A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
There are mixed messages that depend on how you interpret the movie, but it clearly argues that there's beauty and hope everywhere, if we only look for it.
Positive Role Models
Despite the movie painting him as a role model, Kevin has flaws. On the plus side, he avoids the Benefactor's temptations and remains "pure," trying to look for the positive side of life. And given the choice between his own happiness and that of a stranger's, he chooses the stranger. But at other times, he picks up a gun to help solve his problems, rages and throws things, and behaves in otherwise iffy ways.
The cast is mostly White and led by men; women are mostly secondary characters, without much agency. There's a key scene in which a friendly family, who appears to be of Indian heritage, invites the main character in for a meal and conversation. The father is played by Indian American actor Paras Patel, and the mother is played by Jordan Alexandra, who's of Jamaican, Barbadian, and White British heritage. Other characters of color appear in small or background roles.
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Violence & Scariness
Guns are used to threaten and to shoot at people. shooting. Bloody wounds. Fighting, punching, kicking, shoving, pinning against wall. Attempted drowning in a fish tank. Car crash. Nightmare sequence. Angry mob, police with guns, beating citizens with clubs and throwing tear gas. A character rages, throwing stuff around a room and smashing things. Another character angrily hurls a necklace across a room. More rage, arguing, shouting. A child wanders off and goes missing.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Many scenes of kissing. One character touches another's leg in a familiar way. In two scenes, a character sits between and puts his arms around two women, who may be sex workers.
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Infrequent language includes a use of "s--t," plus "crap," "piss off," "idiot," "jerk."
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
An adult drinks a glass of wine at home. Social drinking (beers) in bar. References to a person's potential drinking problem. One character calls another a "lush."
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that The Shift is a faith-based sci-fi romance that reimagines the story of Job. Here, main character Kevin (Kristoffer Polaha) is tested by being sent to a grim, dystopian alternate world. Violence includes guns and shooting (with people getting shot), bloody wounds, fighting, punching, kicking, characters being beaten with clubs and shot with tear gas, a car crash, an attempted drowning, raging, arguing, shouting, etc. There's some flirting and kissing, and a man wraps his arms around two women who are possibly sex workers. Infrequent language includes a use of "s--t," plus "crap," "piss off," "idiot," and "jerk." Adults drink in bars and at home, and there's some suggestion of alcohol abuse. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
It has decent visual effects and acting, but this faith-based sci-fi drama struggles with an uneven screenplay that doesn't quite manage to mesh the story of Job with a modern-day romance. The Shift is largely about the concept of being tested by God in order to prove your faith while avoiding succumbing to weakness (the devil). But in terms of the story, it doesn't make much sense. Even the Benefactor makes the argument that Kevin being tested is pointless, and it's hard to argue against him. Moreover, there's no particular reason for the Benefactor to "shift" people into different realities, other than the fact that it makes for some cool effects.
Additionally, for some reason, Kevin is famous, known by all as "The Kevin Who Refused." The Benefactor says that all other Kevins in all other realities took his deal. But why is Kevin the important one? What does his fame have to do with anything? There are other plot twists that feel forced, and an ending that, if you think about it for a second, is downright stalker-ish. The Shift has its heart in the right place when it speaks about finding beauty and kindness in the world and arguing that people aren't all bad, but its storytelling logic is so muddled that it doesn't have much hope of reaching beyond the already converted.