Parents' Guide to

Three Christs

By Tara McNamara, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 15+

Mature, touching psychiatric drama shows power of empathy.

Movie R 2019 117 minutes
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Using the detailed notes and verbatim dialogue from the actual experiment this film is based on, writer-director Jon Avnet creates a drama about psychology that's more interesting than entertaining. His attention to detail is admirable, but it's too much. Side events and backstories pop up throughout, with bomb-dropping character reveals that are never mentioned again or seen to carry any relevance.

Dead ends aside, Three Christs is a touching drama that presents a fascinating exploration of psychology, medical ethics, and identity. For families looking for thoughtful conversation, you could go all day finding pockets of conversation starters embedded in the film. The most meaningful may be how people without mental illness interact with those who are going through something that feels unknown and/or frightening. Much like One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, Three Christs successfully depicts the powerlessness of mid-century patients with mental illness in state facilities. However, Avnet falls short of sufficiently relaying one of the film's core truths: the loneliness that accompanies living in your own world. Three Christs leaves darts all over the target, but it hits the bull's-eye by giving audiences a moving story about how, when we feel empathy, we become better people.

Movie Details

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