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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Few positive messages. Characters show perseverance and courage but often in ways that involve breaking the law and violence.
Positive Role Models
Edmond clearly loves his son, Ethan, and is willing to do anything in order to get home safe. But he has also been absent for much of his life, something he shows regret for, but that also expresses itself as jealously toward his ex-wife's new partner. He uses violence and torture to get information about his son's whereabouts. He also appears to be involved in some kind of criminal activity in his professional life, although this is never really explained. Edmond's ex-wife, Joan, has been there for Ethan throughout his life. She is devastated by his disappearance and other events in her personal life, but shows strength and courage in the aftermath.
The movie follows one man in his quest to find his missing son. As a result, any other characters are restricted to supporting roles. But even those roles lack diversity with no people of color and only one woman given any major screen time. There is a brief reference to a kid being potentially neurodiverse, but this is never explored or fully represented on-screen.
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Violence & Scariness
The story centers around the kidnapping of a child. An organized gang is revealed to be abducting kids as part of a sex trafficking ring. Characters are hit unconscious with punches and tools. Reference to a character having had their ribs fractured and their hip dislocated. One character is tied-up, threatened with a pair of scissors and a hammer, before having their foot burned with a blowtorch. Their charred foot is briefly seen. Kids are seen abducted and forced gas to keep them unconscious. Character is hit with a fire extinguisher off-screen. Someone is shot dead and another is shot in the shoulder leaving a bloody wound. This injury causes them to crash their car into a ditch. Reference to a miscarriage.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Reference to a couple starting a family. Some words of affection shared.
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Multiple uses of "f--k" and "f---ing." Also "s--t," "pr--k," and "oh my God."
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Products & Purchases
Cellphones feature heavily. In one scene, there are multiple references to Skype. In another, a character talks about building a successful company that has allowed a comfortable lifestyle and how they plan to build a lavish home. A kid is seen receiving presents on their birthday.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Two characters share a glass of whiskey together. One then downs a glass. A character is said to have taken some sleeping pills (Valium) off-screen. Another character accuses someone of being "high."
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that My Son is a British thriller about the abduction of a seven-year-old boy and his parents' desperate attempt to find him. There are moments of violence, including a torture scene, references to child sexual abuse, and frequent strong language. James McAvoy and Claire Foy play Edmond and Joan, the divorced parents of the missing child. McAvoy is in nearly every scene and was tasked with improvising his lines having not been given a script. There are few, if any, positive messages or role models. As Edmond gets increasingly desperate, he resorts to more extreme measures. This includes torturing someone by using a blowtorch on their bare foot. He also puts another man in hospital -- leaving them with broken ribs and a dislocated hip -- and uses improvised weapons to knock people unconscious. In one pivotal scene, gun shots are fired resulting in one man's death and another with a bloody wound in the shoulder. Kids are shown abducted and having gas forced on them in order to keep them unconscious. Reference to a miscarriage. Swearing is frequent and includes variants of "f--k," as well as "s--t" and "pr--k." Two characters share a glass of whiskey together before one downs another glass. Joan also takes sleeping pills, although this happens off-screen. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
The most notable aspect of this British abduction thriller is the fact that its leading actor was given no script and only had a brief outline of how the plot would play out. Sadly it also proves to be My Son's downfall. McAvoy's performance as Edmond -- the increasingly desperate father in search of his missing son -- is admirable, as was his decision to take on such an unconventional role. But it's also distracting, rather than realistic, which was presumably what writer and director Christian Carion was hoping for with this British remake of his own French film, Mon Garçon.
As Edmond bounces from one scene to the next, reacting to each clue one of his fellow characters may, or may not, send his way, the lack of structure makes for a confusing watch. By the end credits, questions that had been asked and story arcs that had been set up, remain unanswered and underdeveloped. The result is what feels like a mishmash of unfinished movies, when what was really desired was just a fully-functional one.
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.