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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Treat people humanely, and keep your family close. Not every woman is cut out for motherhood. Parents will often, but not always, do anything for the benefit of their kids. Childhood experiences can have long-term impacts and carry over as trauma.
Positive Role Models
Lou and Hannah both put their lives at risk for kidnapped child Vee. The local sheriff disobeys federal orders to help his townspeople and neighbors.
Main characters are White and Black.
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Violence & Scariness
Violence, suspense, and peril throughout. A person prepares to commit suicide by rifle. Stabbings, shootings, burns, bites, near-death situations, falls, bombs, and fights are shown up close. Some gory detail of blood and dead bodies is visualized. Footage and images of war are shown. A little girl is kidnapped and drugged to go to sleep. A woman describes her experience as the victim of domestic abuse, and she has scars on her arm. The animal world is Darwinian -- a broken butterfly must be killed, animals eat the carcasses of others or are left for dead.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
A man flirts with a woman he seems to be in a relationship with.
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"F--k," "s--t," "ass," "a--hole," "damn," "goddamn," "hell," "son of a bitch," "Jesus Christ," "coward," "gnarly."
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Products & Purchases
Ford, GMC, Girl Scouts, CIA, Special Armed Forces.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
A woman drinks liquor. A man mentions having been drunk with a woman.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Lou is a graphically violent and suspenseful thriller about two women attempting to rescue a child who has been kidnapped by her deranged father. Among the scary scenes are a person preparing to commit suicide by gun and skirmishes between people that result in stabbings, shootings, burns, bombs, and bites. Dead bodies are shown, as is a lot of blood, and two women face near-death situations. In conversation, people also describe or recall traumatic past experiences, including as a result of military or government work. Language includes "f--k," "s--t," "ass," "a--hole," "damn," "goddamn," "hell," "son of a bitch," and "Jesus Christ." 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 thriller is all about mood, and it's successful in building suspense through enigmatic characters, gory action, eerie music, and a rainy wooded setting. We're introduced to title character Lou from low angles and often within frames, making the statuesque Janney appear even more imposing, but also potentially boxed in. Details to explain this, and other characters' actions, are only slowly revealed, allowing the film to focus on action but keep the viewer curious about motivation. The constant rain infuses the Pacific Northwest setting with a damp, muddy greyness. Indigenous fauna is also used for effect, from a broken butterfly to predator birds and animals devouring other animals. Eerie music and regular thunderclaps add to the tension.
A film like this can succeed in ambiance but still fail if the actors aren't up to the job, which in this case requires emotional as well as physical performances. Janney brings gravitas to every role, and she's interestingly cast against type here as an irascible and fierce loner living alone in the woods with her dog. It's a role typically written for men (think Eastwood, Costner, or Neeson), but it has a uniquely female twist here (no spoilers). Smollett is also believable as a woman trying to escape her past and build a future for herself and her young daughter. The characters' backgrounds and the historical events alluded to in the film could have been exploited more, and some gratuitously violent scenes skipped.
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.