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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Story involves people taking the law into their own hands. Viewers can discuss ideas of where the line is when it comes to law and justice. Should authorities always have the final word? Who decides what's right and what's wrong?
Positive Role Models
Rayburn does some pretty awful things, but in final moments seems to want to fully reform. He gives up drinking, makes other positive changes, having learned lessons from his mistakes. In general, characters are interestingly flawed. Underlying tension between White and Native American characters.
Violence & Scariness
Young women/teen girls are kidnapped, murdered. A girl is gagged, tied up. Women are being hunted; dead woman shown. Gaping neck wound. Guns and shooting; a character is shot. Ancient Native American spears and arrows are shown/used; characters are stabbed. Blood spurts. A character stitches his own wound. A character fights with a "monster," punching, smashing. Character with bruised, bloody face. "Pitfall," where animals are trapped and killed, is shown. A character falls into the pitfall; bloody face, gurgling noises. Character steps on bear trap (off-screen); viewers hear a snap and screaming. A newspaper story tells how a child was locked up in a barn by abusive foster parents. Threat with scalpel. Stuffed, dead animals.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Scantily clad pole dancer in a bar. Mentions of prostitution, "paying for sex."
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Frequent language includes uses of "f--k," "s--t," "a--hole," "goddamn," "son of a bitch," "whore," "stupid," "take a leak," plus "Jesus Christ" as an exclamation. Middle-finger gestures.
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Products & Purchases
Mention of Walmart.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Main character is addicted to alcohol. He drinks throughout (beer, whiskey, etc.) and appears intoxicated in front of a class of children. A flashback reveals how stopping at a liquor store resulted in his daughter being kidnapped. In the end, he empties and throws away his bottles, changes his ways. Other characters drink beers.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that The Silencing is a solid crime drama about a grieving, obsessed father (Game of Thrones' Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) and an outcast sheriff looking for a kidnapper/murderer. It has extremely strong violence, including young women being kidnapped and tied up and gagged. There's also a gaping throat wound, a dead body, and a story about a boy being held prisoner by abusive foster parents. It also has guns and shooting, Native American spears and arrows, blood spurts, injuries, and more. Language is also frequent and strong, with uses of "f--k" and "s--t." The main character is addicted to alcohol; he drinks frequently (beer and whiskey) and is shown drunk in front of children. He makes a hopeful effort to quit by the end. Other characters drink beer. A scantily clad woman pole dances at a bar, and there are references to sex work. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
Wintry and woodsy, this small-scale thriller is closer to a decent episode of The Killing than The Silence of the Lambs. But it works due to the interestingly flawed characters and fine performances. Written by Micah Ranum and directed by Robin Pront, The Silencing establishes a clear sense of place, a small town on the edge of a vast woods. The sense of cold comes through bitingly, and things feel ragged and lived-in. It's too bad Pront couldn't have been a little more creative with the various treks and chases through the woods; many of the shots are too shaky and/or too dark. But Coster-Waldau plays Rayburn with an appealing mix of intrepid goodness and rage and self-loathing.
Meanwhile, Wallis' Alice must deal with general mistrust from her community -- she stops to remove a defaced election sign from her campaign -- as well as her connection to (and protection of) her troublesome brother. She makes iffy choices but remains captivating. Other characters similarly spring to life, and an underlying tension between Whites and Native Americans living in the same community deepens the mood. The mystery story in The Silencing doesn't quite click together as neatly as you might hope; it relies on red herrings and marginal characters. But the writing is still fairly strong, with some smart twists and dialogue. All in all, it's not a mind-blowing movie, but it's sufficiently entertaining.
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.