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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Reflects importance of having Child Protective Services work to keep families together, but also revolves around idea that when adults choose to engage in illegal activities, their children may pay the consequences.
Positive Role Models
Parker is a social worker who truly cares about the welfare and well-being of the kids he's charged with checking in on. But he also abuses substances and acts impulsively.
A female Black detective is a minor character. While star Olivia Munn is an AAPI actor, her character isn't identified as such and isn't necessarily positive. Lots of stereotypes: Mexican cartel, tattooed and menacing formerly incarcerated people, a single mom who needs saving.
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Violence & Scariness
Shoot-outs with many fatalities. Beatings, with blood. Graphic shot of fingers being chopped off. Domestic abuse. From afar, a man is seen striking a child multiple times. An annoying character is punched; it's implied that he deserves it, but there are consequences.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Women in lingerie engaged in sexual acts during a pornographic video shoot, seen from a distance. Bare breasts and backside. Crude references.
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Extremely strong language throughout includes "ass," "a--hole," "bitch," "d--k," "goddamn," "hell," "pr--k," "s--t," "t-tties," "whore," and frequent use of "f--k." Middle-finger gesture. Derogatory language toward ethnic groups and women ("Chinaman," "wop," "Guido" "banging her," "on the rag").
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Plot revolves around a drug heist. Main character is a chain-smoker with an alcohol dependency who uses drugs frequently, pays for goods at a convenience store with marijuana, is portrayed as a cool hero. Drugs are shown to help achieve a goal. People overdose.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that The Gateway is a very mature crime thriller about a social worker named Parker (Shea Whigham) who unknowingly gets in the middle of a drug heist. Drugs aren't depicted with judgment but more as a matter of life; at least once, they're used to buoy a character to an act of heroism. There's also a lot of drinking and cigarette smoking. Scenes of graphic violence include dismemberment, a massive shoot-out, and moments of domestic abuse. A scene in a trap house shows an assortment of vices, including a pornographic video shoot. Women's bare breasts and backside are shown. Characters use extremely strong profanity throughout, including "f--k" many, many times, as well as derogatory language. The main character drives around checking in on children's welfare, but he does it under the influence of drugs and alcohol. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
This gritty crime thriller is unequivocally for adults -- specifically, those who appreciate and empathize with former fighter-turned-child welfare officer Parker. His better years long gone, Parker is making too little money at a thankless job. He's trying to keep families together and, in return, those families treat him with irritation. To Parker, the world is upside down: When a co-worker makes inappropriate comments about one of Parker's charges, he handles it in a way that feels justified to him (and might have been looked upon sympathetically by certain groups/demographics in the past): He punches the guy right in his loud mouth. Of course, the modern world has a different view of his response. It's clear that he's meant to be a stand-in for people who feel like the rules have changed around them and wonder whether they still belong.
Beyond its extreme violence, the film's biggest issue for younger audiences is that Parker is positioned as the film's moral authority. He's the only one who cares, who sees the humanity in people dealing with tough situations, and he'll do anything to protect kids from growing up in the U.S. foster care system. That makes it all the more problematic that he drinks on the job and snorts drugs without a second thought. This is the guy deciding who is and isn't a suitable parent? The character intended to be seen as the film's villain -- paroled father Mike (Avery) -- accurately calls Parker out for having alcohol on his breath while checking up on his daughter (and, for that matter, continuing to come around after his assignment has been removed). Still, Parker is an unexpectedly complex character in an otherwise rote shoot-'em-up action film, and while The Gateway doesn't take you anywhere worth going, at least it takes you somewhere different.
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.