Parents' Guide to

The Forgiven

By Alistair Lawrence, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 16+

Dark, comic morality tale has language, drugs, adult themes.

Movie R 2022 117 minutes
The Forgiven movie poster

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 17+

Based on 2 parent reviews

age 17+

The Forgiven - or are they?

It’s difficult to know what writer/director (John Michael McDonough) was trying to convey with this production. It’s about a group of highly unlikeable (in fact totally despicable) privileged whites, gathering together for a grossly decadent ‘party’ in a most unlikely isolated semi-palace in the middle of the Moroccan desert. With scant knowledge about the hosts or their guests, we are simply expected to put up with their all too obviously unsubtle vulgar language and generally vile behavior, as they settle into a weekend of grotty debauchery. Drugs, booze, and sex are all part of the sleaze on offer while being attended to by local Moroccan servants -- all of who seem to view their employers and guests as worthless rubbish-- which the filmmakers go out of their way to demonstrate. The activities of these privileged whites are served up as gross sensationalism that’s bent toward manipulating our view of them as worthless - while all the Muslim servants are presented as angelic – that alone is conjuring up a theme of deliberate racial hatred for little reason other than the sake of it. Is this the sole point of this movie; is there nothing of any other purpose here? At one point a local teenager is killed in a somewhat careless accident, this produces the film’s best segment. The father of the boy (played with intensity by Ismael Kanater) requests the perpetrator to go with him while he buries his son, causing much anxiety, but the outcome of this can only be viewed as somewhat peculiar in the extreme. This could have been a modern classic with a more rounded and balanced script. The visual quality is evident and the cast clearly hand-picked, there’s an effective atmospheric music score courtesy of Lorne Balfe but how much of Lawrence Osborne’s novel remains within the screenplay (seems to have serious omissions) If the object of this project was to generate hatred for whites, it’s done its dirty job but will this help any of the worlds social relationships heal? I doubt it very much. Best Quote: from a Moroccan servant after witnessing a blatant act of adultery by a female guest; "A woman with no discretion is like a gold ring through a pigs snout” (no, not Moroccan wisdom, as this pic would have you believe but Proverbs 11:22.
age 17+

Adult themed not great for young family viewing but a good take on what consequences your actions will have when you do the wrong thing. Movie drags a lot

This movie is definitely not for children and has partial nude homosexual scene. Although some of the desert scenes were beautiful the movie was boring and dragged on. Most of the characters got what was coming to them! Really disappointed in this movie. Racial slurs.

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (2 ):
Kids say (1 ):

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.

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