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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this TV show.
Positive messages about caring for others, giving people the benefit of the doubt, and searching for truth.
Positive Role Models
Characters display loyalty, compassion, and tenacity.
The few actors of color in American Rust are cast in race-specific roles. There's a bilingual Latino family and a Korean police officer. Otherwise the story is centered around White characters.
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Violence & Scariness
American Rust is a murder mystery/crime drama that features some violent acts; for example, a bloody body is found, a man is attacked with a bayonet, someone is beaten with a 2x4, and a death by hunting accident is jokingly discussed.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Includes discussion and jokes about sex as well as some brief simulated sex scenes.
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Profanity is used throughout: "f--k," "s--t," "d--k," etc.
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Characters are seen using pharmaceuticals, and opioid sales and addiction appear to be one of the subplots. Characters are also frequently seen drinking alcohol and appear drunk in some scenes.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that American Rust is a dark murder mystery that takes place in Southern Pennsylvania, near West Virginia. Like the recent Mare of Easttown, American Rust focuses on a police department in a small, under-resourced town. The chief of police, played by Jeff Daniels, is pulled into an investigation to which he's personally connected. The series contains violence (murder and assault, with blood shown) and some sexual content, including a few brief simulated sex scenes. While it shares many similarities with Mare of Easttown, one striking difference is that while Mare saw her role in law enforcement as caring for the small community, Daniels' character repeatedly bends the law in order to benefit himself and his friends in a way that seems to be taken for granted or even excused by the show.
Is It Any Good?
Crime series and murder mysteries have become so abundant in the streaming era that the best ones really need to do something special to stand out, but there's nothing remarkable here. American Rust is simply a dreary Jeff Daniels vehicle that indulges a ton of other recent murder-mystery cliches, from Daniels' laconic, vaguely corrupt chief of police to the lethargic pace of a movie-length plot stretched out to an eight-episode run. Though it takes place on the opposite end of Pennsylvania as Mare of Easttown, comparisons will be inevitable. But where Mare's portrayal of a low-income Philly suburb was studied and compassionate, American Rust's portrayal of its rust belt locale feels broad and dreary, as if someone who'd never been there was just guessing what rural life might be like.
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.