Parents' Guide to

The Last Shift

By Jeffrey M. Anderson, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 15+

Bittersweet, truthful indie drama about small towns, racism.

Movie R 2020 90 minutes
The Last Shift Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

There aren't any parent reviews yet. Be the first to review this title.

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say: Not yet rated
Kids say: Not yet rated

Despite some unexpected character choices and other small stumbles, this indie drama gets by on great performances, bittersweet humor, and many snapshots of heartbreaking truths. While The Last Shift vividly and realistically captures small-town life and its economic and social struggles, Stanley's character raises some questions. His 38 years seem to have happened in a void; other than his memories of high school, there's nothing in the movie about his actual life outside the restaurant. Nevertheless, Jenkins offers a deeply rich performance, full of wheezes and pains, giving Stanley an inner life that fills in some of the blanks. McGhie is excellent, too, holding his own with the veteran character actor.

In dealing with issues of race and racism, The Last Shift doesn't go very deep or very far, but it still covers its themes thoughtfully. Stanley clearly respects his boss, Shazz (a terrific Da'Vine Joy Randolph), and he likes Jevon, but he doesn't at all understand White privilege or systemic racism. A scene in which he deals with police after a traffic incident clearly underlines this, and nothing in the movie clearly indicates that Stanley ever changes his problematic way of thinking. Writer-director Andrew Cohn lays out most of the discord through the movie's dialogue, but it never feels preachy or overwritten. A last encounter between Stanley and Jevon on a bus near the end feels somehow unsatisfying but is perhaps realistic -- and then a final upbeat coda for Jevon feels satisfying and yet somehow false.

Movie Details

Inclusion information powered by

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.

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