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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
The movie's message isn't entirely easy to nail down, but it will launch some good discussions. One theme is about the debate between farms staying true to their roots or giving in and accepting cash from a corporation. Another theme is about whether a person should remain loyal to the corporation for which he works -- or do the right thing.
Positive Role Models
Steve is highly imperfect, but he learns many lessons. He works for a huge company and believes he's doing the right thing, but eventually he learns that there may be other answers just as valid. Eventually he comes to a crossroads wherein he must decide between his job and telling the truth.
Violence & Scariness
A brief fight in a bar; the character sustains some minor wounds to the face.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Two adults flirt and go on a date.
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"F--k" is used many times. Other words include "suck it," "a--hole," "hell," "s--t," "hell," "a--hole," "damn," "oh my God," "goddamn," and more.
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Products & Purchases
A Pepsi machine is shown. A pack of Trident gum is shown. The main character has a Hewlett-Packard (HP) computer.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
The main character has a night of strong drinking (beer and shots) and wakes up, hung over, in a comical way. He keeps returning to the bar for more drinks throughout the movie, but a drinking problem isn't implied.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Promised Land is a drama about big companies and farming communities, big money, and environmental troubles that's rated R primarily for strong language (including several uses of "f--k"). It's told through two main characters: a well-meaning company man and a grass-roots activist, neither of whom are what they seem. It's a movie filled with issues and ideas, and it would make for good discussions with teens. In addition to the swearing, there's a scene with strong drinking (followed by a hangover), as well as one fight, some flirting, and a little product placement. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
A unique group of talents came together for this issue movie. Acclaimed author Dave Eggers wrote the original story, and actors Damon and Krasinski wrote the screenplay. Gus Van Sant directed, 15 years after directing another Damon screenplay, Good Will Hunting. The result is pleasantly low-key and never seems preachy or angry. But PROMISED LAND also raises more issues than it can reasonably tackle.
Specifically, it brings up the complex question of what farmers are supposed to do in such a terrible economy; should they risk damaging the environment in exchange for financial security? Yet Promised Land turns its focus to Steve's personal journey and resolves that, leaving the farmers on their own. Van Sant gives this one a more cursory touch than usual, recalling Good Will Hunting and Finding Forrester. But the well-rounded characters -- especially McDormand's -- make it enjoyable along the way.
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.