A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that The Gentlemen is a Guy Ritchie-directed crime-action movie about a very cool drug supplier named Mickey Pearson (Matthew McConaughey). Mickey, his wife Rosalind (Michelle Dockery), and his employees are portrayed as smart, sharp, strong, skilled, and generally enviable. Like Ritchie's other films, this one is incredibly violent, with graphic shootings, knives, beatings, a rape, long falls, and lots of blood. Ritchie's values -- hard drugs are stupid, pot is harmless compared to other vices, taxes are out of control, and if you ban guns, then you're defenseless against criminals -- are on his sleeve in this film, but parents may not always agree with them. The script also pokes at political correctness by including words that seem intended to make viewers ask questions like "Hold up, is that racist? Is that homophobic?" (in fact, there's a whole conversation about what's racist and what's not). Extremely strong, coarse language includes "f--k," "c--t," and more, a woman fondles her husband over his pants, and there's an off-screen act of bestiality. In other words, this film -- while thoroughly entertaining for adults -- definitely isn't for kids.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
In THE GENTLEMEN, Oxford-educated American Mickey Pearson (Matthew McConaughey) is ready to sell his British-based cannabis empire and enjoy a happily-ever-after life with his wife. While trying to close a lucrative offer from posh British drug lord Mathew (Jeremy Strong), Mickey must fend off a motley crew of gangsters who want a piece of the action for themselves. Henry Golding, Charlie Hunnam, Hugh Grant, Colin Farrell, and Michelle Dockery co-star.
Is it any good?
Guy Ritchie's crime comedy won't be making any "best family movies of the year" lists, which may be the best marketing it can get. After a decade spent making more commercial films like Aladdin, King Arthur: Legend of the Sword, and Sherlock Holmes, Ritchie returns to his core skill set: telling violent stories about thugs, criminals, fighters, and the underworld. He's clearly been feeling pent up, as it all comes out (literally) guns blazing. The Gentlemen has a clever concept, snappy dialogue, creative characters, and stupendous style. In a meta turn, it's delivered as a mystery narrated by a sleazy private investigator named Fletcher (Grant has rarely been better), who's turned the events into a script and peppers his "pitch" of sorts with filmmaking references.
It's a whirlwind of moving parts, but the audience never gets lost in the tornado of events. The characters are all on the wrong side of the law and life, and adults can appreciate the film for what it is and see that crime doesn't pay, even when it does. That said, younger viewers may buy into the movie's pro-weed, pro-gun attitude. While Mickey says that his "hands are dirty," the ultimate takeaway is that coming up with an orderly, principled pot-farm business wasn't just OK, it was shrewd. In another situation, Rosalind nags her husband about having a gun because it's a ticket to prison; later, she's only able to protect herself with his gun, but is still woefully unprepared. Both of these suggest that following the law can hold you back or even hurt you -- and if you're smart, you work around it. They say a gentleman always remembers, but when it comes to picking up trains of thought from pop culture, so do kids.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the role of guns The Gentlemen. Do you agree with how they're portrayed? What's the impact of media violence on kids?
Would you say any of the characters here are "good" or "bad"? Do you think it's more interesting to have characters who are clearly moral or immoral, or is it better for them to be a mixed bag? What positive character strengths and life skills do they display?
How are drinking and smoking depicted? Are they glamorized?
Why do you think the script includes such strong language? What do you think the screenwriter is trying to say by using insensitive language to describe people? Or the scene where the characters discuss what is and isn't racist?
- In theaters: January 24, 2020
- On DVD or streaming: March 27, 2020
- Cast: Matthew McConaughey, Charlie Hunnam, Michelle Dockery
- Director: Guy Ritchie
- Studio: STX Entertainment
- Genre: Action/Adventure
- Run time: 113 minutes
- MPAA rating: R
- MPAA explanation: violence, language throughout, sexual references and drug content
- Last updated: March 19, 2021
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