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The Story of Us with Morgan Freeman

TV review by
Melissa Camacho, Common Sense Media
The Story of Us with Morgan Freeman TV Poster Image
Insightful docu examines the ideas that bind humanity.

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A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

Looks at what ideas like peace and freedom mean to different people in different cultures, and in different contexts, and how they still connect people. 

Positive Role Models & Representations

Interviewees range from protestors and political prisoners to former presidents and others. 

Violence

Descriptions of violent events, including beatings, torture, sexual assault, and executions. Cultural rituals shown sometimes involve fighting, lashing, etc. Corpses, skeletal remains visible. Subtle references to rape. 

Sex

Images of cultural nudity (bare breasts, bottoms). 

Language
Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

References to rituals that include drinking; occasionally, alcohol is visible at a pub. 

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that The Story of Us with Morgan Freeman is a documentary that raises questions about humanity. It explores the principles that guide and connect the way different people live their lives, and in doing so contains archival footage of violent events, as well as conversations about kidnappings, torture, sexual assaults, and executions. Some of the cultural rituals profiled include fighting and lashing, as well as partial nudity. There are also references to drinking. All of this is offered within the context of understanding events and how they contribute to the way people think and behave around the world. It might be a little too heavy for younger teens, but viewers looking for an insightful series to watch will certainly find it here. 

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What's the story?

THE STORY OF US WITH MORGAN FREEMAN is a documentary series that explores the common principles that bring humanity together at a time when the world seems to be splitting apart. Actor Morgan Freeman travels around the world to talk to people about the way their culture and individual life experiences mold how they define concepts like peace, identity, and love. From understanding how a man defines freedom before and after escaping life in a North Korean labor camp, to questioning whether the absence of war means that peace still exists in Northern Ireland, it shows us how it's possible to live very different lives, but still be collectively shaped by universal ideals. 

Is it any good?

This introspective series examines the fundamental ideas that define how people think about themselves and the world around them. Interviews with notable individuals like Albert Woodfox of the Angola Three, Guatemalan activist Rigoberta Menchú, former president Bill Clinton, and Pussy Riot's Nadya Tolokonnikova reveal how they make sense of these ideas within the context of their own life experiences. Adding to this are profiles of cultural traditions that offer distinct perspectives about these principles. Lesser-known individuals who are living remarkable lives, or who survived harrowing ordeals, also contribute to the discussion. 

Freeman isn't a journalist, and his style of questioning can get rather personal. But his nonjudgmental, curious, and empathetic approach opens the door for much-needed conversations about human kindness, strength, and resilience. More importantly, he's able to highlight how these qualities are still succeeding at bringing people together, even when the world feels disconnected. Overall, The Story of Us with Morgan Freeman offers intelligent and penetrating "food for thought" that encourages us to think about our humanity a little differently.  

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about what some of the ideas discussed in The Story of Us with Morgan Freeman mean to them. How does the way you live your life contribute to your sense of identity? How do you define love? What is the relationship between war and peace? 

  • If you had a chance to contribute to The Story of Us with Morgan Freeman, what kind of questions would you seek answers to? 

TV details

For kids who love documentaries

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