A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
No clear message, but one possible interpretation is that the movie challenges viewers to check and recheck their own judgments and expectations.
Positive Role Models
No clear role models here: Characters behave in ways that serve only themselves, and they do so as a necessity of the story. That said, while it might be easy to be appalled by Neil's behavior, by the end, viewers might find sympathy for him. Money is also a key factor in the movie: For some characters, money is very important; for others, not so much.
Takes place mostly in Mexico, but movie is mainly about a wealthy, privileged White man and his family. Latino characters who are included vary in depiction from criminal to kind. Berenice, who becomes Neil's lover for a time, remains somewhat mysterious and isn't fully fleshed out.
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Violence & Scariness
Two brief, strong scenes of violence. Shooting on freeway includes windows being shot out and dead bodies. Sudden, violent shooting on beach; gun, dead body shown. Blood in water. Character hit in the head with empty beer bottle. Character collapses, falls down stairs. A death in the family, funeral, etc., discussed. Caught fish still alive, gulping for oxygen. Dead pig in bloody puddle.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Full-frontal male nudity in prison shower. Graphic sex scenes, with thrusting, etc. Topless female in more than one scene. Viewers are meant to think that the main character is being unfaithful, but he's not.
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A few uses of "f--k" or "f---ing." Also "motherf----r," "a--hole."
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Characters drink liberally throughout: cocktails, beers, etc. Character adds extra booze to his drink. Drunkenness or hangovers are rarely depicted. Character takes prescription pill.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Sundown is a drama about a man (Tim Roth) who walks away from his family after a tragedy and starts a life of leisure on the beach in Mexico. It's a quiet, keenly-observed movie that's possibly meant to challenge viewers' perceptions and judgments. It includes two brief, violent shooting sequences, with guns, blood, and dead bodies shown. A man is hit in the head with a beer bottle, and someone collapses and falls down stairs. Death is discussed. There are graphic sex scenes, a topless woman is shown, and several fully naked men are seen in a prison shower. Language includes a few bursts of "f--k," "f---ing," and "motherf----r" and one "a--hole." Characters drink liberally throughout -- cocktails at first and then many, many beers -- but drunkenness and hangovers are rarely depicted. 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 quietly sharp, deeply observant movie is about human nature, both the characters' and the audience's. It plays with our judgment and preconceived notions with a confident, even-handed touch. Written and directed by Michel Franco, Sundown begins almost lazily, with scenes that seem unimportant. The family members sleep in the sun, swim, float in the pool, drink cocktails, etc. They eat dinner and argue about a game and try not to look at their phones. The trick here is that Franco wants us to assume what their actual relationship is, and it's likely that most will guess wrong. It's on us to keep checking and rechecking our assumptions and how they relate to what's actually happening.
The movie's opening scenes are merely a test for what comes later. Can we retain sympathy for Neil after he's run out on his family, avoided a funeral, and shirked his duties (even after Alice specifically asked him for help)? Can we retain sympathy for him as he begins to live a life of ease and pleasure? It helps to employ Ted Lasso's "Be curious, not judgmental." Perhaps Neil is dealing with some kind of fear surrounding death or funerals? Something else? Either way, Sundown keeps viewers on their toes, with a rhythm that both relaxes and shocks. It pulses and breathes. And Roth, who's in nearly every shot, gives a bold, measured performance that's one of his best.
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.