A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
A mother's love for her son is powerful. Fight injustice, don't let others take advantage of you, and stand up for what is right.
Positive Role Models
Lemon is determined, brave, and will fight until the end to make sure her son is safe.
Main character Lemon is a Black woman, and the rest of the primary cast is White.
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Violence & Scariness
Moments of strong violence, blood, and gore. Gun violence, some fighting, and scenes of people in peril and pain. A few chase scenes imperil a woman on the run. A woman finds a man's severed hands on the top of the hood of a car. A man with a shotgun shoots a man in the back (shown) and his body is shown with a gory hole in it. A woman with a shotgun shoots another woman in the chest (shown) and then in the head (not shown). A woman with a crowbar beats a man until he's dead. A man has his face and head burned off with an acid-like liquid (not shown, but the aftermath is shown). A man has acid-like liquid dripped onto his penis, and he screams in pain. A woman threatens to kill a woman and her young son and bury them next to each other. A woman has a dream of a growling animal tearing apart a dead man. A man is presumed dead after having bled out.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
A naked man (from behind) shows his bare buttocks, while he places his penis (not shown) onto a table.
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Strong language includes: "damn" and "hell."
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Some characters smoke cigarettes and cigarillos. A woman drinks a swig of alcohol from a flask.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that The Devil to Pay is a drama with moments of extreme violence, blood, and gore. This gritty tale is set in the Appalachian Mountains, where many people settled into their own communities, becoming self-sustaining and self-governing, living by their own set of laws and justice. But when a mother and her son are threatened by a powerful family, it's up to her to make sure they will be safe from persecution. There's a fair amount of gun violence, and many injuries people suffer are shown in detail. A few chase scenes imperil a woman on the run. A woman finds a man's severed hands on the top of the hood of a car. A woman with a crowbar beats a man until he's dead. A man has his face and head burned off with an acid-like liquid (not shown, but the aftermath is), and another man has the same acid-like liquid dripped onto his penis, and he screams in pain. Some brief male nudity (bare buttocks shown). Strong language includes infrequent use of "damn" and "hell." Some characters smoke cigarettes and cigarillos. A woman drinks a swig of alcohol from a flask. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
The performances are top notch in this dark and bleak drama. It's an entertaining watch, but there isn't much depth to The Devil to Pay, unfortunately. Even though it's easy to root for the main character, Lemon, and her adorable son, some viewers may take issue with the way the politics and cultures of Appalachian Mountain communities are so violently depicted. Thus, while the viewing is often riveting, there's an underlying sense of only a surface-level delving into life in the Appalachian Mountains. Because of this, some viewers might feel like the setting is at best used as a platform to educate people about the "brutality" of the Appalachian environment/community and at worst is merely a novelty used to warrant such a violent story and outcome.
The other issue is that pretty much the only solution to problems throughout the entire film is violence and extreme violence (killing). This reduces the complexity or depth that could have been mined, given the unique setting.
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.