Parents' Guide to

Percy vs Goliath

By Tara McNamara, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 10+

Drama about farmer's battle against GMO reaps confusion.

Movie PG-13 2021 99 minutes
Percy vs Goliath Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

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

Community Reviews

age 15+

Based on 1 parent review

age 15+

Percy Vs Goliath – By My Word I Stand

It’s good to see the usually difficult to like Christopher Walken taking a role that shows he can be more human. Here he drops most of his intensely bullish traits to bring life to a man of the earth and does so quite well. With a string of movies about corporate greed or corruption this one can’t bring all that much new to the genre (after all, it is a genre) I have not seen the documentary about this case but it felt like this production was at least attempting to bring a documentary style to this telling. While there are serious doubts surrounding the ethics of so-called not for profit activists groups, who too often tend to be more in line with political manipulation than the good of mankind, Christina Ricci injects her group member’s character with a reasonable amount of believability. The rest of the cast work hard to create a pleasing outcome and while it’s a slow-moving story it’s filled with hope, that at times, right can defeat might - even if not all the outcomes are as desired. Production values are high with locations being well used - this is good of its type even though some of the truth might be fiddled somewhat. Probably might prove to slow for most average children

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say: (1):
Kids say: Not yet rated

In trying to stay out of the weedy details of patent law, farming practices, and biodiversity, director Clark Johnson only creates more confusion in telling Schmeiser's story. As a viewer, it's baffling: Why would a corporation sue potential customers and risk turning off other potential customers? Even more baffling is why courts would agree that Monsanto owned the rights to a crop if seeds were accidentally cross-pollinated through the wind. Writers Garfield Lindsay Miller and Hilary Pryor fail to make clear that Monsanto's "marketing practice" was to blackmail farmers, knowing that their genetically modified product would contaminate crops at neighboring farms, at which point the pesticide-resistant "gene" would overpower the naturally grown yield. Monsanto would make an outrageous financial claim with the threat of legal action, and farmers without the resources to fight would settle by contracting to buy the company's seeds in the future and pay a licensing fee.

The scenes in Percy vs Goliath are choppy, with no time given to help viewers truly understand who Schmeiser and his wife were as people and their role in the community beyond making pies for a local fair. The supporting characters, an activist publicist and a small-town trial lawyer, are one-dimensional despite seasoned actors Christina Ricci and Zach Braff giving the parts their all. And it's hard to dismiss the nagging question of why a Saskatchewan farmer has a New York accent (you can take Walken out of New York, but you can't take New York out of Walken). Still, there's much to take away from this drama, including the far-reaching results of standing up for yourself. And for those interested in how we keep nature natural in an age of biotechnology, the movie provides a jumping-off point to inspire young viewers to ask key questions. Schmeiser definitely earned his spot as an icon for farmers' rights, but Percy vs Goliath shares only a grain of his phenomenal story.

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