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Best of Enemies | 2019 | PG-13 | – 2.4.4

content-ratingsWhy is “Best of Enemies” rated PG-13? The MPAA rating has been assigned for “thematic material, racial epithets, some violence and a suggestive reference.” The Kids-In-Mind.com evaluation includes an attack on a woman in her home where a man gropes and threatens her, attacks on African-Americans with guns and threats of violence, a woman’s home is shot up while she is inside, and a school building burns causing the children inside to run in fear; and many heated arguments between groups of people and individuals and some strong language. Read our parents’ guide below for details on sexual content, violence & strong language.”


Based on actual events of civil rights activism in North Carolina: In 1971 Durham an African-American woman (Teraji P. Henson) sits on a community desegregation committee along with the local leader of the Ku Klux Klan (Sam Rockwell) and the results are unexpected. Also with Babou Ceesay, Anne Heche, Wes Bentley, Bruce McGill, John Gallagher Jr. and Nick Searcy. Directed by Robin Bissell. [Running Time: 2:13]

Best of Enemies SEX/NUDITY 2

 – A woman enters her house and finds an unknown man inside: he pushes her against a wall and forcefully grabs and squeezes her groin area (mostly below the lower edge of the frame; please see the Violence/Gore category for more details) and leaves.
 A woman is shown briefly wearing a bra and half-slip (we see cleavage, abdomen and lower legs). A woman removes her dress in her bedroom and we see her full slip that reveals bare shoulders and cleavage.
 A woman’s clothed husband lies beside her on the bed and she slaps his hand away from her shoulder. A husband and his wife kiss briefly and in a later scene they hug briefly.
 A woman tells a man that she has been a single mother since age 16.


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Best of Enemies VIOLENCE/GORE 4

 - A white woman enters her bedroom while outside three white men complain that she has a black boyfriend and remove shotguns from their car trunk; they fire many shots into her house and we see and hear the shattering of windows and glass vases and see furniture shot apart as the woman ducks behind a bed (she is not injured) and the men grin. A woman enters her house and finds an unknown man inside; he pushes her against a wall and forcefully grabs and squeezes her groin area (mostly below the lower edge of the frame), she cries, he warns her not to befriend black people, let's her go, and leaves as a second man we have not seen walks out behind him, carrying a baseball bat.
 An old elementary school for African-Americans burns halfway down; we see smoke coming from a wall vent, then flames as children run outside, some shouting in fear as tall flames erupt inside and we later see two groups of children attending the damaged school and teachers complaining about the smell of smoke.
 A long scene of a couple minutes and a short scene at a firing range include a dozen men shooting handguns and shotguns at targets as we hear the popping of gunfire; the men are Klansmen that we hear are practicing to protect whites from "communists, [the N-word deleted] and Jews." A Klansman takes a shotgun out of his car trunk in a threatening manner as an African-American couple with him watch, but he puts it back. A Klansman receives a prank hang-up call at home, takes a pistol from a drawer, checks to see it is loaded, and places it on his nightstand (he never fires it). A Klansman receives a phone call, rushes to his gas station, and finds a gas pump lying on its side with a jet of gasoline burning a 20-foot flame that is enlarging and headed toward the building; the man and his employee struggle with a cranking wheel, turning it hard to shut off the gasoline.
 A young man with severe Down Syndrome in a psychiatric hospital shows problem behaviors: in one scene, he pounds on a glass window and mumbles about monsters as a roommate is curled up, grunting and rocking on a bed and he is shown quiet and in a fetal position on a bed later; in another scene, he rocks on a bed and struggles with a nurse and his father rushes to the hospital and argues loudly with a nurse for several seconds and in a later scene the boy's mother finds him missing from his room and runs and shouts to the nurse's station and a nurse shows her he has been moved to a private room.
 Dozens of white parents shout loudly and jeer at proposed school integration during a meeting of African-Americans and whites. We hear that African-American children are spat on and beaten up by white children and adults every day (we do not see this). White men and women look disgustedly at African-American people. A white man and an African-American woman shout and point fingers at each other in several scenes. Two men argue in a few scenes. A man and a woman argue several times. A woman approaches a man's chair, pulls a phone out of his hand, and shouts in his face. A woman forcefully turns a man's swivel chair back toward her after he rudely turns away and shouts in his face.
 A woman sees three African-American men pull apart a KKK table display, pulling off a white hood and throwing pamphlets on the floor; she shouts at them and puts the display back together, then looks at the hood on a half-mannequin and appears frightened. A Klansman talks loudly in public about wanting to fly Confederate flags, but we never see one and a Klansman wears a rebel hat in several scenes. Two armed white policemen enter a white man's store in which all the workers are African-American, and shut it down for code violations, causing loss of pay for the workers. A man angrily kicks the wall in a hospital corridor (a nurse calls for security that never arrives) and kicks the counter wall in his home.
 Several men and women have sweat stains on their shirts and dresses, and sweat on their faces as they fan themselves in hot weather. A man has a mouthful of chewing tobacco in three scenes and he spits a small amount to the ground off -screen (we hear and do not see the spittle).


