Parents' Guide to

Murder to Mercy: The Cyntoia Brown Story

By Barbara Shulgasser-Parker, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 15+

Docu about teen sentenced to jail; mature themes, violence.

Movie NR 2020 96 minutes
Murder to Mercy: The Cyntoia Brown Story Poster Image

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The movie is a clear-eyed rebuke to any justice system that doesn't take into account inter-generational, repeating cycles of abuse in families. Murder to Mercy: The Cyntoia Brown Story underscores the way that the 16 -year-old Cyntoia bore little resemblance to a normal 16-year-old, yet she was treated as if she were one by police, prosecutors, judges, and appeals boards for more than a decade. Psychologists observed in her a pattern of mood swings, depression, paranoia, faulty impulse control, and drug use, and documented that she'd been trafficked by an adult pimp, although the courts had originally categorized her as a prostitute. The documentary applauds all those who stood up for her right to be seen as a person damaged from before birth, who was nevertheless fully willing to take responsibility for her actions while still asking for a second chance.

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