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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
The plot concerns a real-life murder trial and its impact on a manipulated and vulnerable suspect.
Positive Role Models
Derek is a young man who is living with a number of health and developmental issues. He is easily manipulated and displays poor judgment, which often leads him into trouble. Derek's family love and care for him, despite his law-breaking and other indiscretions. Young petty criminals, such as Chris, display antisocial behavior, including property damage and public urination. Other characters are career criminals who steal, deceive, and take advantage of others.
Based on real characters, there is very little racial diversity among the cast and little gender balance. However, there is some neurodiversity with Derek shown to be living with epilepsy and other mental health conditions. Derek also experiences social anxiety. In the film, his mental well-being is diagnosed as "low intelligence," which is based on his real-life medical records.
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Violence & Scariness
Wartime bombings, which are said to have caused a character various medical issues. Characters sustain injuries that need to be bandaged including burn marks from fire and bloody injuries, but no gore. Dead bodies are seen. Guns are handled -- including by schoolchildren -- as well as fired. One character is shot dead. Schoolchild struck by teacher. Another is shoved and pushed by an adult. Scuffles with police offers. An unnecessary test for epilepsy induces mild trauma. One character carries knuckledusters and a dagger. A character is shown being hanged after being sentenced to death.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
A woman is objectified by some men. A character references being in many relationships with different partners.
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Language used includes "bloody hell," "s--t," "bleeder," "f--k," "f--king," "bollocks," and "bastard."
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Products & Purchases
Characters discuss getting a job partly to enable material gain and there are some scenes involving shopping trips. Criminal characters own expensive clothes, including outfits they give away because they have more than they need or use. They also steal for material gain.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Characters smoke cigarettes and drink alcohol socially. One character is seen drinking straight from a bottle.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Let Him Have It is a British drama about the real-life trial of Derek Bentley (Christopher Eccleston), who faced the death penalty under controversial circumstances. While Derek is generally kind and sympathetic, and cared for well by his family, he is led astray by a group of criminals. It is implied that Derek suffers from epilepsy and other health conditions caused by him being struck by falling masonry during a bombing raid in World War II. Violence is occasional but pivotal to the story, including the event that results in Derek's subsequent trial. Shots are fired -- including the death of a policeman -- and other fight scenes involve punches and kicks. While dead bodies feature, the injuries and deaths are bloody but not graphic. Spoiler alert: Derek is sentenced to death by hanging -- which is shown on-screen. Swearing is frequent, with criminal characters in particular using language such as "f--k" and "s--t" both out of anger but also to threaten and intimidate others. In keeping with the 1950s time period, a number of characters are seen smoking. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
A retelling of an infamous case from British legal history, this 1991 drama pivots around a trial that caused outrage at the time and led to lengthy years of campaigning in the decades that followed. Let Him Have It is equal parts legal drama and character study, and is led by an understated but thoughtful performance from Eccleston as Bentley, a murder suspect with diminished capabilities. However, Eccleston does appear slightly too old to play the 18-year-old Bentley, and like a lot of movies based on real events, the plot is slowed by the amount of key scenes needed to impart critical information.
In contrast, the transformation of fellow murder suspect, Christopher Craig, from a schoolboy with underworld links to a manic shooter, feels rushed, despite Paul Reynolds' best efforts to inject an unstable energy into the role. While uneven, Let Him Have It manages to remain watchable because of the controversial chain of events that it depicts. It's a valuable history lesson, but far from a classic.
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.