A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Subtly raises questions about the impact of the snake-handler's religion. It seems to work for the followers (aside from those who die from snake bites ... ), but certain scenes indicate an intolerance toward anything outside their little community. Is it OK to judge someone else's spiritual or religious beliefs, even if they also judge?
Positive Role Models
No real role models here. The characters are mostly victims or villains. They act in what seems to be their own best interests, but their actions seem villainous to outsiders. The female main character's life is largely determined by the actions of men.
Violence & Scariness
A man assaults a woman with the intent to rape her; he fights with her, slaps her, bends her over a counter, and pulls up her dress but is stopped after that. A snake bites a character; he slices into the wound with a knife, sucks out the bloody poison, and spits it on the floor. Gory amputation scene with hypo needle and power saw. Gory snakebite wound that gets infected and turns black. Shotgun drawn and fired. Bloody cut on foot. Anger and threats.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Flirting, kissing. Character wears a sheer nightgown; woman naked with her back to the camera. Pre-wedding "process" involves an exam of a character's vagina.
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A use of "f--k" and a use of "whore." Also uses "damn." "God," "damned," and "Jesus Christ" said in a faith-based context.
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Character gets drunk and violent in one scene. Cigarette smoking.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Them That Follow is an Appalachia-set drama about a preacher's daughter (Alice Englert) who's engaged to marry one man but finds herself pregnant by another. It includes a scene of assault and attempted rape: A man fights with and slaps a woman, bending her over a counter and pulling up her dress before he's stopped. In another scene, a character slices a knife into his snakebit arm, sucks out the bloody venom, and spits it on the floor. The wound becomes increasingly gory, and there's a disturbing amputation scene. A shotgun is fired. Language includes a use of "f--k" and a use of "whore," plus "God," "Jesus Christ," and "damned" in a faith-based context. There's a scene of a woman's vagina being inspected (off-camera) in a lead-up to her wedding, also kissing, flirting, a naked woman's back, and a sheer nightgown. A man gets drunk and violent in one scene, and cigarette smoking is shown. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
Despite a promising setting and characters, this drama quickly disappoints as it turns into an ordinary story of romantic teen angst, avoiding any kind of cultural exploration or understanding. The feature-directing debut for the team of Britt Poulton and Dan Madison Savage, Them That Follow had a chance to get inside a community that many viewers might not be familiar with, but instead it keeps them at arm's distance. The characters' religion comes across more like ignorance and intolerance: Per the film, they regard the people of the outside word as "sheep" and claim that "God is on our side." Not to mention that Goggins is downright scary as the preacher.
And so the movie's focus becomes Mara and her troubles, which are recycled straight out of any old soap opera. Them That Follow tries to generate sympathy for Mara by showing how she's pushed around by the men in her life. It attempts to get viewers to root for her independence but also for some kind of romantic fulfillment. Ultimately, it's a one-sided, wishy-washy movie, shot in constant hand-held overcast grayness. Not even Kaitlyn Dever (so charming in Booksmart), who plays Mara's best friend and is on-screen for long segments, seems to actually do anything -- nor does comedian Jim Gaffigan, as one of the true believers in the flock.
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.