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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Seeking atonement for a loved one. Redeeming yourself. However, a lot of the movie concerns rich, arrogant characters who do not want to engage with those less fortunate or the outside world.
Positive Role Models
David and Jo Henninger, along with their expat friends are educated and intelligent, but also moneyed and entitled. Driss turns to crime as a means to seeking revenge.
Income inequality between rich expats and under-resourced, lower-income locals is highlighted and integral to the plot. Multiple languages spoken. Some expats display local knowledge, but also use non-inclusive language to judge and dismiss local culture. Multiple nationalities and religions across cast, although the main cast are mostly White and Western. Some female characters in lead and supporting roles. A gay male couple are among the main cast. One character discusses their cultural appropriation. Reference to swastikas in an anecdote.
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Violence & Scariness
Character brandishes gun, discusses using it out of necessity. Car crash and on-screen death. No blood or gore. One bloody injury. Dark-humored references to hanging, castration, rape, and dismemberment. Brief discussion of pedophilia. Anecdote about causing the death of small animals. Character's throat slit in movie footage. Brief but bloody injury. Character slapped in face. Brief slapping and choking as part of foreplay. Gunplay and shooting.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Full male nudity shown from the rear. Innuendo between characters. References to prostitution. Brief but graphic discussion of sexual acts. Kissing. Characters bathe and swim in bikinis. Rough kissing and petting. Oral sex implied but not shown.
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Language used includes "f--k," "f---ing," "f----rs," "bloody," "pissed," "s--t," and "c--t." Sexist terms used including, "shrill," "harpy," and "bitch." The term "Limey" is used to describe a British person and "Yank" to discuss a U.S. citizen. Homophobic term "f--gots" is used to describe a gay couple. Racist term "darkies" is also used. "Christ" as an exclamation.
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Products & Purchases
Rich expats live a luxurious lifestyle full of expensive parties and fine dining. Characters discuss bribery as a way of avoiding dealing with authorities, worry about losing their material possessions.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Character inhales from a bag. Possibly drug use. Characters drink socially and smoke cigarettes. References to one character being an alcoholic. One character over-indulges and wakes up with no memory of where they are, which is played for comic effect. Characters snort unidentified white powder at a party.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that The Forgiven is an excellent dramatic dark comedy about the aftermath of an accident in the Moroccan desert, and includes strong language, drug use, and adult themes. The story revolves around wealthy expat David Henninger (Ralph Fiennes), who hits and kills a young Moroccan boy when driving to an exclusive weekend getaway with his wife, Jo (Jessica Chastain). The Henningers and their expat friends, live cut off and wealthy existences, enjoying lavish lifestyles. They come across as selfish and unsympathetic. David also shows racist behavior, being dismissive and rude about the locals. Violence is mild but there are more serious examples of it referenced, including sexual assault and murder. Language is strong and features throughout with several instances of "f--k" and its variants, along with a couple of uses of "c--t." There is also some racist and misogynist language including terms such as "darkies" and "bitch." Characters drink, smoke, and are shown taking unspecified drugs as part of their hedonistic lifestyle. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
A meandering, two-hour tale of privileged expats in the Moroccan desert may not be to everyone's taste. But thankfully The Forgiven's unflinching look at the lives of superficial rich people has some hidden depths. The movie's excellent cast is led by Fiennes, whose miserable alcoholic Richard struggles to make up his mind about how he wants to face the aftermath of accidentally killing a young Moroccan boy who intended to rob him. His peers seem largely indifferent to his plight, with their dialogue more idle chit-chat than thoughts and advice on how he should deal with the boy's grieving family.
Screenwriter and director John Michael McDonagh adapted the movie from a novel by Lawrence Osborne. But McDonagh makes these characters his own, bringing them in line with the other self-centered bigots and rogues who feature in some of his other movies such as The Guard and Calvary. Like those films, The Forgiven also has the right amount of grim humor to make its players bearable -- and there's something like redemption at the end, albeit in the form of a twisted sting in the tale.
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.