Parents' Guide to

Something the Lord Made

By JK Sooja, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 15+

Black man becomes heart surgery pioneer; language, violence.

Movie NR 2004 110 minutes
Something the Lord Made Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 11+

Based on 1 parent review

age 11+

only one curse (n*gger)

I loved the movie there was only one curse which was n*gger the only scene close to violent was when they were doing surgery it is ok for ages 11 and up. but it is gory. but with the gore, it was only when they were doing surgery. fine for 11 yr olds

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say: (1 ):
Kids say: Not yet rated

Softly lit and deftly acted, this drama is a fine recuperation of an important historical figure who pioneered cardiac surgery and modern surgery techniques. Vivien Thomas may not enjoy appropriate credit for his contributions to the world, but Something the Lord Made tries to help change that by attributing most of the genius behind the world's first heart surgery to him and not the surgeon who performed the surgery, Dr. Alfred Blalock.

A nominee of dozens of awards, including many Emmy nominations, this television movie succeeds in the end largely because it mainly focuses on Thomas instead of Blalock (as a White hero/savior). He also isn't set up as a "White man who learns to overcome his racism," which is a plus. But the movie could've gone further in depicting the complexity of Dr. Alfred Blalock as someone not merely "not as racist" as everyone else. Indeed, before dying Blalock admits to "having regrets," but that's it. Instead of regrets, Blalock could've been defiant and not regretful at all, which might have made the story feel more accurate. Clearly, the film doesn't want to make a villain out of Blalock, whose portrait hangs influentially on the walls of Johns Hopkins (as does Thomas's), but lots of little representations like these make this film's recreation of 1940s America feel incredibly tepid, as Thomas surely historically endured much worse than what is shown here. Thomas's work, innovations, and brilliance saved and continues to save millions of lives, and it's a shame he isn't more widely recognized.

Movie Details

Inclusion information powered by

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.

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