A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
The movie's main theme is revenge at any cost.
Positive Role Models
Although the characters are likable and have decent tendencies, they're all fairly ruthless/inflexible in their quest for either revenge or power.
Violence & Scariness
Men are hanged by the neck, with struggling, choking sounds. Guns and shooting. Characters are shot, with blood sprays. Characters beat and punch others. Digging bullet out of a wound. Cauterizing wound with hot metal. Killing rattlesnake.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Married couple hugs, kisses briefly.
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A use of "f--k," plus "s--t," "ass," "bitch," "damn," "goddamn."
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Secondary character has a drinking problem. He drinks heavily and is shown drunk.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that The Ballad of Lefty Brown is a revenge Western that focuses on a sidekick character, rather than a more traditional hero. Violence is the main issue. The movie has guns and shooting; characters are shot and killed, with blood spurts. People are also hung by the neck, with struggling and choking sounds. One man beats another mercilessly while questioning him, a bullet is dug out of a wound, the wound is cauterized with hot metal, and a rattlesnake is killed. Language is infrequent but includes a use of "f--k," plus "s--t," "bitch," etc. A secondary character has a drinking problem; he falls off the wagon and is shown drunk. A married couple hugs and kisses briefly. This is an extremely well-made movie that shows a deep appreciation and love for the genre, but it probably won't win over any non-Western fans. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
Writer/director Jared Moshe clearly loves and appreciates the Western genre, and here he's created one that's not only classical, skillful, and unpretentious but a fresh angle on an old story. Moshe finds surprising nuance by giving the spotlight to the traditional "sidekick" character, especially given the casting of the reliable character actor Pullman in a rare leading role. He gives a truly great performance, emphasizing slowness and a certain kind of prairie wisdom, completely disappearing inside his role. His Lefty Brown doesn't quite know how to handle things in civilization -- he even fights with a fence post in one scene -- and he isn't very good with rules, but he's perfectly at home while out on the range.
Moshe, shooting on real film stock, captures a lot of beautiful outdoor imagery in The Ballad of Lefty Brown, often framing characters against gorgeous overcast skies, with light beaming through at odd angles. He understands how to use landscape, trees, rocks, and even tall weeds for dramatic effect; he also understands all the rhythms of the great Westerns. As a result, his storytelling is rock solid, and the movie stays gripping and moving throughout. In the traditional (now smaller) hero role, Fonda brings a touch of grizzled grace, and Baker is wonderful as his feisty wife.
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.