Father and child sit together smiling while looking at a smart phone.

Want more recommendations for your family?

Sign up for our weekly newsletter for entertainment inspiration

Parents' Guide to

South of Heaven

By Monique Jones, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 15+

Confusing drama has violence, uneven racial representation.

Movie NR 2021 120 minutes
South of Heaven Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

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

Community Reviews

age 14+

Based on 1 parent review

age 14+

Excellent Contemporary Thriller

“South Of Heaven” is tonally similar to other dramatic thrillers such as “No Country For Old Men” and “Hell Or High Water.” Parents who have seen either of those two films should have a worthy idea of what to expect from “South Of Heaven” as far as violent content is concerned. Compelling performances all-around from the entire cast, most notably Jason Sudeikis and Mike Colter.

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (1 ):
Kids say (1 ):

South of Heaven seems to want to be an introspective drama, but it's hard to figure out what kind of story it wants to tell. The two main male characters, Jimmy and Price, feel miscast to unintentionally hilarious effect. While Sudeikis does his best as Jimmy, it's hard to believe him as a convicted criminal. He just presents as too "safe" for someone who was incarcerated for 15 years. It's also hard to believe Colter as Price, a criminal who positions himself as a well-spoken, cultured businessman -- he seems too nice, too likable, and again, too safe, to be believable.

Lilly also does her best with Annie, Jimmy's long-suffering girlfriend, who has just been diagnosed with terminal lung cancer. While Lilly injects as much humanity into Annie as possible, the character is still a feminine cliché: She's presented as a saintly, perfect woman who seemingly gains purpose through supporting Jimmy through all of his mistakes, including ones she should have left him over. She just can't seem to catch a break, despite being the one character who really needs one. There's more introspection around Jimmy's angst over Annie's illness than there is for her own feelings. And yet she remains smiley and forgiving, in spite of the various emotional burdens placed on her life by both Jimmy and her illness. On top of this, the film has very odd character beats, including long, unintentionally hilarious monologues and a strangely acted kidnapping scenario in which the kidnappers (Jimmy and Price) become friends of sorts with their captives (Price's son Tommy, played extraordinarily well by the film's standout actor, Thaddeus J. Mixson, and Annie). These moments are meant to give viewers more insight into the characters, but they just come off as a script spinning its wheels while providing faux sentimentality. Overall, South of Heaven makes for a confusing watch.

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