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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Don't jump to conclusions. Typical for whodunits, carries the message that you can't get away with murder.
The film revolves around an actual 1950s Agatha Christie stage production; contemporary actors play the real people performing it at the time. They are all White, but the cast also features a Black writer (who's also possibly gay) and his roommate/partner. An interracial relationship is a workplace romance with an uneven power dynamic. Main character is female; the challenges of women entering male-dominated fields is addressed. The most powerful character is Agatha Christie, an older woman who's one of the most successful and celebrated mystery authors of all time.
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Violence & Scariness
Shooting, strangling, dead bodies. Some blood, but it's not gory. Physical fighting with pushing and shoving. Close-up of victim's face in distress as they're being killed.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Kissing. Talk of infidelity.
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A couple of instances of "ass," "bastard," "goddammit," and "horses--t."
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Heavy drinking. A couple of characters are drunk, but it's not shown in a favorable light.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that See How They Run, which stars Saoirse Ronan, deconstructs the whodunit by creating a fictional murder mystery while filmmakers work to adapt an actual Agatha Christie play into a movie. It's a brilliant way of introducing the elements of writing a murder mystery. Expect violent moments: Strangling, shooting, and struggles are intense, and there's some blood. There's kissing and drinking (sometimes to excess); language includes "goddamn," "horses--t," and references to infidelity. It's set in the 1950s, and the cast of the play-within-the-film is all White, but filmmakers make nods to diversity in the form of a Black screenwriter, a mother taking on a career in a traditionally male field, and the suggestion of a gay relationship. Classic cinema fans will eat this one up like buttery popcorn, as the real cast of the 1953 West End production, including the likes of legendary actor Richard Attenborough, are made into characters/suspects. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
This is one of the cleverest murder mysteries to hit the big screen. That's because, as it tells you how a whodunit works while you're simultaneously trying to solve a whodunit, it makes your brain soar into super-active thinking. And yet, you'll still never guess who did it. The project's genesis stems from the realization of why one of Christie's most successful works -- the play The Mousetrap -- was never adapted into a film. Notable producer John Woolf (The African Queen, Oliver!) had secured the rights, but there was one limiting clause: "production can begin six months after the play closes." And it so happens that The Mousetrap has played in the West End continuously since 1952, so production has never been viable. Jumping off from that point, the film starts in 1953, shortly after the contract was signed, when those involved assumed it would eventually close. Woolf (Reece Shearsmith), his screenwriter, and his director are in London naively getting their pre-production underway, only to have the theater production interrupted by its own murder mystery.
Because of this setup, viewers will realize that the characters are intentionally "types," like "the world-weary detective" and "the female rookie." But they're made three-dimensional through fantastic writing, excellent performances, and top-notch direction and editing. Having real life icons Attenborough and Christie as characters adds to the fun, as well as to the mystery. Could a real-life famous actor be the killer? In many ways it feels like director Tom George has created the most exciting fan fiction of all time, a smart comedy, and a master class in creative writing all in one.
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.