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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Try your best. It's never too late to straighten out your life. Appreciate what others do for you, even if what they do isn't ultimately all that helpful.
Positive Role Models
Anthony is only 8 but, out of love and compassion, he feels that he must take care of his father. He demonstrates fierce emotional strength and courage. His father loves Anthony and does his best to kick his alcohol habit in order to be with him. A boy lies and tries to steal some tools. Anthony's parents are divorced, but when Anthony's mother sees how hard her ex-husband is trying to stay sober and to be a good father, she displays kindness and empathy.
Violence & Scariness
Two men punch another when something is stolen. A man pulls a gun on Walt when he accuses him of stealing his tools but puts it down when he sees Walt is no real threat.
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Infrequent use of words including "s--ty," "ass," "puss," "go fish yourself," "screwed up."
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Walt is an alcoholic going through withdrawal. A minor character admits he uses "meth." A boy matter-of-factly refers to his "passed out" dad.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that The Confirmation is a serious film that deals with the struggles of an out-of-work, alcoholic deadbeat dad (Clive Owen) who's desperately fighting to remain sober so he can stay in his 8-year-old son's life. The boy, who watches his father succumb to alcohol withdrawal while his mom is away for a weekend, takes charge of his father's care, even though he barely understands what's going on. A sense that the boy might not be safe in the dad's company quickly gives way to an ultimately hopeful story about the father's commitment to gradual redemption, one human step at a time; his journey includes themes of empathy, courage, and kindness. That said, although the dad eventually becomes more responsible, his lapses in judgment include trying to steal back some stolen property and calling his ex-wife's new husband a "puss." Other language includes infrequent use of words like "s--tty" and "ass," and there are scenes involving punching and a gun being pulled. Reference to a character using drugs. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
Parts of this movie are grim, sad, and difficult to watch, but the filmmakers skillfully find humor and resolution as Walt and Anthony find their way toward each other. Nobody is perfect in The Confirmation, and that may be the point. The bright and somewhat literal-minded boy (a riveting performance by Lieberher) questions all assumptions, which makes for amusing and well-written dialogue. Sent to confession with an annoyed priest, he bridles when the priest calls him "son." "I'm not your son," the boy replies, stating a fact without a hint of snark. In another scene, Walt and Anthony watch a TV show in which a son asks his father, "What's a hussy?" and the father feebly attempts to reply without any sexual references, which just confuses the boy more. One of the movie's earnest themes is to illustrate the way adults try to explain the nearly inexplicable complexities of a grown-up world without destroying a child's innocence.
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.