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Parents' Guide to

Playing God

By Monique Jones, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 13+

Fascinating con drama promotes empathy; mature themes.

Movie NR 2021 95 minutes
Playing God Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

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

Community Reviews

age 12+

Based on 1 parent review

age 12+

Can’t Miss! Good can come from making mistakes.

Great movie! A couple of sibling con artists trying to make it big by deception: one is always looking for the next gig; the other is struggling with doing the right thing. And the backdrop of a man batting depression and heartbreak while trying to find answers to a deep loss he has experienced. The movie is shot entirely in Houston, which is a fresh change on the big screen. A couple of great plot twists to keep you captivated to the end; and it’s an end leaving you wanting more. Michael McKean and Alan Tudyk make their characters very believable. And the brother/sister combo are going to continue to make it big in future roles. I have to watch it again to put more of the pieces together. And I truly saw a valuable lesson about faith and doing the right thing in this movie. It’s family friendly, but might be a little mature for younger kids (under 12).

This title has:

Great messages

Is It Any Good?

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

Playing God is a stealth crowd-pleaser. Shot on location in Houston, it's both an entertaining dramedy about charismatic criminals plan a high-stakes con and a sly meditation on religion, spirituality, and grief. Kasulka and Benward might play twins, but they couldn't be farther apart in terms of characteristics. Both actors play their characters convincingly, with Kasulka the more compelling of the two. Her Rachel might be well-versed in cons, but she's clearly not cut out to be a career criminal. She has a ton of heart and kindness -- more than her brother, whose understanding of their family history has made him bitter and jaded. Their actual relationship with Ben, the grieving billionaire, shows the gulf of their differing philosophies on life.

McKean is able to explore both his comedic and dramatic chops as Frank, who has to develop a wise but mysterious, grandfatherly character for his interpretation of God. His take on God is both comforting and commanding, seemingly all-knowing while being emotionally opaque. Meanwhile, Frank, when he's not pretending to be God, is a lovable con who taught Rachel and Micah everything they know. McKean makes the impossible idea that God could show up wearing a three-piece suit seem somehow plausible. Overall, Playing God is a fun, entertaining film that also traverses the landscape of grief and examines how far that emotion will take us to try to find some relief, hope, and closure.

Movie Details

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