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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Thorough delivery of obvious messages: finish what you start; be free to dream; the "promised arms" of God and Jesus are meant for you; most very rich people are selfish and ignorant; true fulfillment comes from helping others. The actual "ultimate gift" is finally revealed to be a well-lived life,which includes a combination of friends, money, work, learning, family, laughter, gratitude, giving, love, problems, dreams, and making each day count.
Positive Role Models
The leading player begins as an arrogant, lazy, hard-living bad boy; he very quickly becomes a moral, loving, philanthropic hero. One-dimensional, stereotypical characters include: oblivious, mean-spirited rich people; criminal South American drug dealers; a saintly single mom. Lots of ethnic diversity with one leading African-American mentor playing a crucial role.
Violence & Scariness
A harsh sequence in which a group of guerilla drug dealers capture, imprison, and beat up the hero and his friend. They are threatened with death. A rancher thinks it's funny to awaken his employee using a cattle prod. The protagonist slaps two obnoxious bullies.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Some romantic, gentle kissing as a relationship blooms. A man observes his girlfriend (in a skimpy outfit) kissing her new love. Discussion of the circumstances surrounding a child born outside of marriage.
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"Screw" and "hell."
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Products & Purchases
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Early in the movie, the leading man smokes. Several scenes show moderate social drinking: champagne on an airline flight, at Thanksgiving dinner, celebrating a library opening, relaxing at home. Drug lords chug-a-lug from a bottle as they intimidate and threaten their captives.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that The Ultimate Gift is a faith-based, message drama that includes several deaths and has some very sad moments. A very unlikable young man is awakened by his boss using a cattle prod, left without resources to fend for himself on the streets, and is captured, beaten, and threatened with death by drunken drug dealers. There is some mild cursing ("hell," "screw him"), and several scenes in which characters drink and smoke. Spoiler alert: A little girl with leukemia, in whom the audience is heavily-invested, dies off camera. Her death may be very upsetting to kids. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
Thank goodness for Bill Cobbs. As Hamilton, the wise, infinitely patient lawyer in The Ultimate Gift, he provides welcome respite from the movie's sentimental, predictable action. Nuanced and detailed, his performance is the film's only convincing element. Too bad Hamilton is just a supporting character. The film's insistence on stereotypes is evident in the introduction of violent Ecuadorian drug dealers.
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.
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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