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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
When you come out of yourself to help others, your own life improves. People aren't always who you think they are. Racism blinds people to the true worth of other people. It's important to stand up to injustice. "You're never alone." The implication is that God is always with you. "There is enough love to go around. All you have to do is share it."
Positive Role Models
Macon makes his sister help him steal from a convenience store. He's also an A student. Joe went to prison for hacking, then moved to the projects to help young at-risk children do well in school and stay out of trouble. Sam has given money to support good causes and gets involved in Joe's organization. A cop espouses racist views. In prison and in a school, bullies threaten violence in racism-based confrontations. A white woman assumes bad things about a black man she doesn't know, then later changes her mind when she learns more about him.
Violence & Scariness
Flashbacks to a murder are seen. Blood is shown. White prisoners threaten black prisoners with violence in prison. A black prisoner holds a knife to the throat of a white prisoner. Punches are thrown. A man with kidney disease collapses because he hasn't had dialysis. A child is hit by a car but only suffers minor injuries. A bully trips a girl, and a smaller boy defends her by punching the bully. White prison guards unlock the cell doors of numerous white prisoners so they can beat up two black prisoners. A grieving widow gets ready to commit suicide and instead saves a child who was hit by a car.
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Adults drink alcohol and smoke cigarettes.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Unconditional is a faith-based drama based on events in the life of "Papa" Joe Bradford, who has devoted most of his life to helping at-risk youth in Nashville. His devotion to combating racism, bullying, poverty, and other social ills informs every turn in the story. A senseless gun murder is a major plot point, and flashbacks show a bloodied man dying on the ground. A grieving widow gets ready to commit suicide and instead saves a child who was hit by a car. Adults drink alcohol and smoke cigarettes. A man with kidney disease is seen undergoing dialysis. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
Unconditional is touching, well-acted, and directed. Christian faith is an underlying theme throughout, but it's not the only theme, and the filmmakers tell the story skillfully enough so that most viewers, believers or not, can reasonably expect to appreciate something here. Ealy and Collins are persuasive performers, and given the material – fatherless kids, a murdered young husband, a grieving widow, a mortally sick young man -- the tear-jerking potential here is high. If there is anything to find fault with, it may be that the movie is said to be based on events in the life of the real Joe Bradford, a black man who has been helping at-risk kids in Nashville for decades. For some reason, the filmmakers felt that the best way into the African-American Bradford's story is by focusing on Sam, a white protagonist, which feels like a less than ideal choice.
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.