A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Movie is mainly about covering things up, lying, becoming obsessed and putting the object of obsession ahead of things like family.
Positive Role Models
Two main characters are police officers but aren't positive role models. One is covering up a dreadful secret that's ruined his life, the other looks to be heading down that road. Movie was originally written in early 1990s, well before #MeToo movement, and you can tell: Women are generally either sidelined or victimized.
Violence & Scariness
Bloody corpse. Blood spatters. Dead bodies. One character hits another in the head with a shovel. Gory crime scene photos. Woman threatened by unseen stalker.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Fully exposed naked female corpses. Brief view of naked breasts on female corpse. Sex workers on sidewalk in front of cheap hotel. Sex-related dialogue.
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Many uses of "f--k," plus "s--t," "son of a bitch," "damn," "bastard," "d--k," "butt," "balls," and "boned."
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Products & Purchases
Black Angus steakhouse shown. Busch beer shown.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Main characters have a drink in a bar. Background drinking. Mention of having a "few beers."
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that The Little Things is a serial killer thriller starring three Oscar winners: Denzel Washington as a deputy sheriff, Rami Malek as an LAPD detective, and Jared Leto as a possible killer. Expect to see images of dead bodies -- including several female corpses shown either topless or fully naked -- as well as blood spatters and gory crime scene photos. One character hits another in the head with a shovel, and a woman is threatened by an unseen stalker. Sex workers are shown, and there's some sex-related dialogue. Language is strong, with many uses of "f--k," plus "s--t," "son of a bitch," and more. The main characters have a drink in a bar, and background drinking is shown or mentioned. Despite a handful of flaws, the movie's sturdy, classical direction and Washington's performance make it worth a look for mature viewers. 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 thriller suffers from somewhat jarring plot turns, some overcooked performances, and other flaws, but the sturdy, classical direction and Washington's anguished performance make it worth seeing. The Little Things is something of a departure for writer-director John Lee Hancock. In his clean, classical style, he usually makes bright, positive movies about ambition and achievement (Saving Mr. Banks, The Founder, etc.), but this one, which was originally written at the beginning of his career in the early 1990s, is more about obsession. It withholds information, rather than sharing. Perhaps for that reason -- or perhaps because it doesn't adequately establish its rules -- the movie's big reveal doesn't feel entirely smooth, and it's slightly unsatisfying.
Another drawback of a movie written in the early 1990s is that the female characters are underdeveloped. Plus, Oscar winners Malek and Leto are both guilty of slightly overcooked performances. Leto's eyes appear sunken in, to emphasize his creepiness, while Malek tends to mumble his dialogue, Marlon Brando-style (probably because he's been given mostly exposition). But Washington is excellent, carrying a heavy burden and using every inch of his frame to show the weight and pain of it. And Hancock's direction is as skillful as ever. While his movies are usually full of bright daylight, The Little Things makes fine, mysterious use of darkness (and peering through it with flashlights or ultraviolet light), for an effectively shadowy mood.
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.