By Monique Jones,
Common Sense Media Reviewer
Common Sense Media Reviewers
Artistic film on Black activism has slurs, swear words.
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Having courage to stand up for your community is important, even when powers that be might block your path. Engaging in political and social activism can come in many forms, including engaging in the arts and other creative outlets. Working together for a common goal requires teamwork.
Positive Role Models
Many of Philadelphia's Black political, social, and artistic leaders sought to make their communities better through clean living, activism, and the arts.
Violence & Scariness
Mention of city-sanctioned violence, such as the 1985 bombing on the MOVE Philadelphia house. Mentions of murder; imagery of racial violence.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Vivid descriptions of female body parts. Minor sexual humor. Mentions of having sex and pregnancy.
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Swear words include "screwed," "hell," "bitch," "s--t," "bulls--t," "ass," "f--k," and "motherf----r." Racial slurs that are said or shown include "baboon," "niggas," the "N" word, "coonskin," and "tar baby"; the latter two are names of books by prominent Black authors. Ableist terms such as "crazy" and "nuts."
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Products & Purchases
Philadelphia Printworks sweater.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Mention of selling crack and painkillers. Mention of drinking.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that The Inheritance is a drama about a man who inherits his grandmother's house and turns it into a Black collective space. The film includes the use of racial slurs that may need to be explained or put into context for younger viewers, especially since some are used as titles by Black authors. Other language includes "s--t," "f--k," and more. There's also some sexual humor and references, as well as scenes involving racial violence and mentions of drug use and drinking. Positive themes include courage and teamwork.
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What's the Story?
In THE INHERITANCE, a young man inherits his grandmother's house after her death. His girlfriend urges him to turn it into a space for Black artistry and activism in the vein of the Philadelphia-based MOVE Organization, which brings to fore what it takes to be a part of Black liberation.
Is It Any Good?
Ephraim Asili's experimental film nods to earlier films from the 1960s and '70s, such as Sun Ra's Space Is the Place, which was filmed in 1972 and released in 1974. The film's aesthetics are deeply rooted in activist film reels of that time, making it artistically satisfying to watch. But The Inheritance is also rooted a bit in self-importance that could turn some viewers off. It's full of dense imagery and discussions about socialism and other political activist theories that could leave viewers feeling lost. But it could also compel viewers to do their own research, which is part of what the movie seems to want audiences to do.
That said, The Inheritance is directed in a drawn-out yet artistic manner. In some moments, the film is boring and seemingly about nothing. But in others, when it turns into a documentary about John Africa and the origins of the MOVE Organization, it becomes intriguing, insightful, and compelling. If you enjoy more experimental forms of filmmaking, The Inheritance might be for you. You'll gain some insight into the roots of Philadelphia-based activism and possibly be inspired to do some independent learning about Black-led sociopolitical groups.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about the poets, like Sonia Sanchez, who were featured in the film. What role do poetry and other artistic expressions have in activism?
What is an "experimental film"? Do you think this one qualifies? Why, or why not? Have you seen other experimental movies?
How has the MOVE Organization influenced Philadelphia politics?
Members of the group start arguing about the direction it's headed in. How can disagreement be healthy in activism?
How did Philadelphia's local government and police department hurt Black communities in the area? How can Philadelphia help its Black citizens and make up for its sins of the past?
- On DVD or streaming: March 12, 2021
- Cast: Sonia Sanchez, Aurielle Akerele, Chris Jarell, Michael A. Lake, Nyabel Lual
- Director: Ephraim Asili
- Studio: Grasshopper Film
- Genre: Drama
- Topics: Activism
- Character Strengths: Courage, Teamwork
- Run time: 100 minutes
- MPAA rating: NR
- Last updated: April 5, 2023
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