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Best of Enemies LANGUAGE 4

 - 3 scatological terms, 5 anatomical terms, 16 mild obscenities, 21 derogatory terms for African-Americans, 3 derogatory terms for Caucasians, name-calling (crazy, nuts, weirdos, retards, gutless fool, coward, stupid, idiots, boy, white man, lily white liberals, dump, slumlord, charade, Africa time, Rough House Annie), exclamations (shut-up, shut your hole any hole, gol-durn), 1 religious profanity (GD), 11 religious exclamations (e.g. Oh My God, God, Thank God, Jesus, With The Good Lord As My Guide, Same God Made You Made Me, What In Good Christ, 1 gospel song, 2 prayers). | profanity glossary |


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Best of Enemies SUBSTANCE USE

 - Three men sip whiskey in a home, a man walks outside his house with a short glass of whiskey in his hand, a man holds a short glass of whiskey in an office, two bar scenes feature beer bottles and one beer can on tables and a few men hold beer bottles in one scene, a half-empty beer mug and an empty beer bottle are moved off the bar top and a woman brings a man at a table another bottle of beer, a man sips from a beer bottle and a beer can in different scenes, two men sip beer at a baseball game and two other men hold bottles of beer, a man sips from a bottle of beer in a woman's house after he menaces her (please see the Sex/Nudity category for more details). We see a few men lighting and smoking cigarettes in several scenes in a smoky bar, in a car, outside, in meetings, at a shooting range, at a baseball game and in a cafeteria, a couple of women smoke in a meeting and one woman smokes in her home a few times, a man has a mouthful of chewing tobacco in three scenes and he spits a small amount to the ground off-screen in one scene (we hear and do not see the spittle), and a pack of cigarettes and an ashtray containing two cigarette butts are seen on a kitchen table.


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Best of Enemies DISCUSSION TOPICS

 - Civil rights, racism, class differences, poverty, hate, intimidation, the KKK, desegregation, right and wrong, self-worth, promoting change, personal convictions, compassion, justice, transformation, communication, understanding, cooperation, overcoming stereotypes, birth defects.

Best of Enemies MESSAGE

 - Hate can be overcome with understanding and racists deep down may just be regular folks that can be converted.

CAVEATS

Be aware that while we do our best to avoid spoilers it is impossible to disguise all details and some may reveal crucial plot elements.

We've gone through several editorial changes since we started covering films in 1992 and older reviews are not as complete & accurate as recent ones; we plan to revisit and correct older reviews as resources and time permits.

Our ratings and reviews are based on the theatrically-released versions of films; on video there are often Unrated, Special, Director's Cut or Extended versions, (usually accurately labelled but sometimes mislabeled) released that contain additional content, which we did not review.



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