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"THE BIRTH OF A NATION"
(2016) (Nate Parker, Armie Hammer) (R)


At-A-Glace Content Summary

Alcohol/Drugs Heavy
Blood/Gross Stuff Extreme
Disrespectful/Bad Attitude Extreme
Frightening/Tense Scenes Extreme
Gun/Weapons Extreme
Imitative Behavior Mild
Jump Scenes Moderate
Music (Scary/Tense) None
Music (Inappropriate) None
Profanity Moderate
Sex/Nudity Heavy
Smoking Mild
Tense Family Scenes Extreme
Topics to Talk About Extreme
Violence Extreme


QUICK TAKE:
Drama: After witnessing continued abuse of others like him, an educated slave plots to mount an insurrection against those who are suppressing and mistreating them.
PLOT:
It's 1809 in Southampton County, Virginia and Nat Turner (TONY ESPINOSA) is a young slave boy who suddenly finds himself without a father when that man goes on the run after a violent encounter with slave tracker Raymond Cobb (JACKIE EARLE HALEY) and several other men. That leaves Nat's mother, Nancy (AUNJANUE ELLIS), and grandmother to raise him, but his life takes an unexpected turn when the plantation owner's wife, Elizabeth (PENELOPE ANN MILLER), learns that young Nat can read. She then takes it upon herself to educate the boy and thus has him move into the main house. But when her husband dies, it's decided Nat should return to being a field hand.

Years later, Nat (NATE PARKER) is just that, as well as the personal slave to Elizabeth's son, Samuel Turner (ARMIE HAMMER), who gives Nat a little more leeway than most other slave owners, what with them having grown up as childhood playmates. It's from that relationship that Nat convinces Samuel to buy Cherry (AJA NAOMI KING) at a slave auction to work for Samuel's wife in their home. But things aren't going great on the Turner farm and thus Samuel decides to take up Rev. Walthall (MARK BOONE JR.) on an offer he suggests.

Knowing that Nat has become an unofficial preacher for the slaves on their farm, and keenly aware of unrest among slaves elsewhere, the reverend proposes to pay Samuel in exchange for each time Nat travels to local farms and preach the gospel of obedience to other slaves. Being a religious man, Nat is initially okay with that, but as he witnesses the inhuman treatment of those men, women and children elsewhere, his patience and stomach for continuing with that begin to wane. And when Cobb and other men brutally attack Cherry -- who's now Nat's wife and mother to his child -- the educated slave can't take it anymore and thus begins to plot an insurrection to get even with the slave owners and other white people complicit with that institution.

WILL KIDS WANT TO SEE IT?
The true life story might interest some, while the thematic connections to the Black Lives Matter movement might draw in others as well.
WHY THE MPAA RATED IT: R
For disturbing violent content, and some brief nudity.


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