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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
The film is about navigating complex ethical quandries, with viewers reflecting on the decisions they might make themselves.
Positive Role Models
A team that is diverse in terms of age, gender, race, and perspective joins together to try to make fair decisions for others. They demonstrate excellent communication skills, and most exhibit a high degree of integrity. On the other hand, some are men who don't want to be fathers, even after spending the day with their child.
Violence & Scariness
Fatal accident, with bloodied victims seen on hospital gurneys. Several operating room scenes show people cut open and organs inside and being removed from body cavities. Animals are experimented on; they're treated well before surgeries. Battered woman tells story of domestic violence. References to suicide attempt.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Kiss. Couple shown in bed together. A romantic relationship.
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Strong language includes "ass," "bitch," "s--t," and several uses of "f--k." Middle-finger gesture.
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Products & Purchases
A brand of alcohol is mentioned by name.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
A lead character smokes throughout. References to drug use and consequences. Ailing character is seeing taking prescription medications. Drinking at a bar.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that The God Committee is a contemplative drama, adapted from a play by Mark St. Germain, that explores medical ethics in an extraordinary situation. Despite the title and a character who is a priest, it's not a faith-based film. On the contrary, it looks at the mashup of science, facts, and personal factors that doctors may face while making life-or-death decisions for others. Characters aren't typical Hollywood portrayals and aren't portrayed as "good" or "bad"; rather, they can be seen as offering deep reflections on the complexities of humanity. They demonstrate communication and integrity but also have flaws. A woman recalls an incident of harsh domestic violence, and there's a fatal accident and grahpic scenes of the organ-transplant process, with bodies on operating tables and bloody, throbbing, realistic organs being pulled out of open body cavities, including animals. Strong language throughout includes "f--k" and "s--t," a couple is shown in bed together, and there's smoking, drinking, and prescription drug use. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
Austin Stark's cerebral medical film highlights how many shades of grey exist in between right and wrong and good and bad. Life-saving doctors are often in a position to "play God," but never more than in this film, which centers on the difficult decisions made by organ-transplant committees. Some viewers may be surprised to learn that a panel of medical professionals determines which patients are worthy of receiving life-saving organs and that factors like substance use and having a family support system in place impact their decisions. While the scenario in the movie is an extraordinary situation, it's not out of the realm of possibility. The fact that filmmakers solicited contributions from a team of real-life medical experts who do organ-transplant work is felt in crafting an honest portrayal of a fictional situation.
That said, for a film about heart, there's not a lot of it here. This drama is as cold as an emergency room gurney. We're only given one character to care about, Dr. Jordan Taylor (Julia Stiles), who delivers lukewarmth compared to the worn-down pragmatist committee head (Janeane Garofalo) and her cranky but brilliant senior colleague (Kelsey Grammer). In this world, even compassion is built on facts. Ultimately The God Committee is all about the brain, posing a question that may activate viewers' own thoughts: Who should hold the authority to decide whose lives are more valuable than others? And, more importantly, are you living a life worth saving?
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.
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.See how we rate