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Our Boys

TV review by
Joyce Slaton, Common Sense Media
Our Boys TV Poster Image
Complicated drama centers on West Bank murders.

Parents say

age 7+
Based on 2 reviews

Kids say

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The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.

Positive Messages

Though the politics of this story are complex and can be hard to understand, themes of courage, perseverance, and empathy are clear in the way officials work to uncover answers and parents sympathize with each other. 

Positive Role Models & Representations

Investigator Simon is perhaps the most compelling role model, showing empathy for the people hurt by political events, and tenacity in his investigation. Parents are thoughtful and very involved in their children’s lives; characters frequently put politics ahead of other considerations such as kindness or fairness. 

Violence

Most violence takes place offscreen, but since this drama deals with kidnapping and murder, expect to hear descriptions of terrible deaths. Realistic footage appears to be televised-news style imagery of marching crowds, soldiers pushing and beating civilians, crowds of people chanting for the death of groups they view as their rivals. Families who have lost loved ones are shown to grieve terribly. 

Sex

One character’s sexuality becomes a political point and he’s lambasted for the assumption that he was gay. 

Language

Most dialogue is in Hebrew and Arabic; infrequent cursing is subtitled and often contains a political dimension, like when character calls kidnappers "bastards" and "sons of bitches." A character criticizes another for his language: "For the sin of cursing, the men of Israel die young." 

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

A character holds a cigarette in his mouth but doesn’t smoke it. 

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Our Boys is a drama based on true events that led to unrest in Gaza in 2014. Most dialogue is in Hebrew or Arabic, so expect subtitles. Violence is muted (though we hear crimes described, we don’t see the violence), but the terrible grief of the loved ones of murdered people is depicted at length, and we see extensive newsreel-style footage of marching, chanting crowds calling for violence and death, and armed soldiers violently opposing civilians. Language is infrequent, but characters call others "bastards" and "sons of bitches" and say violent things like "may their babies choke." One character’s sexuality played into the real-life events behind this story; expect to hear slurs about being gay. A character holds a cigarette in his mouth, but doesn’t smoke. Themes of courage, empathy, and perseverance are clear as investigators work to understand what happened and why, and attempt to deliver justice to grieving loved ones. 

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written bywendyzee September 3, 2019

Understanding the world we live in

I am a parent of 21 yo, 16yo and 8yo. Thoughtful drama set against the best known conflict for generations past, and sadly, generations to come. I believe that... Continue reading
Parent of a 9 and 12 year old Written byavengerboi September 2, 2019

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What's the story?

Based on the events that led to the outbreak of war in Gaza in 2014, OUR BOYS tells the story of the kidnapping and murder of three Israeli boys by Hamas militants, and the abduction and murder of a Palestinian teen that was carried out seemingly in retaliation. As lead investigator Simon (Shlomi Elkabetz) works to uncover just who or what force is behind these terrible acts, the relatives of the murdered boys live out personal agonies amidst very public political complications. 

Is it any good?

This formidable drama takes its time building a mood and a story, but it’s extraordinarily atmospheric and affecting for those with the patience to wait. Those who don’t know the backstory behind Our Boys will have to do some pausing and googling, particularly in the first few episodes, to figure out exactly what’s going on; even then, they may feel lost in scenes of men talking seriously and crowds howling for mercy from God and/or vengeance. 

Our Boys begins after the kidnapping of three Israeli teens has already occurred, but we meet Mohammed Abu Khdeir as a relatably cranky kid whose father yells at him to get off his phone and pay attention and spends his time between calls to prayer hanging out on the street with the guys. His abduction and murder thus has a terrible emotional weight as we watch his family grieve, and hope for his return, and grieve some more. What happens next slowly reveals the true purpose of Our Boys -- to expose how hate multiplies hate, vengeance only begets more vengeance, and terrible acts committed in the name of righteousness are far from righteous at all. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about political dramas. Are most based on real events? Does the story behind this show make what we see on screen more poignant? More difficult to watch? Why would a drama choose to be merely inspired by real events rather than trying to faithfully depict what really happened? 

  • Our Boys frequently makes its settings plain with text on screen that spells out exactly where we are. Do the chyrons help you understand more about what’s going on in each scene? 

  • How do the characters on Our Boys demonstrate courage, perseverance, and empathy? Why are these important character strengths?

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