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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Movie's final message is about how kindness could possibly bring us all together. Addresses racism, with many examples worth discussing.
Positive Role Models
No characters here are perfect/ideal role models. Some show courage in face of absolute despair but also realistically succumb to anger, sadness. Some White characters are racists (ordering others to pin a crime on a Black suspect, using racist slurs, etc.); others appear clueless about White privilege. A reporter is a "White savior" character.
Violence & Scariness
Verbal description of a young man sexually assaulting, hitting, kidnapping a young girl. Black characters are roughed up by police during questioning. One character punches another; bruise, cut lip. Character dies via suicide off-screen. Dead bodies half-shown. A woman describes a man being violent with her: "getting rough" and "going upside her head."
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
A couple dances and kisses passionately in a club. Married couple kisses. Minor sex-related talk.
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Extremely strong, constant language, with countless uses of "f--k," "bulls--t," "motherf----r," "s--t," "a--hole," the "N" word, "bitch," "ass," "damn," "hell," and "balls," plus "for Christ's sake."
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Social drinking in clubs, bars. Whiskey, beer. Main character smokes cigarettes.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Still Here is a drama about a kidnapped girl that addresses racism, the Black community's relationship with law enforcement, and other serious topics. There's a disturbing description of a young man sexually abusing, hitting, and kidnapping the missing girl, and a woman talks about being roughed up by a man. White cops assault Black suspects, and one man punches another, leaving a bruise and a cut lip. A character dies via suicide off-screen, and two dead bodies are partly shown. Language is extremely strong, with countless uses of "f--k," "s--t," and the "N" word. Characters drink (mostly whiskey and beer) in bars and clubs. A somewhat clueless newspaper reporter (whose character fits the "White savior" cliché) regularly smokes cigarettes. There's kissing, some of it pretty passionate, and sex-related talk. It's not exactly fully formed, but there's enough here to make for an interesting, discussion-worthy experience. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
While some aspects of this movie feel off the mark, others are spot-on, and the finished product, while not a particularly good mystery, at least becomes a decent, earnest social drama. The feature directing debut by Vlad Feier, Still Here relies on multiple characters with varied success. Perhaps the most troubling is Christian Baker, a "White savior" character who's remarkably clueless when it comes to communicating with the movie's Black characters. Eventually he writes about "kindness," which is a positive message, but he himself doesn't seem to have expressed any. (Whitworth also seems to be channeling Kurt Russell, with his mane of hair and raspy, murmuring delivery.) Detective Spaulding, meanwhile, is a White man who's shown being a good father and having a comfortable relationship with his Black partner, Evans -- but Spaulding is horribly racist and violent when dealing with Black suspects. And the Watsons are portrayed as a loving family who are proud but not naive about the realities of their world.
Despite some wobbly camerawork and awkward montages, the story itself is competently told, though it loses suspense by not introducing all of the key characters early. (Beetz has only one scene, late in the film.) The acting is fine across the board. At its best, Still Here could perhaps stimulate worthwhile conversations with the serious, sincere way it delivers its message.
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.