Urban Country

Movie review by
Joyce Slaton, Common Sense Media
Urban Country Movie Poster Image
Sincere, wholesome drama overcomes clichéd plot.
  • NR
  • 2018
  • 97 minutes

Parents say

age 12+
Based on 1 review

Kids say

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

Many positive messages: Characters are encouraged to fulfill their obligations, be their authentic selves, be kind to others, treat loved ones with respect and care. Characters make mistakes but then own up, apologize, and try to make amends -- and are forgiven. Themes also include perseverance and teamwork.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Adult, teen characters make realistic errors but are given chance to atone and to do better next time. Faith is a believably flawed teen who makes a realistic leap in maturity after a tragedy. Adults are present and caring but imperfect, and learn to do better (e.g., Faith's dad, who apologizes for not always being present). City/country stereotyping is subverted: Characters insult Faith for being from the "big city," and she has some incorrect things to say about country life, but everyone learns to give each other a chance. It's your actions, not your style, that determine your character. 

Violence

A parent has stage 4 cancer and dies; viewers see her funeral and loved ones grieving. Faith must catch a chicken for dinner; viewers don't see her "harvesting" (killing) it but do see her chasing and holding it. Two teens scuffle after one insults the other; their altercation breaks a large glass trophy case. 

Sex

Teens flirt; one asks the other out, and later, they have a friendly dance together. A horse is called a "girl" until a character glances between the horse's legs and amends her statement to "boy."

Language

No cursing, but at one point a character calls Faith "trash."

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Urban Country is a drama about Faith (Brighton Sharbino), a troubled teenage girl who changes her life after a stint in juvenile hall earns her a move to her mother Anna's (Candice Michele Barley) ranch in rural Mississippi. The movie is largely free of iffy content: There's no drinking, drugs, swearing (though at one point a boy calls Faith "trash"), or sex -- the most romance the movie contains is a chaste dance between two teens who've shared tender nonsexual moments. A parent dies from cancer over the course of the movie and is grieved by her loved ones; viewers see her funeral and burial. A character points out that animals on a farm are usually raised to be eaten; Faith is shown catching a chicken for dinner but not killing it. Positive messages are frequent and meaningful, with both teen and adult characters atoning for their mistakes, understanding exactly who their actions hurt and apologizing and doing better next time. 

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written bymariemcconn August 5, 2018
Very poor acting and directing.
Written byAnonymous August 16, 2018

Not what I was expecting

This movie has several actors that I have enjoyed watching on other TV shows and films over the years. So when I saw them all in this I thought it was gonna be... Continue reading

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What's the story?

When a wrong turn lands URBAN COUNTRY's Faith (Brighton Sharbino) in legal trouble, and her pushed-to-the-limit father, David (Jason London), is no longer willing to bail her out, her mom, Anna (Barley), steps up to offer Faith a new home on her working ranch in Mississippi. Faith thinks Mississippi will be a place to get away from it all, but her problems follow her even to the Airstream trailer her mom gives her to sleep in. Faith makes an effort, with the help of Anna's ranch hands/adopted sons, Blake (Dean J. West) and Corey (Arthur Marroquin). But her journey to happiness is disrupted by a sudden tragedy -- and it's going to take all of Faith's newly won skills and confidence to keep the ranch -- and her life -- on track. 

Is it any good?

Sweet, sincere, and ultimately quite moving (to those who can handle its leisurely pace), this surprisingly poignant movie transcends its clichéd coming-of-age plotline and simplistic characters. Viewers will know that Faith is a City Girl on the Wrong Path from the very first moment she's seen on a skateboard with glitter high-tops, intent on breaking into a stadium to tag the stands (it's art, not vandalism, she tells her skater-boy posse, but just try telling the security guards that). One implausible trip to juvie later, and Faith's ready to split the city scene to spend more time with her ranch-owner mom in the great outdoors, a character-building tool in drama since time immemorial. Mucking out stalls and currying horses, it seems, is the key to turning this reckless teen into a caring adult. 

It sounds very trite, and it could have been, if not for the talented actors and sympathetic script, which breathes life into the clichés. Faith actually does care about her mom, and soon, about the ranch passed down through her family's generations and the more-or-less adopted sons that are helping Anna run it. As Faith slowly transforms from a smart-mouthed punk into a young woman with courage and grit who earns the affection she gets from others, sensitive viewers may find themselves tearing up a little -- and rooting for Faith and the ranch to find their footing. Though teens and tweens may resist watching such a wholesome movie, protesting that it sounds boring, Urban Country is precisely the kind of movie that adults want them to watch, with relatable characters who grow realistically. If you can get your kids to bite, you won't be sorry you did.  

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about why dramas often focus on characters who change their lives by moving to a new place and dealing with unpleasant realities. Can people make changes without changing their circumstances? How does a move or a major life change often spark people to take stock of their lives? 

  • How do Faith, Blake, and Corey show perseverance and teamwork when they figure out how to run the ranch together in Urban Country? Why are these important character strengths?

  • Blake doesn't show emotions easily. How does he demonstrate his affection for his brother and Faith? What evidence does he give that he cares? Is this a common trait in people in real life, that they display emotions through action? 

  • Did you notice any stereotyping in the movie? What did characters learn about stereotypes over the course of the story?

Movie details

Character Strengths

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