A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Rams is an Australian dramedy with some upsetting scenes involving disease and the slaughter of sheep, including gunshots and dead animals. It centers on Colin (Sam Neill) and Les (Michael Caton), two estranged brothers who live on neighboring farms and compete to breed prize sheep -- and whose stubbornness prevents themselves from re-engaging. Guns are also shot to frighten people but never aimed directly at others. Strong language includes "s--t" and "bastard." Characters drink on several occasions, alcoholism is referenced, and Les gets visibly drunk and passes out. Bush fires are shown, and a character collapses from smoke inhalation. Sex is mainly mentioned in reference to sheep, though there's some innuendo, and a scene shows two sheep mating. Overall, this is a mild and heartwarming movie, although the more adult themes and moments of peril may be too much for younger kids.
What's the story?
In RAMS, brothers Colin (Sam Neill) and Les (Michael Caton) breed sheep on neighboring farms, yet have grown to despise each other over the years. They compete in an annual ram-judging contest, but when Colin suspects Les's prize ram of contracting a deadly disease, it puts all the local sheep, and the livelihood of the local farmers, in jeopardy. As they try to find ways to survive the disaster, the answer may be closer to home than they realize.
Is it any good?
As much a study of the trappings of masculinity, and the struggles between tradition and progress, as it is about sheep, this is a gentle comedy drama with a surprisingly big heart. Adapted from the 2015 Icelandic film of the same name -- which itself received many plaudits -- Rams could easily have wandered into farce and slapstick. But thankfully it avoids these trappings, maintaining a light tone, while offering something a little deeper from its characters.
Neill, who regularly shares photos of his real-life farm on social media, is ideally cast as the calm, loving breeder, who reminds his "girls" how beautiful they are and gives his ram brotherly pep talks. He's the antithesis of Caton's alcoholic recluse, whose temper is expressed in bullet-fueled tirades and a "get off my lawn" mentality. The pair are like repelling magnets, the emotional distance between them forever undermined by their close proximity and the unspoken connection of underlying similarity -- a strong force that continues to pull them in each other's direction. It's a tension that can never be overcome without acknowledging their place in each other's past and the inevitable role they must play in rebuilding themselves and their futures.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the relationship between Colin and Les in Rams. What are the similarities and differences between the two main characters? What is the importance of communication in rebuilding their relationship? Thinking about you own relationships with your siblings, when have you managed to overcome an issue by talking it through?
Discuss some of the language used in the movie. Did it seem necessary or excessive? What did it contribute to the movie?
How are the animals treated in the movie? Did you find any scenes upsetting?
- In theaters: February 5, 2021
- On DVD or streaming: February 5, 2021
- Cast: Sam Neill, Michael Caton, Miranda Richardson
- Director: Jeremy Sims
- Studio: Samuel Goldwyn Films
- Genre: Drama
- Topics: Horses and Farm Animals
- Character strengths: Communication, Teamwork
- Run time: 115 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG-13
- MPAA explanation: language
- Last updated: February 2, 2021
Our editors recommend
For kids who love offbeat movies
Find more movies that help kids build character.
Themes & Topics
Browse titles with similar subject matter.
Top advice and articles
Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.
Streaming options powered by JustWatch