center, while everything around him is fuzzy. Then, as if the filter is slowly being lifted, the details surrounding Jake become clearer, until you're looking at an entirely different picture. And, post-apocalyptic stuff aside, this is really a story about a loving, trusting relationship between a dad and a son and how children see the world through their caregivers' eyes, as it's presented to them. You can interpret the movie on two different levels: for the story it presents -- which is pretty chewy -- or the metaphor it represents, and how that might apply to parents who are overprotective or insistent that their kids share their worldview.

Isolation is the movie's dominant theme, explored through its two older characters. Troy raised Jake in the woods without any other human contact; it was the only way he believed he could keep his son safe. When Jake must leave their remote compound, he spots Henrietta, who has chosen to live in self-isolation to escape the noisiness and confusion of the cities. The choices she makes defy any and all common sense, but if you can suspend your disbelief, the story's hazy edges start to clear. There's a May-December romance that might leave viewers examining their own biases but, again, have patience. They're all unexpected characters, and you're unlikely to have it all figured out, which is always refreshing. This indie isn't going to change lives, but for an evening of entertainment, it'll certainly give your family something to talk about.

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