A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Encourages tolerance and empathy toward the mentally ill; as the movie begins, these misfit characters are shown as scary and alien, but as it goes on, they become more human. Understanding and listening can go a long way. But also, treating intolerance with intolerance isn't a good choice.
Positive Role Models
Mary Bee Cuddy is a very strong female character, even if she makes a poor choice and comes to a bad end. She's smart, sympathetic, and compassionate.
Violence & Scariness
A baby is thrown away in an outhouse; other dead babies are shown. Situations involving three insane women are generally disturbing (screaming, thrashing, etc.). Guns are drawn. Characters fight; some blood is shown. A woman cuts herself with a needle. Characters die. A dead body is shown hanging from a tree. A man sets fire to a building. Disturbing scenes of forced sex between husband and wife, both mainly clothed.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Main female character is shown topless. Sex scene that feels very graphic, even though little nudity is shown. Three insane women are occasionally topless (while bathing, etc. Some innuendo.
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Mainly "son of a bitch" and "goddamn. Also "s--t" and "bastard."
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
The main male character asks for whisky to be packed for a journey but is only seen drinking on a few occasions. He's drunk and bawdy during the movie's final scene.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that The Homesman is a Western (based on a novel by Glendon Swarthout) with disturbing material, mostly related to three frontier women who go insane. They scream, thrash, and moan, and one cuts herself with a needle. One throws a baby away in an outhouse, and other dead babies are also shown. Violence includes forced marital sex, some fighting (with a little blood), drawn guns, and a body hanging from a tree. Women are shown topless, and there's a fairly strong sex scene. Language includes "s--t," "son of a bitch," and "goddamn." A character sometimes drinks whisky and is shown drunk in the final scene. The movie's mature material and Western setting may not put it at the top of teens' must-see list, but adventurous viewers will find it rewarding. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
Based on a classic novel by Glendon Swarthout, who also wrote The Shootist, THE HOMESMAN is something close to a great modern-day Western. As evidenced by his last film, The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada, director Jones has a keen eye for hard landscapes (including his own weathered face) and emotional compositions. The Homesman is full of striking imagery: the locked, coffin-like coach; fresh new buildings in hardscrabble dirt; a disturbed grave on a gnarly plain.
Jones is also wise enough to step into the supporting role, giving Swank room to do her best stuff as Mary Bee, an extraordinary woman who's as strong as a man yet full of yearning and forever giving more than she gets. As Briggs, Jones sometimes provides cranky comic relief from the grim material but eventually grows into a sympathetic, essential character (thanks to several women). Meryl Streep works her magic in the later scenes, as does young cowgirl Hailee Steinfeld (True Grit).
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