A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Movie explores faith-based Christian themes such as love of one's neighbor, forgiveness, and helping the poor.
Positive Role Models
Lead character finds faith, fun, and camaraderie in a church group, even as he's secretly filming a "hit job" documentary on them. Characters have their faults, understand this, and use their faith to be better people. Some diversity.
Violence & Scariness
In Guatemala, a man is on the verge of raping a girl who has been forced into sex slavery; the man is stopped but not before there's a fist fight. Talk of how a gang engages in killing, rape, and forcing girls into prostitution. A man pistol-whips another man, then points it at his head, on the verge of shooting him. Lead character's neighbor has an assault rifle, talks about hunting rabbits and going to the shooting range where they just got a shipment of targets that look like, in his words, "Obama bin Laden." A mother gives birth to a stillborn child.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Implied that a producer is having an affair with a much younger intern.
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Products & Purchases
LaCroix can shown, asked for by name.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Character chews tobacco. Jokes about huffing kerosene. Shot drinking. Champagne drinking. Beer drinking. Wine drinking, mild drunkenness. Talk of owing someone a beer. In flashback scene, woman leaves the room with her cigarettes, announcing she's going to go smoke (not shown).
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Small Group is a 2018 faith-based drama in which a documentary filmmaker is sent to infiltrate a small church group. Unlike some faith-based movies, this drama doesn't sugarcoat or gloss over mature content. A mother gives birth to a stillborn child. While in Guatemala, characters witness and stop the near-rape of a girl sold into sex slavery. A character is pistol-whipped, and then the gun is pointed at his head. The characters are flawed, know that they're flawed, and try to use church and the Bible to improve themselves, as opposed to using religion as a weapon to judge others and act sanctimonious. A neighbor chews tobacco, walks around with an assault rifle, and talks about going to the shooting range where new targets that look like "Obama bin Laden" have arrived. Wine, beer, champagne, shot drinking. Implied cigarette smoking in a flashback scene (not shown). Some humor concerning huffing kerosene, riding the "short bus," and flatulence. 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 so much better than many faith-based movies, which can sometimes feel heavy-handed and preachy to nonbelievers. The actors here can actually act, and the dialogue feels natural. And perhaps the most surprising thing of all is that there are actually some genuinely funny moments to the movie, especially when the characters show that they can laugh at themselves and their world.
All of this should make Small Group an entertaining experience for faith-based viewers. Of course, that leads to the inevitable question: Will those who are not faith-based viewers enjoy this? While it's impossible to speak for such a vast and diverse audience, it's difficult to imagine this resonating with viewers very far beyond the movie night socials of the friendly neighborhood megachurch. For one thing, the movie observes and addresses some of the foibles of Bible study groups and those who participate in them, and there are a lot of inside jokes that may be unrelatable to the nonreligious. That said, Small Group is way above the curve, and faith-based families are certain to enjoy it.
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.