Say Your Prayers
By Tom Cassidy,
Common Sense Media Reviewer
Common Sense Media Reviewers
British dark comedy thriller has violence, strong language.
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Few positive messages as characters use violence and even kill in the name of religion. Racist assumptions made. Some kindness shown.
Positive Role Models
Brothers, and devout Christians, Tim and Vic were brought up by a corrupt priest. They are told to assassinate an atheist author to defend their faith and become famous martyrs. The brothers kill a man. Vic swears and is aggressive toward people who use religious words in conversation. Tim is plagued with guilt about the murder and questions his orders. They have a strong brotherly bond and care about each other. DCI Brough is a chain-smoking, sweary female detective who makes racist assumptions. Bill Huxley is an arrogant author trying to take down religion.
Violence & Scariness
Someone is grabbed, beaten up, and thrown off a cliff. Two people are shot -- one of which is a quick but features a bloody headshot. A character regularly flies into a rage and threatens strangers. A corrupt and intimidating priest grabs someone's hair and slaps their face. Two characters fight and one gets a bloody nose. Two flippant remarks about sexual violence and child trafficking.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Violence & Scariness in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Sex, Romance & Nudity
Character is seen masturbating from behind.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Sex, Romance & Nudity in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Frequent language includes "f--k," "f--king," "a--hole," "d--k," "bloody," "s--t," "pr--k," "bollocks," and British curse words such as "wanker" and "twat." Derogatory terms "spaz" and "retard" used.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Language in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Products & Purchases
A popular British coffee shop chain is depicted.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Character drinks alcohol in a pub. Police officer smokes cigarettes while on duty.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Drinking, Drugs & Smoking in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Say Your Prayers is a British dark comedy about religious fundamentalists plotting to murder an atheist author, and includes violent scenes and plenty of strong language. The movie cleverly adapts well-known thriller roles, with a pair of Christian brothers as hit men, Vic (Tom Brooke) and Tim (Harry Melling), and a chillingly corrupt priest, Father Enoch (Derek Jacobi) as the crime boss. The brothers are depicted as victims of an intentionally dangerous upbringing. But despite this sympathetic portrayal, there are few if any positive messages to be taken. The movie isn't anti-religion, it instead effectively highlights how all institutions can fail people if run by corrupt figureheads. Though occasional, the violence is strong, including murder and a bloody headshot. There is frequent strong language, including variants of "f--k," British slang -- "wanker" and "twat" -- and two disability slurs. Characters, including a police woman, make wrong assumptions based on racial prejudices.
To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Where to Watch
Videos and Photos
Say Your Prayers
There aren't any parent reviews yet. Be the first to review this title.
What's the Story?
In SAY YOUR PRAYERS, Christian brothers Vic (Tom Brooke) and Tim (Harry Melling) are on a mission to kill an atheist author after being ordered to do so by a corrupt priest. But a case of mistaken identity sparks a race against time as the police close in on the brothers.
Is It Any Good?
More accurate and far sharper than its two hit men brothers, this impressive satire hits every mark it aims for. Say Your Prayers is full of dry British humor, which never falls flat, and the emotional moments have a thought-provoking effect. The brotherly bond between Vic and Tim is masterfully played -- tragic characters rather than plainly evil killers. Indeed the movie's a masterclass in replacing well-worn crime thriller tropes with unexpected replacements. Derek Jacobi's priest, Father Enoch, is particularly chilling as the kingpin pulling the strings. Meanwhile, Anna Maxwell Martin as the very sweary, chain-smoking hard-boiled police detective is as charmingly crass as she is unlikable.
From the surprising characters and location to the male choir that stands in key scenes to provide the soundtrack, there is nothing typical about this movie. Yet despite this, the movie functions perfectly as a tense thriller, with pacing to match. It also never condemns either side of the religious argument, taking down instead anyone who uses power for personal gain. Say Your Prayers is inventive, effective, surprising, and rich with things to discuss once the lean 85 minutes have flown by.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about the strong language in Say Your Prayers. Did it seem necessary or excessive? What did it contribute to the movie?
Discuss the violence in the movie. Was it shocking or thrilling? Did the fact that the movie had comedic elements impact how you felt about those scenes? If so, why? Does exposure to violent media desensitize kids to violence?
Do you think all subjects are ok to satirize or should some things, such as religion, not be joked about? What use does satire serve?
Discuss the characters of Vic and Tim. Why were they so determined to defend their beliefs and cause harm to others? Why is it important that we accept and respect that other people may have different views and beliefs to us?
- In theaters: April 2, 2021
- On DVD or streaming: April 2, 2021
- Cast: Harry Melling, Tom Brooke, Anna Maxwell Martin
- Director: Harry Michell
- Studio: Gravitas Ventures
- Genre: Comedy
- Run time: 84 minutes
- MPAA rating: NR
- Last updated: April 5, 2023
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.
Suggest an Update
Where to Watch
Our Editors Recommend
Best Satire Sites and Shows for Teens
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.See how we rate