A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Sometimes in a lawsuit, both parties are wrong. Some injustices can never be corrected.
Positive Role Models
The past experiences and prejudices of two men lead them to dislike each other before they get to know each other. For seemingly no good reason, they throw insults at each other and violence ensues. Both are stubborn, but one seems like an irrational hothead.
Violence & Scariness
When a testy Lebanese man destroys repair work a Palestinian construction worker has done for him, the worker curses the first man. More insults fly; one slugs the other, breaking ribs. A lawsuit follows. Festering animosity spills onto national TV. Christian Lebanese mobs fight Palestinian mobs outside courtroom. Atrocities of 1970s Lebanese Civil War massacre are described in court. A man passes out from injuries. His pregnant wife finds him; after dragging him to her car, gives birth to their pre-term baby. Baby starts life in critical condition.
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"F--k," "s--t," "bastard," "bitch," the "N" word, "pr--k," "ass."
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Adults smoke cigarettes.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that The Insult is a 2017 Lebanese movie in Arabic with English subtitles that examines long-festering wounds reverberating from the 1970s Lebanese Civil War. Tangled in the accompanying emotions are biases and stereotypes held by Lebanese Christians toward Palestinians who took refuge in Lebanon but also participated in wartime massacres. Some of the movie's political messages will require some knowledge of Middle Eastern geopolitical history, and some ugly feelings expressed echo Nazi attitudes toward Jews espoused during World War II. A massacre is described. So are difficult conditions in Palestinian refugee camps. Most of the action takes place in a courtroom, where these old prejudices are argued in the form of a contemporary lawsuit between a Lebanese Christian and a Palestinian man who insulted each other. Strong language is heard: "f--k," "s--t," "bastard," "bitch," the "N" word, "pr--k," and "ass." 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 film is smart and blunt as it goes about trying to prove how very personal politics can be. The Insult works to underscore the ridiculousness of stereotypes while acknowledging the real experiences that can spawn them. The Christian Lebanese here offer their justifications for denigrating Palestinians as a group, and Palestinians are given equal time to enumerate the offenses committed by the Lebanese. At times Lebanese complaints about Palestinians are so vicious and ugly as to echo the irrational blame heaped on Jews by Germans of the Nazi era.
As the film repeats arguments over and over, viewers may feel bludgeoned, but it becomes clear that the insult that began the movie's central saga is trivial compared to the larger resentments harbored by both sides in response to decades of bloodletting and oppression at the heart of the court case. Teens old enough to follow the arguments may be swayed one way and then swayed the other when rebuttals are presented, underscoring the notion that even terrible wrongdoing can be justified by fancy-talking advocates. In the end, the movie suggests that there are no good reasons to hate, and that we can just as easily choose to reject bias in the effort to achieve peace.
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.